Don's Pages

Monday, 28 March 2011

Silky Water Tips & Slow Shutter Speeds

Last week I took a trip for the first time to Virginia Water at Windsor Great Park (close to Windsor UK).

What an awesome and beautiful location it is for all types of photography. Virginia Water is a massive seven miles in circumfrence but around every bend in the easy going pathway (so easy that you can push a baby buggy all the way around), there is something stunning that will come into view. So be ready for anything.

What you'll need for this trip; a bottle of water to drink. Some toilet roll, there are very few public lavs here, so you may have to use the woods. Sorry to be so practical, but I know that women need these things, my wife certainly did as she had to duckie down in the bushes...

Camera Gear: As it's such a long walk, try and travel light. It's not really the place to bring all your lenses, spare bodies etc... You may like to bring a tripod, I forgot mine, but wished I'd brought it for the Cascade shot below. However, it's not essential, a small beanie-bag would work equally well.

A good camera: My Nikon D700 was with my, but I'd have been happy with my other one, the Nikon D40x or Canon S90.

Some lenses to consider: A wide angled lense for the lake shots. A zoom lense for details in the distance and a macro lense for amazing flower shots.

What's on offer at Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water?
Woodland; many different types of trees and woodland areas.
Lakes and Ponds: Great with ducks, swans and many different types of water life. I even saw a Woodpecker, a Heron and a Falcon.
Stunning Gardens: There are some really fantastic shots to be had here in Spring and Summer with amazing Magnolias, Camellias, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Daffodils and Bluebells. Your in for a real treat here if you like Spring Flowers.

But my favourite is the stunning water cascade (at Virginia Water).
Please click the image to view it full size.

The Cascade at Virginia Water, Windsor Great Park.
 For this shot I would have liked to have carried my tripod and ND filter. However all I had was my Nikon D700, 28-300mm Nikon Zoom Lense and Circular Polarising filter.
Camera Settings: ISO 100, 1 second exposure, f/25.0, and 78mm. Handheld.

I had to support the camera in my hand by digging my elbows into the mud and laying down flat. You'll get some funny looks from the crowds of people passing by, but don't worry, you know what you're after here, they don't. Well, perhaps some of them do. Sometimes to get great shots in photography you will have to behave like an idiot, but that's just part of the fun of it.

Dirty Doggies: One thing though, just after I'd taken up my prone position on the ground, I could smell something strange as I peered through the viewfinder, just to my right some very kind doggie had left a little brown mound. Funny how you don't notice these things until it's too late. I didn't get any one my clothes, thankfully, but watch out for such hazzards. Once again learn from my mistakes and you will not go wrong:-)

Results: I'm sure if I had taken my tripod along this shot would have been a little bit more sharp, but I was impressed with the way it turned out.

People Don't Know About Virginia Water: What struck me as quite strange, I've told so many friends here in London about Virginia Water and discovered that so few of them have actually visited or even heard of it. We'll definitely be going back again because it's just such a wonderful place. So tell your friends, get everyone to go and visit, then come and share your experience with everyone else to enjoy.

Be aware though, parking is not cheap, it cost us £6.00 for just over four hours. But we think it was well worth the trip and the expense.

Tips for Silky Water Shots from Gavin Hoey.

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