Upstream


Tree and stream with spring snow. Underhill, Vermont.

I have been looking forward to making an image of this type for quite a while now and the right composition has eluded me. In my own personal efforts to get unique perspectives in my work I have been doing some experiments with focus stacked images and wide-angle lens/ low angle photography. I love images with strong foregrounds however to get that type of photo often you need to shoot separate files for the fore and backgrounds as it can be difficult to get both to be sharp and often the foreground will be much darker than the background. With this image I wanted everything to be sharp but also to give you a bit of the surrounding environment from the foreground. I thought that this composition would be a bit more unique to what would otherwise be a pretty standard, boring shot with the low angle.

I was able to get this composition with the help of a short center column that I recently purchased for my tripod. It allowed me to get much closer to the ground and put the foreground front and center in the composition. Shooting the images was a bit more complicated as I needed two different exposures and two different focus points. With the tree and foreground I made one image with a focus point right in the middle of the small green shrubs and an exposure of 2.5 seconds. The stream image I placed a focus point in the middle of the stream roughly in the top third of the frame with an exposure of 1 second. This shot required a lot of though, planning and vision as you have to see it in your mind and how the layers will stack together.

In lightroom I processed the images to match the exposures in certain areas to make masking easier. I made the usual adjustments of sharpness, clarity, and exposure with some additional graduated filter and adjustment brush work. From there it was a simple matter of importing the two images into Perfect Layers and combining them together. The tricky part is the ultra fine masking along the edges of the two images but I think I have achieved a nice balance with this one. The composition was not exactly what I was looking for because of the topography and snow I was sitting in but this experiment I think worked out well.

Image Data: Foreground image- ISO 100. 19mm. F11 @ 2.5 seconds. Background image- ISO 100. 19mm. F11 @ 1 second. UV Filter and a Cokin P series three stop neutral density filter.

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