These past few weeks I’ve been sitting on the deck staring at the lake and marvelling at its many moods. It’s no wonder I have thousands of photos depicting this huge body of water. the water intrigues me with its many moods. It can be melancholy, foreboding (think: the Edmund Fitzgerald), some days it’s dreamy and on calm mornings it is playful.
As with any photograph, the difficulty lies in conveying the mood to your viewer. Before you start snapping the scene you’re witnessing, take some time to identify how it makes you feel. The lake has taught me many lessons over the years. Mostly with the changing light, it challenges me. I try to capture her mood by either slowing down time or freezing a moment in time using different shutter speeds.
The colour that comes out, along with the wind or calm, dictates the mood. By playing around with the shutter and learning to compensate with aperture and ISO, I can get some pleasing effects. Shooting with a slow shutter in bright light is a challenge. Your tripod should be your best friend. Early or later in the day has worked for me, as have cloudy days.
Another method to add mood is the white balance; depending on what you choose, you can easily create warm or cool tones.
If this all sounds a bit tricky, thats okay. Over time with practice you’ll start to see how the settings interact with one another. It’s worth the effort when you get it right, but most of the fun is in the trying.
Go ahead and dare to go manual, get accustomed to setting your tripod, shutter, aperture, ISO and white balance, I guarantee you’ll stumble across something fun.