So I’ve been told that I have a journalistic photographic style. Well, yah, I suppose that I do. Nevertheless, sometime I want to document something that I’ve seen and I’m presented with a challenge that I just cannot resist tackling. Such as with this little waterfall that I found in Townsend, Vermont. When I saw this, I just had to stop and play a bit. It may have been one of the trickiest photos that I’ve ever taken!
This is the scene as I found it. First shot, straight out of the camera, zero darkroom work, totally RAW image. (Even your camera would tweak it if it was going to spit out a JPG file for you.) This is the image is as recorded by the sensor.
Horrid, now I never would hang out my dirty laundry like this, but I want to talk a bit about my photographic process. (Note that I didn’t say “the” photographic process. It is my process and others shoot differently and put me to shame.)
Note that we have an extremely wide dynamic tonal range between the blown out rocks to the right and the dark shadows of the little grotto just right of center. The mood I wanted was to capture the flowing water and a smooth vale. This is only one style that I could have shot. The air was very still and I wanted to capture the motion of the water using the stillness of the trees and foliage an an anchor.
My second shot was taken when the sun ducked behind the clouds and the light was softer. I had a circular polarizer filter on my lens. (This is the first circular polarizer I ever purchased. I think hat I llike the linear polarizers better, even though they say the don’t work on DSLRs. I say nonsense. I do just fine and they are cheaper. I find the circulars are harder to use and have weird color shifts. But that’s a subject for another post.)
Anyway, lots of challenges here. First my gear. I was using my D600 with 24-85 kit with a circular polarizer. I turned the ISO down to 50. The polarizer is going to do two things for me. 1) Knock down the glair off of the foliage that gets direct sunlight and 2) cut down light to give me longer exposure times.
With a bit of exposure bracketing to get the exposure correct, I finally decided on this image to post process.
As far as compositions go, this is a bit busy, but pay attention to what you do with this image. Where does your attention go? What does your eyes do? Is it interesting? Is it just a mess? Do you think, “I would have done such and so with this scene”? How does it make you feel?
If you want to see some wonderful waterfall images, check out blogging friend Carol’s waterfall images. She’ll show you the way it should be done.