As they say, the best camera you have is the one you have with you. Sometimes, on dog walks etc I only have my phone with me and thus the only camera I have with me. Currently I am using the Huawei P30 Pro for so many photography reasons but one I want to show you today is getting smooth silky water pics.
In a previous article I showed you how the setting for night star trails worked on the P20, so as I have upgraded my smartphone, retaining all the great features to use I thought it would be good to show more.
In days gone by this kind of photo would require a bulky DSLR camera, a bulky tripod to hold it and what is called an ND filter to stop sunlight blowing out the photo with a long open shutter whilst catching the flow of the water.
If you want to get mega print worthy images you can still do that of course, but for most everyday users and for social media the phone camera quality is great enough. All the water pics in this post are done on the said smartphone.
So we still need a tripod to keep the camera still. But I use use one that fits in my pocket or bag easily. Places like Amazon sell them very cheap and not only can you stand them up but you can wrap around tree branches or fences, or bend to stand on uneven rocks to get in positions you cant normally do with a huge camera.
Getting To Silky Water Setting
Ok, where is the setting? Open the camera. Swipe to the right along the options away from ‘photo’ until you find ‘more’ then hit that. Then in the new list of options you can see what we want. Light Painting.
In there you will see all the ‘unusual for phone camera’ options like the star trails, light graffiti and traffic trails. Plus the one we need for this example. Silky Water.
How to take the photo
Once you are set up with the camera open on this setting and secure on the tripod, you can take the photo. You press the shutter (take a photo) button once to start the pic and again to stop it. You can see on the screen as it builds the photo and it means once you reach the required amount of silky effect you can stop the photo.
How it works is in this setting the software starts to blur and smooth the running water yet software in the phone keeps all the surrounding from blowing out too brightly. That means you can take the photo for as many seconds as you wish. Most of these pics are taken at around 5 seconds of exposure.
What the software is basically doing is making silky any moving stuff in the photo, so if you move the phone slightly during the take you will get a blurry picture. So you have to be soft and gently when touching the screen to start and stop the pic. A big tip is to get a remote button for a mobile phone camera, again there are many for just a couple of pounds.
Yes! I get Malc in the pictures here. That is helped by his collie nature and the way I have him posing. He has to keep absolutely still for those 5 seconds or so! To get this photo above I must have tried around 10 times before I got him not too blurred with any movement of him.
It is amazing what can be done with mobile phones and I do enjoy testing and experimenting with the camera capabilities. I look forward to sharing more smartphone photo tips soon.