I wanted both. The day was somber and gray, the sort of day Thomas Hood probably had in mind when he wrote:
No sun — no moon!
No morn — no noon —
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day —
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds, —
Nonetheless, I hoped that a long exposure would bring out the colors and highlights of both rocks and reflections. So I set up my tripod, closed down the aperture, and took a series of timed shots. The one above, my favorite, was taken with a shutter speed of four seconds. When I downloaded the pictures and examined them on my computer, I was pleased to see the swirling streaks of foam standing out against the subtly colored reflections — a happy bit of serendipity.
A cautionary note is in order here. Reflections can make metering tricky. Camera sensors are often thrown off by reflected light, resulting in a photo that's underexposed. The remedy? Overexpose by one‑half to one stop (+0.5EV to +1.0EV). Bracketing your photos also helps to prevent disappointments later.
One final thing: We live in an age of color, but monochrome imagery still has the power to move us. In a lot of cases, things look better in…
Black and White
Many waterscapes are perfectly suited to black and white (or monochrome) photography. Strong composition and contrast are key. Some digital cameras can be set to capture monochrome images outright, but I prefer to shoot my originals in color and then transform them during post‑processing in my digital darkroom. Black and white photography is a subject in itself, of course — a big one. For a brief introduction, read "It's a Black‑and‑White Issue," then buy or borrow John Beardsworth's Advanced Digital Black & White Photography to learn more.
Is it worth the fuss and bother to produce black‑and‑white photos from color originals? I think so, but you can judge for yourself: