LONG EXPOSURE - FILTERS CAN SAVE THE DAY
On a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, the mission was to photograph water. I know there is a variety of opinions regarding water images. Several photographers that I admire, suggest there should be some texture in the water flow, and they avoid a shutter speed slower than 1 second. Of course, the shutter speed is determined by how fast the water is flowing and how much texture you want in the image. I usually follow the advise of the experts since they are the experts. Generally, the sweet spot for me is 2 seconds.
However, as with many things in life, how you photograph water is purely subjective. I already had envisioned this ghostly look before leaving the hotel room that morning and I was confident I would get the look I was going for because I had a variable ND filter in the bag. Once I set up the composition, all I had to do was experiment with the dial until I got the look I was hoping for. It's a good day when a plan comes together.
TEXTURING - ADDING DEPTH
I can't count how many times I've passed by this location, always commenting, "Someday I need to stop and take a picture." This time, I made this location the destination. So I began to shoot and shoot and shoot. So many angles and compositions all in an attempt to find a unique image of two gas pumps and a Texaco sign.
I finally settled on this image but I was disappointed in the result. I almost hit the delete button on the keyboard but thought I would give the shot one more attempt to make something of it. OnOne Effects software gave life to the image. Sometimes you just have to keep chipping away until something shows up.
DO OVER - PROCESSING MATURITY
I had posted the first version of this image in 2015. The popular photographic location known as Oxbow Bend. The first time I posted this image I used a 3-image HDR process. I had already gotten over the power of HDR and I went for the "natural" look. But this week, I looked back at some of my images from less than two years ago and wondered, "What was I thinking!"
So I went back into the archives and worked on the normal exposure shot from that bracketed series. I then worked the image in Lightroom CC and finished it in OnOne Effects. What I think I produced was a much better overall look. It's closer to what I saw the day I shot this. Thank goodness for digital and the ability to have a "do over".
SHAPES OF THE SUBJECT - OR THE SHAPES ARE THE SUBJECT
The plan was to take advantage of the forecast of partly cloudy skies and small chance of rain. Should be great for some landscape shots of a series of waterfalls about 90 minutes from home. Well, by the time I got to the shooting location, the clouds parted and the sun took over. Water was flowing great but it was already 11:00am. I know I could have put on a neutral density filter to get the silky water but the water would have been blown out in the direct sun.
So, I gave up on the landscape search and went for something smaller. Little details, textures, shapes, and sizes abounded on this little town square. The color of blue caught my eye as I was walking past this door. And the rectangle of the padlock with the circular shape of the door lock forced me to stop and extend the tripod legs. A little processing in Color Efex Pro gave me something to bring home.
BOTANY BAY - CREATIVE LIGHT
If you follow my blog entries, you may remember this image in black and white. I wanted to get a little creative with the natural light that I experienced when I was setting up for this shot. I wanted to give the image an artist look by adding texture and modifying the color balance. I don't know if I like this version or the black and white version better. Maybe you can let me know.