Any resolutions? I’ve not made any since history has shown that the grand designs imposed on New Years day typically do not work for me. A better approach for me has been using a daily resolution. Simpler and less daunting, but still requires a great deal of effort for the things that really matter. But there are things I want to change, one of them being the amount of time I spend with images, so in that vein here are a couple I took a couple days after Christmas. We had one of the largest snowfalls that I have seen since I’ve been down here. Over the Christmas weekend I believe we had around 9″ of snow, which is a lot for here. So the following Monday I headed out to Greenbrier. Basically all the roads in the park were closed, but Greenbrier is a decent spot to park at and hike in. I chose not to use the cross country skis, as they can be cumbersome and actually slow me down with that much gear. Plus the snow was very soft with an ice base so there would not be much glide using the skis.
I used two approaches for these shots, both from basically the same point. The first is a six shot HDR. I like using the HDR approach to capture a wider range of tones, but also for the dreamlike effect that can be created using it. Sometimes I will try to make the effect very subtle, as to not be noticeable, but other times I am looking for the effect to create an image that will stand out from the many images that were shot there that day. This one was done with six images, varying the shutter speed between exposures from 1.6 sec to 1/20 sec. One of the problems that day was being able to come up with a shutter speed slow enough to give some blur to the water. Even at ISO 50, I was stacking two ND grad filters, adjusted so that the dark area covered the entire lens, and still could not achieve a normal shutter speed of over a second. So the HDR effect helps the blur the water some in the final image. Here the HDR created image, after final tone and saturation adjustments in Lightrooom.
Here is the same shot as a single exposure after tone and color adjustments in Lightroom.
As you can see, the single shot has a bit more contrast and less motion blur than the HDR shot. The sensor does do a great job of capturing the range of tones in single shot though, but I do prefer the HDR image. The best advice I can give is that when you find a spot that you think is visually appealing, shoot it every which way but loose. Its always nice to have a choice when you back home and are going through the images. I spent 1/2 hour to 40 minutes at this spot for these images, and also stopped at the same spot on the way back to capture the following one because I had forgotten to capture it when I was doing the others.
This is a simple two shot pano stitched together in Photoshop. I was going to do a three shot HDR Pano, but my battery failed in the middle of shooting it. I need new batteries for my camera, so in the cold they fail really fast. I do keep them warm by placing them next my body, but once they get into the cold camera they don’t last long. Another trick you can use with a camera pack is to throw a hand warmer in a compartment with the batteries in your pack. You can only do this with a separate compartment! It is important to make sure the camera and lenses stay at ambient air temperature during your shoot. Otherwise you will have fog or ice on the lenses.
On this I did some brush work in lightroom to adjust the saturation in specific areas of the image after the overall tone and color adjustments.
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, if you are so inclined. One of my goals (not resolutions) is to keep the blog updated more frequently, so look for more in the coming year.
Keep on clikin,