Water Mirror

Delta Lake State Park

When I was at Delta Lake the other night capturing the sunset there was another photographer on the beach. She had the best location and I tried to wait for her to grab the images she wanted before I interrupted but she was exploring a lot of different angles in that spot. I eventually realized she was not going to be done before the sun slipped away so I chanced walking up to her to see if I could share her location. She graciously agreed there was plenty of beach for both of us.

We chatted a little as we both went about our process. She was working on some long exposure images and I realized the conditions were ripe for doing so. For the last few captures, I threw my 4-stop ND filter in front of the lens and stretched the exposure out to 2.5 seconds. It was enough to smooth most of the water and create a nice mirror-like reflection of the sunset.

I photograph this section of Delta Lake quite often, some could say a lot! Maybe it is the easy access, maybe it is the direction of the sunset that makes it so easy. Either way, I never get tired of seeing this view, especially when there are a few lingering clouds in the sky to add a layer of color. I’m beginning to think orange and blue are my go to colors… 🙂


MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Water Mirror

Water Mirror
Olympus E-M1 Mark II, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 12mm, 2.5s, f/16, ISO 64


Beachcomber Revisited

What I Have Learned
Delta Lake State Park

I thought I would try something a little different today. While I was post-processing my image for yesterday’s post I was thinking about how often I visit Delta Lake but I manage to come home with images I want to share. That led me to thoughts of my early work when I was attempting to understand my camera and to really become a photographer.

I went back to an image at Delta Lake from November 2012. It was and still is a a favorite image of mine. I look at this image now and see all the changes I would make to it if I was creating it today. The changes are not really about the newer software for post-processing or my skill at using them, it is about my vision. I know I capture fewer images now than I did when I was starting out, but I feel I capture better images to express myself.

Well, that was a little long winded… What I wanted to do in this post is look at my original image and walk through the changes I would make today. So, here we go…


MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Beachcomber

Beachcomber – Original
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {0.4, 1/10 & 1/40s bracket}, 17mm, f/16, ISO 200


Back when I was starting on this journey, everything was HDR (High Dynamic Range) and I felt I needed to bracket every view in order to create the image I wanted. This image was no different. I captured -1, 0 & +1 exposures and threw the images into Photomatix in order to get what I wanted. I was also very much in love with the 16×9 image format (don’t ask me why…). Looking at this image I also see how “heavy” I went with my use of plug-ins for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. I had a full compliment of Topaz Labs plug-ins which I had won in a contest and I did not let them sit idly by..

My changes… First up, I processed the original exposed image, no HDR, I didn’t need it. I have learned how to better coax the lights and shadows into my image the way I want them to be displayed. I re-cropped the image to a 5×7 format. I want to bring a little more of the sky into view. This re-balances the image for me. Back in 2012 I knew about the rule of thirds but I don’t think I fully appreciated how/when to utilize it.

The next step was to remove the two yellow/green sun flare areas on the right side of the image. They are the first thing I notice when I look at my original image. They are still slightly in the new image but I know what I’m looking for, the normal viewer will not see them. The next correction I wanted to make was the colors. For one, my original HDR processed resulted in a “muddy” looking image. My heavy-handed processing only accentuated the problem by creating a grey overall tone. I feel like I’m looking at this image through a pair of sunglasses.

In Lightroom I adjusted the image to be brighter and to keep the color of the sky actually blue. I will admit I still use plug-ins but I have a better understanding of how to use the software to enhance my “look” rather than to overwrite the image with a pre-determined style. I added contrast to the shadows and mid-tones to bring out the texture of the sand. I adjusted the color to remove and color cast captured by the camera due to me shooting into the sun. I also wanted to highlight the colors of the sunset but not use them to overtake the image.

As much as I am happy with my original image, this revisited version, in my opinion, is a better representation of the scene. I like the color balance and the image itself is better balanced. Maybe I like it because it reflects my current style, that might be a contributing factor. You’ll have to let me know what you think…


MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Beachcomber Revisited

Beachcomber Revisited
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/10s, 17mm, f/16, ISO 200


Come Back to Me

Delta Lake State Park

After a very interesting day at work where more discussion concerning the next few weeks occurred than actual work, I definitely needed to wander outside with my camera. Even though the sun is setting later due to the spring time adjustment I didn’t leave myself a lot of time, which meant Delta Lake would be my destination for the sunset. I assumed there was more ice melt and I would be able to photograph some reflections. It did not disappoint.


MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Come Back to Me

Come Back to Me
Olympus E-M1 Mark II, M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8, 1/60s, 12mm, f/11, ISO 200

Roll With It

West Canada Creek

It is not like I partake in many social gatherings but when you are advised to limit your interaction it definitely modifies your behavior, even behavior that was already sparse. Luckily for me I enjoy quite a few solitary activities. Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day although a little on the cool side. Considering it is still early March I shouldn’t complain. It was a good day for photography.

The early morning found me in search of a sunrise that did not materialize the way I had hoped. But, to be truthful, I did not plan it as well as I should and a lack of images is the result. Midday was a different story. I knew exactly what I wanted to capture. I drove up to Trenton Falls to play in the West Canada Creek.

The harsh, overhead sun would produce bright whites and deep shadows which is exactly what I was looking for while I photographed the fast moving water. My telephoto lens and 4-stop ND filter allowed me to smooth out the water flow while still retaining some detail in small sections of the river.

I should warn everyone now, my collection of images from Sunday was pretty good with an above average keep rate… it was a good afternoon.


MLCreations Photography: Slow &emdash; Roll With It

Roll With It
Olympus E-M1 Mark II, M. Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 R, 1/10s, 85mm, f/8, ISO 200