For our first hike this year (well, actually in many years), we headed out to Otter Falls. A few good friends invited us to come along on this roughly 10 mile round-trip hike. The trail was easy, with minimal elevation. As the name suggests, the payoff is for the falls. With my ND filter in hand this time, I decided to put it to the test. Of course this meant slow exposures, making a tripod necessary. Lugging around a 4-5 lb tripod in addition to the SLR wasn't going to be easy, so I chickened out and brought my light-weight Canon. It seemed to do the job well enough, so I'm glad I'm still getting use out of it!
After driving through 10 miles of potholes, and tearing up the suspension in my new crosstour (thank god it's a lease!), we made it to our first stop. We saw this riverbend and pulled over.
The harsh lighting sucks, and we probably arrived at the worst possible time of the day to do any shooting. This photo doesn't do the view much justice. I remember shooting this with tungsten WB rather than daylight or auto WB. This seemed to make the river and sky a cooler blue, and closer to aqua. I know you can post-process, but it just seems to help me gauge color saturation when I shoot with proper WB on the spot.
A closeup of the river and rocks. I think I quickly realized that I wish I had more than 4-stops on my ND filter, particularly on a bright day such as this. Even shooting at ISO 100, f22, I maxed out at around 0.3 seconds.
And so we begin our hike into the forest. Not far in I spotted these large leaves, with some pretty spot-on lighting. The branches seem to dissapear rapidly into the shadows, and the leaves appear as if they are floating. I composed to try to get them somewhat parallel, as if in layers.
A backlit forest always catches my eyes. I think it's the soft green color. My SLR commonly misinterprets the metering in these situations and overexposes the background, so it becomes blown out. So, I did the opposite, I metered for the backlit leaves instead, to maintain their color and detail.
It's funny how when a tree is "decapitated" it becomes littered with other mini-ecosystems. Metering for the top petals kept it exposed properly.
Sweet lil bugaboo. This is at 100%, without cropping, but it sure took a lot of tracking. I traced this bug as it crawled all the way up. I anticipated that it would reach the top and focused on the tip of the flower. I composed to place it off center and to give it a sense of height in the flower it was climbing. Shooting at maximum focal length and at f 4.5 minimized depth of field and also gave it a pleasing bokeh. Eat that Lens baby!
Along the path we spotted several campers. This blue tent stood out immediately, as it was sitting under some falling light.
This scene has a very high dynamic range, and probably would have been suitable for HDR. I just exposed for the middle ground to get a balance between the backlighting and the darker foreground. Some burning and dodging with a gradient filter in LR3 helped reduce the overall range but the background is still clearly blown out.
As the hike gets longer, and trees, plants, bugs, get monotonous, it's a breath of fresh air to see some H20. This looked more refreshing in real life than it does here. I switched my WB once again to tungsten here, because under auto or daylight WB the water actually turned out more yellowish. I tried to preserve the "emerald" color.
Are we there yet? (As I hang back and take a shot)
Macro-ish. When it's windy, shoot fast. 1/400 s to prevent motion blur from the wind. Exposing for the flower still resulted in minior overexposure seen in the specular highlights. I like the composition to include the distant out of focus flower.
This bizarre fungus had a black core, white rim, and some interesting bright orange something rather growing on it.
I had to crop this by about 50% to get this moth full in the frame. I'm still amazed at the detail of the Sigma "pseudo-macro" lens.
Just some great lighting. The branches remind me of the capillaries of the lung, or the tiny vessels of the brain.
This is the first time I've been able to capture a spiderweb. The side lighting here is soft and diffused through some other trees. This particular tree with it's short horizontal branches provided a stable home for not just one, but several spiderwebs!
Look up from time to time!
I'll have to come back to this some day. When this was shot, the lighting was completely harsh and uneven. But this is the perfect cascade of minifalls, as it tumbles through a series of boulders. On our way back from the hike, the lighting evened out, but by then I was too tired to stop and setup again... At least the water's soft here!
El Cheapo Hoya Circular polarizer to the rescue! Too bad that tree is right in the way.
This dude is hardcore!
"...follow the path until you reach the little pile of rocks". This must be it - Otter Falls!
Yep. 1/5 second f22 ISO 100.
Ok one more, since waterfalls should be taken in vertical.
Gorilla in the mist ?
I always save my fav for last! Once again, dinkin around with WB. I shot with White Fluorescent here. 1.6 seconds f 22. Verdict - ND filter was worth it! Next time by 8 stops instead of 4! F#@$! See it large here.