By Scott Shephard
I am leaving for home today, which means my compulsion to take photos of the same stream will have to be redirected. I so need to re-invent myself. But I'll do that some other time. . .
As for the tease about how color shows up in a black and white image, I'll have to get technical. In fact, all of the rest of this post is about the techniques that were applied in making this image. So, for those who don't care about the "how," spend a little time here.
For the one or two still with me, here's how this photo happened:
Parked the truck and walked a half mile up stream to my first target along the creek but after taking a few photos, determined that the light was wrong. Packed up my camera and tripod and walked back to the spot you see in this image.
Hooked my Camranger to my camera, put the camera on the tripod, put a cool Tiffen variable neutral density filter on the camera. I had only used this filter once before and didn't like what I got that time. But maybe I'd do better on this go-around. . . .
With the Camranger, I can control my camera with my iPhone and don't have to touch the camera. I can also see the image just taken on the iPhone, which is an easier screen to view than the one on the camera.
A took a test exposure or two. My goal: a very long exposure so the water is milky. The test exposure suggested that this location and time had potential. The neutral density filter allows me to filter all most all of the light that is coming through the lens. That allows for slow shutter speeds.
By this time, it was very dusky and that, along with the filter, meant that I could expose this scene for over two minutes.
For a person like me who likes to see what I get right away, two minutes is a very long time. But I was patient.
I ended up taking a variety of exposures with different compositions but what you see here is what I decided to work on in my "digital darkroom."
By the time I packed up, it was very gloomy. I like this location, even in near darkness. All I heard as I walked back to my truck were the sounds of my feet crunching fallen leaves, of the rush of Iron Creek, which runs along and below the foot path, and of my breathing. I stopped once, held my breath, and listened to the surreal silence of the forest. (Yes, you can hear silence.)
In the "darkroom," I loaded the photos into Aperture and did some basic adjustments. I ended up choosing a series of three photos with exposures of 10, 20 and 30 seconds and then processed them in one of the HDR tools I use called Photomatix.
From Photomatix, I took the single HDR photo and opened it in OnOne Perfect Effects and made several adjustments, concentrating on color, contrast and sharpness.
From OnOne, I then opened the photo in a black and white processing software called Tonality Pro. It was this software that gave me very precise control on how various colors show up in the black and white image. In short, I made the blue water darker and the yellow leaves lighter.
I then exported the photo to a folder on my laptop and then opened it in Adobe Lightroom, from which the image was exported, sized and watermarked for this post.
Wew! Was it worth it? Well, maybe not. Though, as I've said before, photography is often like a road trip: for me, it's the journey, not the destination that draws me.