Mother nature must have known I needed new material. The skies were interesting this weekend so I headed out to Sedgwick County Park in Wichita. One of my favorite spots near the windmill was not working, the sunset was directly behind a big old ugly transmitter tower. As sometimes happens, this turned out to be a fortunate turn of events as it forced me to find a new, better location from which to admire this handsome sunset.
Radio controlled sailboats ply the lake at a local park.
Sure, it looks peaceful, and it was. The sky was finally looking interesting on Sunday afternoon so I took off for the country. That sounds more photographer-ish than the truth, which is that this is taken at a local county park which I believe is within the city limits of Wichita. What this photo cannot convey is the searing heat during which it was taken. What we are left with then, is a tranquil summer scene, minus the heat. This is a three exposure HDR, processed in Photomatix and Lightroom as is my custom. I am putting this location in my hip pocket for future use, it should be a nice spot for anything happening in the sky to the north or northeast. This is one of those photos that I think looks better the larger you are viewing it. Please feel free to click for the jumbo version.
I went out to search for winter scenes at mid-day, and happened upon some ducks on a lake, swimming through brilliant twinkling sun reflections. My confession about this one is that I decided not to wade through the huge pile of snow necessary to change to a longer lens. This is quite the extreme crop, I’ll leave it at that. I believe the little sunburst patterns you see are a result of the small aperture used here…f/16. No filters were used on camera or in post processing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
This is a color photo, nature herself did the monochrome conversion on this one. I usually prefer a deep contrast in my black and white images, but a lighter airy feel seems better for this one. An icy winter fog was over the partially frozen lake, but the ducks and geese seemed to be coping just fine. This image is an example of what you can achieve with a point and shoot camera, it was an early test of my little Canon S90. This is a sophisticated ‘point and shoot’, but I don’t recall doing anything special here, I probably chose the f-stop, focused, composed, and clicked. You don’t have to have a big old dSLR (although they sure are nice.)
The response to yesterday’s miracle post, which got me “Freshly Pressed” (thanks WordPress!) was a bit overwhelming. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time out of their day to take a look, and especially those who left comments. Sprinkled throughout the commentary were a few opinions that the HDR on yesterday’s image was overdone, or too saturated etc. I understand. While the general public seemed to like what they saw, HDR can make the more serious photographer’s noses turn up, especially when it is perceived to be overdone. I get it, and that is an entirely valid point of view. For those purists who wanted to see a more normal looking view of yesterdays scene, today I offer a .jpg practically right out of the camera. This is the same hillside and lake from yesterday’s post.
The dynamic range of the whole scene from yesterday’s image was way beyond anything the camera could handle in one exposure, the correct exposure on the trees resulted in a totally blown out sky (and the sky’s reflection in the foreground). The only way to have created yesterday’s image was either with HDR, or some major filter work with a neutral density grad. That would have been especially problematic due to the fact that it was not just the sky needing tamed, but the sky’s reflection in the foreground. If there are any skilled landscape photographers out there reading this, maybe you have an alternative, I’d be interested in learning. In a future post I may illustrate what I’m trying to convey here by posting the 3 original exposures I used to create the HDR I will probably do that if I sense anyone is interested in ‘how the sausage is made’ so to speak. Thanks again to wordpress for finding yesterday’s post as worthy, and to all of you for visiting.
Sometimes you get lucky. My wife and I were driving from Acadia National Park on the Maine coast to Woodstock, Vermont. I had researched the heck out of both those locations, but didn’t know much about what lay between. We were very tired, on a seemingly endless secondary highway winding it’s way generally westward. This was a remote area, towns and businesses were few and far between. Eventually it became clear that a….ummm…..’rest stop’ was needed. I parked on the highway shoulder as safely as possible, walked about 20 feet from the car, and there it was….a mirror smooth lake reflecting a hillside of spectacular fall foliage. I set up the tripod and shot a few bracketed sets of exposures, one set of which was combined using Photomatix software into the HDR image above. Google Earth provided me with the name of the lake – Lower Baker Pond. Sometimes you get lucky, just make sure you have your camera ready.