How to Photograph Bodies of Water Using Your Digital SLR
Adjust your camera settings.
If you’re shooting moving water, such as roiling ocean waves or an active stream, your goal is to either freeze the waves or show some motion, so use Shutter Priority mode. Freeze the action with a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second or opt for a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second to see some of the motion of the wave and can still hand-hold the camera.
For calm bodies of water, use Aperture Priority mode a shutter speed of 1/2 to 1/15 of a second or slower and an aperture set at f/16 to get as much in focus as possible, and try multiple auto-focus points.
An ISO setting between 100 and 400 should work for most shots as should a focal length between 28mm and 70mm, depending on how close you can get to the water.