Well I needed a break from the Marijuana threads so I thought I would whip a quick piece on my techniques for shooting things in water... ie Floatplanes. I unfortunately do not have my files with me so I can't use the previous shot of the otter as the examples.
Firstly since you are a floatpilot/dock hand you will most likely be at the dock every sunrise and every sunset. This is Good! The best light can be had just as the sun is rising and setting, that's when you get those awesome reds, oranges, purples. The down side of course is a lack of light, fortunately all modern digital cameras handle this much better then ANY film of yesterday. I'm not saying that great shots can't be had at highnoon, it's just you WILL have more keepers at dawn and dusk.
What ever camera and lens you have at your disposal can produce great images.
Tripod: VERY VERY useful for enabling you to shoot at slower shutter speeds. But this only works if you use proper technique. By proper technique, I mean of course using mirror lock/up and a remote to get rid of ALL vibrations. Jamming your finger down on the shutter release with the camera hooked to a gorilla pod ain't going to cut it. If you don't have a remote then consider using a 5 second timer.
The main reason I'm writing this is to talk about filters that I use when in close proximity to water. Firstly the Circular Polorizer and secondly the Neutral Density Filter. I'll start with the CPOL.
The CPOL filter is the single most useful tool when shooting water. It controls light acting 90 degrees to it. In simple terms it allows you to control how much reflection you get. Not only can you control reflection, but you can also deepen skies and increase contrast. The only down side of the filter is you loose about 1 stop of light entering your lens (Half as much light).
These shots were taken within a few minutes of each other. Both are about a 1 second exposure at F/8 and both have a CPOL filter Attached. The difference is in the shots comes from the rotation of filter. On the left, reflection has been minimized but also the color has been reduced a little from not having so much contrast. The one of the right is much more vibrant and you can see the reflection is much more prominent.
The ND Filter is good for smoothing water. The two shots below were taken one after the other, one without any filters attached. One with an ND400 filter attached. The one on the left is "Au Natural", the ripples are visible from the light wind and the reflection is heavily distorted from this. On the right the ND400 let's in FOUR HUNDRED TIMES less light and allows for a 2 minute exposure during midday. It has the effect of smoothing the water into a painterly effect. Be warned though, the floatplane with be blurry if you do this.
I hope that some of you go out and grab these filters, and come next float season start posting some awesome shots of the lakes, rivers and planes you fly!