Water, My Favorite Photographic Subject

Stepstone Falls Escoheag Rhode Island photography by Andrew Pacheco
Stepstone Falls, Escoheag Rhode Island

Without question, I can safely say that water is my favorite photographic subject. I think the primary reason for my love of photographing water, would be the fact that I love be be on or near the water rather I’m involved in photographic pursuits or just enjoying nature in other ways like fishing or canoeing. There is just something about being near any kind of body of water large or small, moving or still, that I find calming and enjoyable.

At times, I even wear chest waders or calf high waterproof boots and set my tripod up right in the water. Risky as it is to expose delicate and expensive camera equipment to moisture and grit, I can’t resist getting up close and personal to capture a perspective that leaves the viewer feeling like they could reach out and touch the water themselves.

My fascination with water makes sense when you consider how important it is to life and survival. Not just human life, but pretty much a living things depend on water for survival. Symbolically, water is often seen as a source of life itself, or purity. Consider that we humans are over 50% water!

Personally, I feel that the ebb and flow of the tides, or the constant flow of water heading down stream and over or around everything in it’s path, is akin to natural rhythms and the cycle of life. To me, a photograph that contains water makes a strong image that has an emotional effect on the viewer. Rather the viewer identifies with the water on a symbolic level, or just enjoys seeing the beauty of one of nature’s most powerful forces, images with water draw a viewer in and hold them.

There is also a duality when it comes to water. In one instance water gives life, but it is also a deadly and destructive force. When you fill a glass to get a drink, water conforms to the shape of the glass, yet water has the ability to erode the hardest rocks and create canyons!

When it comes to photographing water, there are many ways to capture an image that create completely different moods. Depending how you set the camera’s shutter speed you can either freeze the action of water as a moment in time, or blur it’s motion and create a dreamy almost surreal feeling.

If you’d like to see more of my work that includes this awesome force of nature, check out the following collections:

My “New England Coastline” collection has works from along the Atlantic coast.

“Moving Water” is a collection of images that show the beauty of water in motion.

HDR Photography by Andrew Pacheco

Battleship Cove Fall River Massachusetts Fine Art Photography and Art Prints by Andrew Pacheco
One of my most popular photos happens to be an example of HDR photography.

HDR, or High Dynamic Range Photography, is a technique used by digital photographers to create an image that has a greater exposure latitude than traditional photography would normally offer. The finished photograph is actually created by using software to blend multiple different exposures of the same photograph using computer software. Typically, HDR photographers use a tripod and set up the shot just as they want it, then capture 3 or more exposures being sure that neither the camera or the subject move so the image looks nice and clean after blending with the software.

The image of Battleship Cove that I used as an example above, was created from three different exposures.  One exposure was perfectly exposed, or at least a happy medium between maintaining details in the highlights and the shadows. One exposure was slightly over exposed, so the details in the shadows would be greater even though the details in the highlights became washed out. The third exposure was slightly underexposed creating very dark shadows, but preserving the all the details of the highlights. All that was left to do was combine the three different exposures using my post processing software to create the final image that you see above.

Please note that this article is an oversimplification of the process for creating high dynamic range photos. The primary purpose is to expose my creative works to a greater audience and not provide a step by step photography tutorial, or a detailed technical analysis of HDR photography. If you have an interest in learning more about the process of creating these types of images, there is a wealth of information that can be found with a quick google search. I’m sure the information you would find would be much more detailed and technical, since I’m more concerned with creating images than talking tech.

As of late, I seldom use this technique…but I still do capture as many as 5 different exposures of a scene when I shoot landscapes or cityscapes. There are other post processing techniques that I tend to use now, but I don’t want to totally rule out HDR so I capture the photos I need to creating these striking images just in case I decide to when I sit down to work at the computer.

If you are interested in viewing more of the HDR photographic work I have done or purchasing any fine art photography prints, please visit my collection of “HDR photography”

Perhaps you’d just like to sit back and enjoy this short video slideshow of some of my HDR photos.