Tips & Tricks for Photographing Water Features

As summer is about to wrap up for us here shortly in Northeastern Ohio, I thought this would be a perfect time to get some great photos of our water features before there is two feet of snow on the ground. Taking photos of water features can sometimes be frustrating, it may look amazing in person but on the screen of your camera it may not look as appealing. Whether you are taking pictures of water features on your phone or have a digital SLR camera, I’ve put together my best tips on photographing water features to help you.

Tip #1: Change your view
Don’t be afraid to get down on the ground or up high in the air. A unique view, usually makes for a more interesting photo. Don’t forget to rotate the camera, too. When shooting, turn the camera to take both landscape (horizontal) and portrait (vertical) photos.

Tip #2: Getting blurry photos on your phone?
Are you getting blurry or out of focus images on your phone? Try tapping the screen where you want to focus and that area will stay in focus when snapping the photo. Try to stay as still as possible and the phone will do the rest of the work!

Tip #3: Shooting on your iPhone?Original Photo vs. HDR Photo
iPhones have a little hidden feature called HDR in their camera app. This feature will compile three images, one underexposed, one at the correct exposure and one overexposed. With all three of those exposures it will create one image that has the perfect combination of shadows and highlights. This is not a cure-all for most photos, but should give you a little boost when shooting landscapes. This side-by-side comparison, shows subtle but dramatic changes in the color and definition of the rock and purple flowers. Keep in mind not all photos are better as HDR so I would advise you to enable the phone to keep the original photo as well as the HDR version to compare and pick your favorite.

How to enable HDR:
-Open the Camera app > click HDR on top of the screen > Select On

How to Enable HDR on iPhones

How to keep your original photo:
Settings > Photos & Camera > under “High Dynamic Range” toggle “Keep Normal Photo”

How to keep your original photo

Tip #4: Try close ups75-feet of waterfall vs. 5-feet of waterfall
Whether you have a large or small water feature, get up closeand personal! You may think that photographing the whole water feature is best, but pick out your favorite parts and focus on them. We have a large 75-foot waterfall here at Atlantic HQ and taking photos of the entire thing is not only cumbersome, but everything in the photo is small and all looks the same. Sometimes its best to focus on just one thing at a time and get a more interesting result.

Tip #5: Nighttime photos
When it comes to daytime shots theres a golden hour in the morning and late afternoon, but for nighttime shots there’s a golden couple of minutes. Nighttime photos are best right before the sun sets. Those few minutes when the sky is just starting to darken, is the perfect time to get a nighttime photo. Along with the help of a tripod you are on your way to getting an amazing shot. To eliminate camera shake all together, you can use a remote shutter release for an ultimately crisp photo.

This was taken just as the sun was setting. .

I hope these few tips help you to get an amazing photo of your water feature. If you are Atlantic Professional Contractor, don’t forget to send in your best water feature photos to win a free trip to Las Vegas and the 2016 Irrigation Show! Maybe your new photography skills will pay off!

For more details on our photo contest click here!

 


About the Author:
Kendahl Kreps

After her Graphic Design internship in 2013, Kendahl joined the Atlantic team full-time in 2014. As part of her responsibilities, Kendahl manages all printing and packaging materials as well as helping run the Advertising Department. Photography is one of her many forte’s here at Atlantic.

Bog Filtration, the perfect complement to Biological Filters

Last month my buddy Jim Chubb talked about the importance of biological filtration, why you’d want to use a biological filtration box, and how to hide a FilterFalls. In this post I’m going to talk about a complementary approach to biological filtration, the Bog Filter.

20160322_075127Bog filters are the perfect companion to biological filters, because they help complete the nitrogen cycle that begins with biofilters like the FilterFalls Jim was talking about. Biological filters harbor the bacteria that convert ammonia from fish wastes into nitrates. Bog filters take those nitrates out of the water column and convert them into plant material.

The reason this is so important is, the nitrates that result from a well-functioning biofilter are plant food, and if there are no other plants in the system, or even too few plants, those nitrates are going to feed lots and lots of algae.

That’s right. The better your biological filtration is, the more plant food is going to be created, and the more algae will grow… UNLESS there are other plants to consume those nitrates.

DSC02195Enter the Bog Filter, the perfect way to get those nitrates out of the pond water, and so, to eliminate green water and string algae. Basically, by placing desired ornamental plants in bare gravel, without sufficient soil to feed themselves, the plants take up all the available nutrients in the water and starve out the undesirable algae.

Bog Filtration is a pretty simple concept, so there are plenty of different ways to implement it. The simplest are graveled areas in or adjacent to the pond filled with bog and marginal plantings, called passive bogs because there is no active flow of water through the gravel. Active bogs use the pumping system to force water through the planted beds, and are much more effective because all the nutrients in the pond have to pass through the matted roots of the bog filter, and are removed.

There are two kinds of active bogs that differ in the direction of water flow. Downflow Bogs pull water down into the planted gravel bed, while upflow Bogs reverse the flow, pushing water up through the plant roots and out the top of the gravel bed. Because downflow bogs tend to trap sediments and clog more frequently, we’re going to talk about building upflow bogs instead.

The advantage to active upflow bogs is that they can be placed just about anywhere. Perimeter bogs, waterfall or stream bogs, even bog islands are simple to add to any existing pond, as long as they are built so the pumped water makes its way back into the pond.

One of the most effective bogs I’ve seen was built on an island in the center of an existing koi 101-7apond. A plastic grate set on cinder blocks about 6” below water level was covered with a piece of liner, then ringed with dry stacked stones to the surface. A planted gravel bed covered a 2” perforated pipe attached to a pump below the island. Water pumped into the gravel bed flowed back through the gravel and stones, stripped of all nutrients.

It doesn’t take much flow – usually one quarter of the volume of the pond per hour is sufficient. The size of the bog depends on the fish load. A goldfish pond where the fish are not fed at all might need a bog about 10% of the surface are of the pond in size. On the other hand, a pond where Koi are fed twice a day might need a bog 30% of the size of the pond.

More elaborate bogs use EcoBlox under the gravel bed to form a sediment chamber that also traps suspended solids, but that’s the subject of another post. Regardless of how you choose to install them, Bog Filters keep your pond free of algae using just beautiful plants to clear and clean pond water.

pond-free_bog

 


About the Author:
Demi is the Direct of Product Information for Atlantic Water Gardens
DEMI FORTUNA

Demi has been in water garden construction since 1986. As Atlantic’s Director of Product Information, if he’s not building water features, he’s writing or talking about them. If you have a design or construction question, he’s the one to ask.