A Hastily Grabbed Camera…


Hey Everybody (just realised I read that in my mind how that mental scientist in The Simpsons says hello….you know the one, I’ve forgotten his name)!

I’m just jumping in to make a very quick post.

Our local river, the River Ogwen had seen a lot of over night rain and run off from the mountains, so after taking the dog for a walk with my wife and scoping out a couple of points, I figured it wise to get the camera out. To be honest, I have stacks of images like this of the river, but it’s the first time I’ve taken shots from these points. It doesn’t matter though, as this river has so much personality, all my shots look different. Sometimes she’s a raging torrent (a bit like today – but she’s way off being in spate; you should see that) other times placid and soft.

I took a good number of shots as usual, as I was worried if I didn’t shoot at the correct focal length, my circular, stacked filter corners would appear in the RAW file. I only had a CPL and an ND8 stacked, (giving me five stops decreasing exposure), but that’s enough to cause a problem, so I also have to consider where I’ll be shooting from in order to get the composition I want when zoomed in a fraction. I attempted taking a two minute exposure, only laughing at myself for trying this before the sun had set; naturally it was over-exposed. Delete. It was bloody cold too as my hands were feeling it now (it takes four minutes in total, as the camera has to process the image for a further two minutes). One for my seascapes I think…

Anyway, the first image I shot with an 8 second exposure at f/16, ISO100 which gives the water a smooth and transparent look. I saturated the water a little to give it a richer, green tint, but not too much. All images processed in Camera Raw, Photoshop and finished in Lightroom.

The Little Bridge At The Southern End Of Bethesda Stands Staunchly Against The Strong Current
The Little Bridge At The Southern End Of Bethesda Stands Staunchly Against The Strong Current

I walked up the Penrhyn Quarry access road a couple of hundred metres to a point I checked out earlier. I wanted to take a landscape and portrait shot from this point, and both taken with five exposures to be merged in Photomatix to create a HDR/tone-mapped image. The first one is a square crop and is a muted tone-map. I like this look, but not a lot of people do as it takes the realism from the photo, hence why I followed it up with a more realistic tone-map. Incidentally, each exposure was at four seconds at three stops apart:

OgwenMutedTonemap-1
I Quite Like The Muted Look, But It Does Burn Out The Highlights A Bit (The White Tops Are The Highlights Here)

The following portrait image is taken from the same point, but I wanted to frame the pine tree on the upper left of shot with the leaning tree in the centre and the gnarled tree leaning in from the right; worked out well I think. I set the aperture to f/14 and worked with shutter speed only for each of the five shots, working with 1/4s, 2s, 4s, 8s and 16s. This way I could ensure that I would get a nice merge and smooth water in post-production. I’ve probably dragged down the gradient a little over the top left tree though. Here we go:

The Afon Ogwen Flowing Down Parallel To Penrhyn Quarry Road
The Afon Ogwen Flowing Down Parallel To Penrhyn Quarry Road

I’d finished here now for the day, as it was only intended to be a quick shoot. I drove back home and saw that the sky was a beautiful burning orange! Luckily, I live in a slightly elevated spot, so I parked the car and set the camera and tripod up as fast as I could to get the following shot. This really was the colour of the sky. All I have done is remove the noise, added a touch of saturation to the orange and added a little more darkness to the upper left of shot. Taken at f/14 and 1/2 second exposure, ISO 100:

I Jumped Out Of The Car And Set The Tripod Up Fast To Get A Shot Of The Burning Sky
I Jumped Out Of The Car And Set The Tripod Up Fast To Get A Shot Of The Burning Sky

Then a few minutes later as the light just about disappeared, I managed to get another shot, but with different character and a touch of pink. The cumulus I thought were reminiscent of mammatus clouds, that are often seen before storms, less so in the UK however. Again, taken at f/14 but with a slightly different exposure of 1/3 second. Absolutely beautiful:

I Caught The Last, Wonderful Colours As The Sun Dipped In The West
I Caught The Last, Wonderful Colours As The Sun Dipped In The West

Well, I hope you enjoyed these shots as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Take care folks.

Elton

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