Archive for the 'river' Category

22
Feb
11

2/22/2011: Flood Tide on the Mousam HDR 1

While I am not done with the digiscoped birds from Merritt Island, I, for one, need a break. Yesterday morning we had fresh snow, and as the front passed away out to sea in the afternoon, some spectacular skies. Add as high a flood tide as I have ever seen along the coast here and you have the makings of some HDR landscapes, or sea-scapes, or river-scapes…some-scape with a lot of water and sky.

This image walks a fine line, to my eye, between natural and over-the-top. It presents a reality that is there, but that, without the emphasis of HDR and tone-mapping, many people would not see. It is the reality a painter records when painting such a landscape…an image built up in the mind over time, as the details and the colors catch the attention one by one, as the shadows and reflections on the water burn in to the awareness. It is not what you see at a glance or in the moment, and therefore perhaps strikes the eye as not strictly photographic. It is something between a painting and a photograph. I don’t, in fact, know if any such space exists, and, even in my own mind, the jury is still out on HDR and tone-mapping…but I do know that I like this image. I like the drama of it…the vivid world it portrays…the intensity. It is just so alive on an lcd monitor, with the light behind it. I like it.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent field of view. Three exposures centered around –2/3 EV, assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix, final processing for intensity and clarity in Lightroom. Some distortion control and a bit of noise reduction (generally needed in HDR) as well.

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30
Dec
10

12/30/2010: Drift!

Bright sun on snow! Always an exposure challenge, but who could resist the wind sculpted shapes of this drift (any drift you don’t have to drive through for that matter). We are along the edge of Back Creek where it flows into the Mousam River in Kennebunk ME…where the fields meet the fall to the marsh…and the high winds of the blizzard of the day before (continued into this day) dropped the snow into graceful folds and impossible shelves, half burying the Beach Rose in the process.

And, actually, with today’s best P&S cameras, Snow Mode does an amazing job of simplifying the exposure problem. The shots I took this day in unaltered Snow Mode are among the best sun-on-snow shots I have ever recorded. The shots where I second guessed the exposure system…not so much!

And here we are closer in: notice the plume of blowing snow off the top. The wind is not done with this drift.

Take a look at this one as large as you monitor will allow.

Canon SX20IS in Snow Mode. 1) 70mm, f4 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80. 2) 250mm, f5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 80.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity. These shots could only stand a very slight amount of black-point adjustment. Both were cropped for composition and interest.

27
Dec
10

12/27/2010: Snow on the Little

As I post this snow-storm image from last week, we are in the middle of our first real blizzard of the winter in Maine. It is not light enough to see the damage yet, but the wind is howling around the house and there is snow stuck in the window screens. It is not scheduled to pass off until late afternoon. Should be interesting. 10-18 inches of snow. Watch this space!

This shot, however was during a much more gentle storm, as you can see from the snow built up on the branches. This is one of my favorite views at Rachel Carson NWR, where the Little River makes it’s classic “S” bend on its way to the sea. It is an all weather view, just as attractive here in the snow with snow closing the horizon, as it is in full summer with a dramatic sky.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/200th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Processed in Lightrooom for intensity and clarity, and adjusted for brightness.

26
Dec
10

12/26/2010: Mousam Full of Light

Happy Sunday! Happy day after Christmas. Happy Boxing Day.

After our brief snowstorm last week, the sky lightened and the light grew as the sun peaked out off and on, and the world, just for a few moments, glittered and sparkled with what seemed an inner light. With temperatures rapidly rising to the upper 30s, the snow on the trees came literally and figuratively raining down. I attempted to find a spot to catch the light before it passed.

We are having unusually high tides the past week, with the full moon, coastal runoff, and onshore winds, and here we see the lower Mosuam River filled brim to brim. Where I stood to take the image, you generally look out over a relatively dry marsh to the river which runs, in perspective, not far in front of the trees and houses on the far side. The trees at the right are generally 300 yards from water, even at high tide.

But, of course, what really caught my eye was the sky and the light in the water, the silvery blue expanse, full of texture and movement, running back under that strong diagonal mass of cloud…and the highlight behind the bare trees on the right.

To capture this range of light with my Canon SX20IS, I resorted to HDR, three exposures centered around –2/3 EV, then assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix Pro from within Lightroom. Final processing for intensity and clarity, some sharpening, and a bit of distortion adjustment for the horizon, produced the result above.

The Sunday thought?…in less than an hour we went from the quiet beauty of falling snow and misty light, a soft intimate world where even the sounds are muted…to this splash of glory, noisy with light and drama…as overfilled and overflowing as the banks of the Mousam. And that is a metaphor for the well developed spiritual life. From the babe in the manger to the transfiguration and the assentation, and all in-between, all part of our experience, coming in waves along the stream of time. All we have to do is to be open to all of it. There is beauty in every moment.

25
Dec
10

12/25/2010: Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! May joy find you today!

Walking down paths at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters during a snowstorm, where mine were the first footprints, I discovered that someone with a Christmas spirit had been there before me (and before the snow). I was blessed. I am hoping you will be too, especially on this most blessed of days (or on the day we celebrate such a blessing).

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, f2.8 @ 1/250 @ ISO 80. Landscape mode.

I did my usual processing for intensity and clarity in Lightroom, but I wanted the wreath to stand out more than it did in the original exposure. I boosted the saturation and the luminance of of the greens and yellows using the spot HSL control, but even then the wreath was too dark. I resorted to the local adjustments brush, with which I painted over the green of the wreath, increasing brightness, contrast, and clarity. And all of that just to present something closer to the feeling of the place, so that you can, hopefully share in it. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

18
Dec
10

12/18/2010: Back Creek (scenery for Saturday)

I must have hundreds of photos of of Back Creek where it crosses the road by Parson’s Beach. In every season it has a beauty of its own. This is somewhat stark, but even here the textures of the grasses and the play of the light carries the image.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent. f4 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom (see page link above).

27
Nov
10

11/27/2010: Rachel Carson Merriland River

Thanksgiving day morning at Rachel Carson NWR. We are blessed to have RCNW all around us here in Kennebunk, and the headquarters, with its classic little nature trail,  just down the road. I have photographed this view in all seasons, all weathers, and all light…so far…I am sure it still has a lot to show me.

This is the season in Maine between foliage and snow. It has a subtle beauty that is easy to miss, and a kind of dull day, light wise, makes it even more subtle.

HDR opens new options for this view, in particular, as the foreground trees are other wise hard to capture in any detail. In fact, this HDR is one of my most satisfying renderings of the view to date…in a quiet way…from the quietly interesting sky to the gentle tones and textures of the marsh, to the subtly detailed textures of the tree bark right in front.

This is HDR at its most subtle and unobtrusive. Certainly in keeping with the season.

Three exposure HDR with the Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent, autobracketed 1EV either side of –2/3 EV set with exposure compensation. Assembled and tone-mapped in Photomatix, processed for intensity in Lightroom. (Check out my recent piece on P&S Landscape on HDR and Photomatix Light under the Photomatix link.)