Monday, May 9, 2011

Rushing Water ~ Mono Monday!

"Rain Runnin' Fast"
(1/6 sec.@ F/20, ISO 100, 46mm fl, Center Weighted Meter)
(sunset, tripod, circular polarizer)

Armed with a tripod, a remote shutter release, and a polarizer to filter out the excess light that comes with slower shutter speeds, I begin to hunt out the area waterfalls once again. May is truly ideal for this as we're inundated with rain from April, and Hamilton is known as the Waterfall Capitol of the World after all!

I love the challenge of photographing moving water. The trap however, is getting so caught up with the technical, that a true composition is neglected. Or we opt for any moving water that might look silky and smooth in the lens without any thought to why we're drawn to it, and how to express it as a photograph of substance.

Today's B&W is my balance of the two; the mechanics of the shot, and my objective in photographing it. The first thing I was careful of was to find an element of design I could capitalize on, not just a pretty run of water. I walked around this particular juncture in the creek bed several times before I decided how much my eye kept coming back to the smooth line that arched around the creek, giving a horseshoe shape containing the water surging down over it. I also liked the automatic contrast of silk and surging water swirling a step below it. Exposed right, there would be a contrast of light and dark within both areas of the shot. Creates interest.

I kept my wide angle zoom on so as to include the entire rounded layer of rushing water too. Always remember your focal length (zoomed in to 46mm for this shot) helps determine what you do with your final composition, and where you'll shoot from obviously. I waited for the sun to bathe the swirling part of the water over the edge of the bank to add golden light for my color shots and to meter from that so I wouldn't blow out any necessary highlights. And I knew I'd need everything in the shot that was still, to be sharp throughout, plus use my choice of aperture to help give me a longer exposure than normal so the water would look appropriately smooth in the right spots. I ended up with a shutter speed of 1/6th of a second that gave me the look I desired. The rushing turbulent motion is still very defined in spots, and the smooth water running over the layer of rock bed is equally defined.

I'm very happy with this shot. I could have easily stopped down my aperture more to allow for an even longer shutter speed and made the entire shot very very soft. But that was not my goal this time around, and at times, that approach can be very cliche. In editing after I converted to B&W, all this required was to tidy the crop a bit and pull contrast out of the shadows and highlights with PSPx3's Clarify action at only 8.6%. I'm noticing the more carefully I expose in the camera, the less is needed in editing. Maybe an obvious thing, but I use it as a way to judge if my skills are being honed any. High Pass Sharpen was applied at a subtle opacity adding a bit of extra depth.

Thanks for the ramble on my waterfall trails exploits. There will be many more to come. If you haven't walked or biked the Red Hill Creek trails, they're beginning to look quite lush right now... great place for your family and your cameras!

No comments:

Post a Comment