Nature photographer Mark Bowie’s Watery World

Nature photographer Mark Bowie gave a presentation last night to the Greater Lynn Photographic Association on how to photograph water. Bowie sees photo opportunities in all things water — lakes, streams, rivers, marshes, ponds, oceans, snow, ice, fog, waterfalls, rain drops.
Here’s a tip from Bowie on photographing moving water: Flowing water is rendered differently at various shutter speeds. The effect also varies based on the water’s flow rate and the photographer’s angle to it. Generally, shooting at fast shutter speeds, about 1/30th second or faster, freezes the motion of the water—which illustrates its power, but is not usually pleasing to the eye. Shutter speeds in the 1/4 to 1/30 second range will usually freeze some motion, giving the water texture, but still allowing for some blur. Even longer shutter speeds give the water a silky, graceful appearance with fewer textural details. Experiment with different shutter speeds and consult the images on the digital camera’s LCD screen to determine the look you like best.
A native of New York’s Adirondack Mountains and an instructor at the Adirondack Photography Institute, Bowie regularly leads field trips and workshops on nature photography. See more of his work at He’ll even show you how to use Google Earth to preview what a shooting location will look like as the sun rises and falls on any given day. “It will let you see the shadows so you’ll know the best time to shoot,” he says.