Waterfalls at Mid-Day?

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Ideal Waterfall Light.

If you’d ask me to describe my ideal weather and lighting conditions for photographing waterfalls I would tell you that I hope for an overcast day and with any luck a slight drizzle. I would also tell you that it is definitely not during the middle of the day under harsh sunlight.

If I can’t have the even light of an overcast day, or at the very least the waterfall is in full shade, I wouldn’t even try to photograph flowing water.

And yet I was working under the harsh light of the mid-day sun when I made the above photograph of Jackson Falls in Jackson, NH.

Even Is Even.

Last weekend I was out with a workshop client and during a break we stopped to check out this beautiful road side waterfall. I was certainly not thinking it was going to be at all photographable since it was 2 in the afternoon. As we admired the flow I started to notice something about the light. It occurred to me that the waterfall was indeed illuminated by even light. It wasn’t the beautifully soft light of an overcast day, but it was even light nonetheless. So to satisfy my own curiosity I set up my Fujifilm X-T2 with XF16mm f/1.4 lens. Knowing I was going to need help getting a long enough exposure time to blur the water I attached my Formatt-Hitech Firecrest filter holder to the lens and inserted a 10-stop neutral density filter. As I was setting up my composition I set the aperture to f/16 and the ISO to 200. Much to my surprise with the 10-stop ND filter I found I was indeed able to get a long enough exposure, to the tune of 26 second! After I took my first shot I knew I was on to something.

Lesson learned.

I’d still prefer to photograph waterfalls when its overcast and rainy out, but at least now I don’t automatically put the camera away when it’s not.

 

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WPC: Reflecting

Refelcting Sunrise

Sunrise Reflection. Hampton Beach, NH

Fujifilm X-T2, XF10-24, 10mm, f/11, ISO 200, 0.4 seconds.

Additionally I used a Haida 3-stop neutral density filter to slow the shutter speed a bit in combination with a Singh Ray 2-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter to help balance the sky with the darker foreground. To keep the filters in place I used a Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 100 filter holder.

Of course the camera was securely mounted on a tripod.

(Links are provided for your convenience, I have no affiliation with the companies mentioned)

Go HERE for more interpretations of Reflecting.

WPC: Surprise

A little over a week ago, on April 1st, we here in New Hampshire received one hell of an April Fools surprise. A spring snowstorm dumped over 18 inches of heavy wet snow on us.

Unable to resist an opportunity to capture a few landscape images with a blanket of fresh snow I grabbed my camera and ventured out.

For more Weekly Photo Challenge Surprises click HERE.

Sleeklens, Lightroom Workflow Made Easy(er).

Finish your photos faster.

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About a month ago the good people at Sleeklens asked me if I would be interested in trying out some of their workflow products for Lightroom and Photoshop. I figured anything that could speed up my workflow was worth trying, so I agreed to take a look at their Through the Woods collection of presets and adjustment brushes.

Due to the hectic Holiday Season being upon us this is just a brief overview and my initial impressions. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review.

First a few words of disclosure. I am not in any way affiliated with, nor do I receive any monetary gain from using/reviewing/promoting their products, however I was provided the Through The Woods workflow bundle free of charge.  

Tools to help speed up your landscape workflow.

The Through the Woods bundle consists of 50 landscape presets and 30 adjustment brushes that can greatly speed your image enhancement workflow.

The presets are divided into 7 separate categories, All-In-One, Base, Exposure, Color Correct, Tone/Tint, Polish, and Vignette. The majority of the presets are stackable, allowing you to globally add effects to your photos.

The 30 adjustment brushes ranging from Add Golden Sun to Darken Shadows can be used to further enhance your images in a more selective fashion by controlling the size and opacity.

The results speak for themselves.

Below are a few before and after images, none of which took more than a few minutes to go from the straight out of camera before to the finished after.

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Before

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After

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Before

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After

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After

Even though I haven’t had a chance to really dig into these presets and brushes, so far I’m impressed with the results I was able to get with just a few clicks and a few brush strokes.

For more information on the workflow products offered by Sleeklens you can visit them at the following links.

Through the Woods Workflow  This is the one I used for the above images.

Lightroom Presets Here you’ll find a complete collection of the workflow products offered by Sleeklens.

Image Editing Service If you’re too busy to enhance your own photos, or maybe you’ve got a photo you’re having a problem with, let the experts at Sleeklens handle the task for you with their image editing service.

The last word, for now.

As with any other Lightroom presets the presets offered by Sleeklens don’t all work perfectly on every image. Once applied you may need to go to the adjustment panel and play around with the sliders a bit in order the fine tune the preset to each individual image.

Are they worth it? To that I answer your question with a question, what is less time behind the computer worth to you? The Through the Woods collection sells for $39, and based on the time I can see the presets saving me is quite a deal.

Water Wet

H2O

For this week the Weekly Photo Challenge theme is good old H2O. As a landscape photographer water is the prevailing theme in many of my photographs. When looking through my photos trying to decide which photos to include in this post it appears that roughly three quarters of my photos contain water in one form or another.

Here are a few wet examples, followed by a few tips for making your own watery photos.

 

Tips for photographing the wet stuff.

1 ~ First and foremost, use a good quality circular polarizing filter, or CPL. If you only ever buy one filter make sure the CPL is it. It’s the one filter that cannot be duplicated digitally. They’re great for reducing or eliminating unwanted glare and reflections from wet rocks, leaves, and the surface of the water, thus allowing you to see through the surface of the water to what’s on the bottom.

2 ~ Don’t be afraid of a little rain. Most camera, whether they are listed as “weather sealed” or not are quite capable of withstanding a sprinkle or two. I always carry a small pack towel in my camera bag on the days I venture out when theres wain in the forecast.

Speaking of towels, dab don’t wipe the water off of your camera. Wiping could force the water into places that won’t make the camera happy.

3 ~ If it’s raining out use a lens hood to help keep raindrops from landing on the front element of your lens. Even when using a lens hood you should check the front element often and carry a clean microfiber lens cloth to wipe away any raindrops.

4 ~ When photographing water in its frozen form be sure to acclimate your camera slowly when you bring it inside after being out in the cold. The condensation that can form on, even worse in your camera again won’t make your camera very happy. I use two methods to deal with this. One is to put your camera in a large ziplock bag. Force as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it. This way condensation will form on the outside of the bag, not your camera. The second is to simply put your camera in your camera bag and close it up, this is the method I use most. The padding on the camera bags act as insulation allowing the camera to slowly acclimate. Of course take your memory card out before hand so you do’t have to wait to upload your masterpieces.

Note: Tip #4 also applies to taking your camera from an air conditioned space out into hot humid weather.

You Have To Be There!

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Why Do My Landscape Photos Still Suck?

You’ve bought a new camera, spent a boat-load of money on it too. You’ve studied every last thing you can find on how to use it. You can change camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture pretty much blindfolded. You’re a master of your new toy.

However your photos are still missing something. Ok, lets be honest, they’re boring.

Be There And Make Them Better.

Here’s my super secret tip that is guaranteed to take your photos from Ho-Hum to Oh My!

Over the dunes and to the sea. Parker River NWR.

 

It’s so simple you’ll wonder why you never thought of it.

Are you ready for it?

Sunrise Over Glacial Striations, Fort Foster, Kittery, Maine

 

You Need To Be There When Mother Nature Is Showing Off!

It really is that simple.

 

You know your camera inside and out, you have at least a basic idea of how to compose a decent photo, so what else is missing?

The right light. Dramatic weather. Both at the same time! These are the things that can add greatly to the quality and impact of your photos.

This means being on the seacoast for sunrise at least 30-45 minutes prior to actual sunrise. So sleep becomes a casualty in your pursuit of great photos. No more showing up at 9 a.m. to that scene you’ve seen in so many photos and wondering why your photos don’t even come close.

It means long early morning hikes in the dark so you can be on that mountain top for sunrise or equally long and dark hikes down after sunset. Better get a good headlamp. Make that two, just in case.

It also means freezing your butt off and often coming away with nothing because the forecast was way wrong. It means getting rained on because you gambled, and lost, on the sun coming up before the approaching storm clouds reached the horizon to block it out. You will get blown by high winds. You will suffer.

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And when you make that amazing dramatic photograph, you’ll forget all of that. You’ll only remember the light, the drama, the magic.

Morning Gold, Hampton Beach, NH

Somewhere right at this moment Mother Nature is putting on a show, are you missing it?