Slow Ice

Working the Scene

Backyard Creek

Saturday was a beautiful Spring day… oh, wait, it isn’t Spring yet. Well, it reminded me of a Spring day. The sun was out, there was a little breeze and we have barely any snow on the ground. I half expected to see crocuses blooming in the woods as I explored the creek behind the house.

It wasn’t warm enough to remove all the ice from the creek and the recent rains had the water level up with a decent flow. Perfect conditions for me to go playing and to create some abstract, long exposure, water and ice images. Of course, normally I like a little cloud cover to make the conditions more favorable to getting my long exposure settings but yesterday I threw on the variable neutral density filter to help me get to my ~1 second exposures.

I thought rather than just post to final product I would attempt to show my thought process as I am getting the image I want. When I play in the creek, creating these long exposures, it is always a balancing act with the shutter speed to achieve just the right amount of softness in the water. You can go full on with the filter and completely smooth out the water but for these creek scenes I like to show the flow. I believe it adds some energy to the image.

After climbing down into the creek bed I start looking for areas were there is some turbulence in the stream. I’m looking for a little waterfall type area or quick changes in direction. I want to capture the swirling water as it splashes its way through the rocks/ice. When I am including ice in the image I am also looking for some interesting formations in the ice. Here is the view of the first area I chose.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Slow Ice 1

Slow Ice 1
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/6s, 24mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

I like this section of the creek. Good ice. Good flow. And some good turbulence so I can highlight the water stream. What I wasn’t happy with was the large chuck of bright ice in the top right of the image. It is drawing the eye away from the water and the ice detail in the rest of the image. Attempt number two is a slight composition change to minimize the impact of that ice.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Slow Ice 2

Slow Ice 2
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/8s, 26mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

Definitely better. The ice on the right has less impact. I really like the flow of the water. The turbulence is highlighted just the way I want. Still, I’m not quite happy with the image.  The chunk of ice in the top right right is giving my a problem.  The composition was still off too!  The balance of the elements and the movement of the water through the image was not right.  Time to move my position.  I place the tripod almost 90 degrees to where it was originally.

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Slow Ice 3

Slow Ice 3
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/4s, 27mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

Now I’m getting what I want.  The structure of the ice at the top left of the image is better from this view.  I love the water coming in at the top right and exiting bottom left.  There is a good mix of flowing water and chaotic water.  Almost there!  Still that darn chunk of ice on the right.  Tighten up the zoom!

 

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Slow Ice 4

Slow Ice 4
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/8s, 40mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

There it is!  That is the image I was looking for when I climbed down into the creek.  I have the detail of the ice.  There is energy from the flowing water.  There is amazing visuals in the chaotic portion of the flow.  I have a good balance of the tones.  Now I can move on to the next area of the creek.

There is more to my whole image capture process that I haven’t shown.  For each one of these images I was playing with multiple exposure settings.  As the sun was weaving its way in and out of the clouds the light in the creek was changing.  I was constantly adjusting the variable ND filter to change the shutter speed.  Each 1/3 change in exposure from the shutter created a different amount of blur in the water.  The choices I was making impacted the energy in the image.  Too long with the shutter open and the water smoothed out to just be tonal changes.  Too quick and the water was frozen in time completely stopping the energy.  So for almost every one of these images I have 3-4 versions at various shutter speeds.

Normally all I would post is image number four.  The final product.  The winning image.  I thought maybe it would be interesting to peak inside my thought process as I am capturing my images.  Maybe it isn’t.  You will have to let me know…

Moody Morning

Fog Filled, Moody Morning

The morning did not have the perfect conditions for a glorious sunrise but it was perfect for another type of image. I love me some B&W, foggy morning images. As I mentioned yesterday I headed out early to go exploring before groceries.

I stopped at the abandoned Air Force radar site which I have been driving by for twenty-five years. This year there has been a lot of activity at the site. The grounds have been almost completely cleared and a new gate was installed. I was able to get my telephoto lens close enough to the gate to shoot through the chain link and capture this view of a few of the buildings. I would love to have the opportunity to explore the whole site with my camera.

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Bygone Era

Bygone Era
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R, 1.3s, 49mm, f/16, ISO 200

After groceries there was still great atmosphere hanging over the canal so I detoured up to Bellamy Harbor Park before heading home. The groceries would be fine in the trunk until I was done exploring. The view of the canal from the park was not anything to get excited about but then I remembered the city built a new boat launch on the other side of the Mill Street bridge. Luckily there is a small dock jutting out into the canal. These images are looking East and West from the end of that dock.

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Moody Morning East

Moody Morning East
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/50s, 12mm, f/16, ISO 200

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Moody Morning West

Moody Morning West
Olympus OM-D E-M1, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/40s, 25mm, f/20, ISO 200

It was a good decision to stop before going home. Abut 5 minutes from my house the sun broke through the clouds and the fog quickly lifted. I would have lost these images if I hadn’t detoured first… 🙂

Shadow Portrait

In the Yard – ITY05

My brilliant plan to walk around the yard and neighborhood yesterday didn’t not turn out too well. I do not like being cold! It was a beautiful sunny day but the wind and colder temps had me running back to the house before much exploring was accomplished. Moving to warming climate will not get here soon enough.

The long shadows of late afternoon prompted me to capture this shadow portrait. The blue tones in the snow and warm sunset light in the trees had me experimenting with some split toning for this B&W image. I could have left it as the color version but I was in the mood to play. I added some yellow tone to the highlights and blue to the shadows. Still need to play more with this style but the learning is part of the fun.

Shadow Portrait Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/400s, 24mm, f/8, ISO 200

Shadow Portrait
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/400s, 24mm, f/8, ISO 200

Morse Code?

In The Yard – ITY01

The start of a new year! Actually, doesn’t really feel any different than last year. At least not yet. I know I mentioned resolutions in the post yesterday but I refrained from making a post about them. I did those in the past and they do not seem to take hold. I need to figure out a better method.

I did decide to start this month off with a new series I’m going to call In The Yard. I know there are a lot of subjects for my camera in my yard and I want to train myself to see them better. It is what I did when I was learning with my old point & shoot. Looking back at that time I did capture some nice images. They’re out there… just have to find them.

So, the first in the series is of a small birch tree in the side yard. Looks like a woodpecker has done some tattooing on the bark. I went with a very small depth of field and then converted to B&W because the textures and details where more important than the colors (at least for me).

Morse Code? Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO 100

Morse Code?
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1/500s, f/2.8, ISO 100

Monochrome Monday: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Monochrome Monday: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Frontierland, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

There is definitely something intriguing about converting my Disney images to black & white. Not every image will lend itself to the conversion and part of the fun for me is to find the right one. With a lot of my Disney images it is the color that helps tell the story or at the very least is a big part of the visual impact for the image.

To get a good B&W conversion there has to be more to the image. The elements need to convey the story with the texture and tone supporting the visuals to provide impact. The color version for this view of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad although appealing to me just didn’t have the punch I wanted. Hopefully I was able to create something more with this conversion.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/200s, 24mm, f/8, ISO 400

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Nikon D5100, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/200s, 24mm, f/8, ISO 400

Cinderella Obscured

Cinderella Castle
Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World

This morning I return to a previously posted image. One that was actually captured with my old Sony point & shoot on a family vacation prior to me becoming interested (obsessed) with photography. I enjoyed the color version of this image with Cinderella Castle shrouded in early morning fog but I think this monochrome redo turned out even better. You can view the original on this post from last year… Photo Magic 2013.

Cinderella Obscured Sony  DSC-W55, 1/160s, 19mm, f/5.2, ISO 100

Cinderella Obscured
Sony DSC-W55, 1/160s, 19mm, f/5.2, ISO 100