It’s funny how the results of long exposure photos never get old to me. One evening last week the kids wanted to go to the beach to fly a newly bought kite. Now, that’s a disaster story in and of itself. But… you’ll be happy to know the kite did indeed make it home in one piece, which is a miracle by itself 😉

Side-Note: If you haven’t seen it yet, I started a video series over at the on1 site called Your Photo…Our Look. The idea is that instead of watching me work on my photos all the time, other people (you can be one) send in photos and I process them. It’s been really popular and it’s a nice quick easy video watch so I hope you’ll check it out here

Anyway, once the kite-flying antics were secure and only moderately out of control, I grabbed my tripod and snapped a few photos while the sun was setting.

(photo info: Nikon D810, Tamron 24-70mm, f/16, 1/2 second, ISO 64)


I had my neutral density filters with me, but I got lazy and just dropped the ISO on the D810 to ISO 64 which naturally makes the shutter speeds longer. That and I bracketed, so the brighter photos were a bit over-exposed (again, longer shutter speeds) but totally recoverable. All of this gave me longer shutter speeds and the ability to play with the incoming waves to get this almost painterly effect.

The Painterly Effect

The patterns in the water were made by those tiny rocks you see on the beach. And it was actually done as the waves receded back in to the Gulf of Mexico, not when they were coming in towards me.


And the waves in the distance look like a painting only because they were part of that 1/2 second exposure. I especially love the way the light plays off the water and the edges of the wave.


The fun part is experimenting. That’s why I shoot bracketed photos at the beach like this. It’s not as much to try to get the shadow/highlight detail (which I can usually get in one photo), it’s to play with the shutter speed times and get different water patterns. I wish I could tell you there was some secret water formula and shutter speed, but truth is, there’s not. It’s a lot of experimentation and a lot of luck and timing.

Post Processing

This one was fun! I Processed it in Lightroom CC/6 for basic toning, highlights, and shadows. Then jumped in to on1 Perfect Effects and use the “Summer” filter for some color, glow and style. Finally, I finished it up in Photoshop by selecting the clouds and using a Motion Blur filter on them to enhance some of the movement/blur a little more than the original. What about sharpening you ask? That’s the great part about it. Everything in the photo is pretty much blurry, so I didn’t sharpen at all 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! Have a good one!


Your Cart