This image was captured off the kolob reservoir road in zion. I was amazed at how many people were up there ready to view the eclipse. I used an 8 stop neutral density filter, iso 50, f22 at 8000 of a second and even then it was to bright, it also caused some lens flare with all the glass, but I kind of like it. I could have purchased a special filter like the one used for the glasses but then I would have come up with an orange circle in the sky that I could have made up in photoshop. Having said that I wish I would have had one. If I would have made it any darker then the silhouette of the tree and hoodoo wouldn’t be visible. I guess I could have done a double exposure and combine the two but that would just introduce more lens flare and the like.
The look I was after was to distance myself away from something in the foreground and use a telephoto to make the moon and sun as large as possible. I only had a 300mm on a full frame camera. The trick was figuring out just where the sun would be when the moon crossed in front. I thought this hoodoo and ponderosa pine would work well. I took quite a few exposures but this one was my favorite. It would have been nice to have a thin cloud cover to act as another ND filter but I shouldn’t complain. Maybe next time in 2023!
Congratulations to Patty Gordon with a guess of 2400 exposures on my Grand Canyon trip. The total exposures were 2,438. She is the proud owner of the first edition of the hummingbird photograph I posted earlier on this blog. Patty, email me your address and I will get it to you!
Stay posted for the next free giveaway!
Raw files light and dark
I took this image of the Provo River several days ago. The latitude of light and dark was just too much for the sensor to handle. I wanted detail in the rocks and the sky just as my eye witnessed it. Enter the term HDR or High Dynamic Range. This is a process of combining two (or more) different exposures of the same image into one final photograph with detail in both areas of the highlight and shadow. After all…this is what my eye saw so why shouldn’t I be able to record it exactly how I witnessed it. This has always been my goal in photography.
Processed combined photographs
The image on the left is a combination of the two exposures using a HDR program called PhotoMatix. You can get a trial version of this online for free. It does a pretty good job and lets you select several different outcomes where you can adjust the look you want after processing the two images together. I’m not a big fan of this look. To me it looks kinda cheesy, and I’m not a big cheese fan in any form. It makes the rocks lighter than I saw them and seems to always make the lighter ares go magenta. Granted, You can adjust this in the program itself to a certain extent, or in photoshop, but who wants to spent hours on the computer? Not me! It also seems to introduce “Noise” in a lot of the areas. On scenes like this where there is an obvious “line” if you will, transition from light to dark, I prefer to use photoshop and just combined the two together using the layers function and either painting in the light areas or the dark areas. Personally I like the one on the right better. Its closer to how I saw the scene and the emotion I was feeling at the time. It seems the HDR programs want to take it too far and almost make the image appear flat lacking in contrast.
Difficult transition from light to dark
Now If I have a scene that has a transition of light and dark that is very difficult to distinguish, like the one on the right, a software program like Photomatix might be the only way to go, unless you don’t mind spending a lot more time in photoshop combining the two. It takes a lot more effort selecting, combining, painting, and merging the layers together, but it can be done. In fact, even though it was difficult, I choose to go the combining of layers for this shot instead of the HDR program because I didn’t care for the look it produced.
Lots of different tools out there to use to get our own unique version of how we interpret the world around us. This is just how one photographer chooses. The question is asked, “What made me have an emotional response to this”, enough to make me stop and take a second and third look, then finally pull out my camera and make a record to document the moment in time where I felt a connection and understanding of my surroundings. This is a question you have to ask yourself before and after you shot it.