Blurred Water: Overdone?

I have been on the fence about the currently popular blurred water effect for quite a while. The blurred water effect is created by attaching an ND (Neutral Density) filter, often as dark as ND1000, to your lens and using a long exposure (don’t forget your tripod) to blur moving water for an “otherworldly” look. My feeling was that like any other gimmick that becomes popular, it has been used to extremes and way too often. It has become sort of trite. But there is no harm in experimenting, so I got myself an ND1000 filter and made a few long exposures to see what I could come up with. Some of the results were similar to images that I’d seen hundreds of times elsewhere. Overdone. Trite. But in the process, I learned that there is still much value in the old adage “all things in moderation.” By not featuring the effect, and not overdoing the exposure time, I was able to produce a couple of images that I actually like

Here’s an example (there is a larger version in the gallery):

Fishing Village – Sony A7 III. FE 70-200mm F4 OSS G lens @ 160mm, F16. 10 sec. with ND1000.

The water is blurred just enough to smooth it out a bit, but not so much that it looks like a sheet of ice. It still looks like water, but is smooth enough to match the misty mountains and sky in the background. Without the long-exposure smoothing it was choppy and rough to the point that it was overwhelming the whole image. I guess I’ll keep the filter. Just one more creative tool in my arsenal. I promise to try and use it in moderation.

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