I will be the first to admit that I really did not think that this image would work for me. Often when I am out shooting landscapes the work can be quite solitary however my wife sometimes comes with me for hikes and waits patiently while I am shooting. This particular trail is on Camels Hump which is another of Vermont’s larger peaks. Being only about a half hour drive from our house it makes getting into nature pretty easy for us. The location in this image is a series of bounding waterfalls that over time have formed some very slick and rather unusual formations in the rock. At the time we were here the water was running very low and while scouting this section of falls I came across several really cool, Small pools of water.
This pool of water had the best view of the lot but was more difficult to shoot as the rock is very slick and smooth making getting a grip to steady myself inches off of the ground difficult. The slope of the rock was tricky as well because just out of the frame it slopes into a deep ravine. Here i wanted to capture the reflection from the forest above as well as a hint of the background beyond. I shot several frames here to use in a focus stack and finding the correct balance of shutter speed for the water reflection took several attempts. Balancing the highlights in the puddle with a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the motion in the water is the trick in these types of shots. Debris falling from the forest canopy or even a slight breeze can ruin the reflection which would have destroyed the look I was going for here. In the end I chose an image that had a very tiny blowout in the highlights but one that also preserved the reflection of the trees above.
I only made one set of images here and my wife had wandered into the frame. Being a polite photographer I generally as a rule never tell people to move out of the way…I always will wait until they pass on. In this case the shooting position was pretty uncomfortable so I made my series and moved on. I was hesitant to put this image together but when I was finished I really liked the human element that balanced out the nature parts of this shot. It was a change from the work I usually do and here I embraced it!
Image Data: ISO 100. 17mm. F11 @ 2 seconds for the reflection image and my wife in the background with no polarization and 3.2 seconds with polarization to get some saturation in the rock surrounding the water. The polarizer of course killed the water reflection which is why I had to combine two images…I wanted the saturated look but I also wanted to keep the reflection.