Surface Ripples


Rain drops in a pool of water. Stevensville Brook. Underhill, Vermont.

Today’s image was an experiment for me to go beyond what I would normally do in a focus stacked image. Normally I would attempt to shoot the puddle of water here to get the reflection of the forest canopy above however as it was raining this made getting a perfect reflection most difficult. I thought to myself that something even better would be to try and shoot this puddle capturing the ripples in the water as the rain drops fell into it. This would give the image a little more dimension with some motion in the water. I had to make a separate image for the puddle as shooting with a polarizer would have rendered the ripples almost invisible to the camera.

I blended two images using one for the foreground rocks and lower 2/3rds of the image and another one for the upper rocks at the top of the frame and the pool of water and forest in the background. These frames needed the polarizer to saturate the colors a bit and add some contrast between the rocks and the water. The third image for the water ripples was a challenge in itself as I was relying on rain water dripping down from the canopy above. A long and tedious process for sure but one that I was quite happy with the outcome. The puddle image took about 25 to 30 shots to get one where I was happy with the ripple effect. The purpose of not using the polarizer was to have the highlights in the puddle be bright enough so that the ripples would be clearly visible, A polarizer would have ruined the effect I was going for.

I have been to this location many times and here I decided to simply turn around and see how it looked from the other direction. I really liked the curve of the rocks and the green color of the trees reflecting onto the pool in the background. This image was a bit more time-consuming than usual, About a half hour or so of shooting and about an hour or so of choosing the ripple image, blending and editing the final image.

Image Data: ISO 200. 17mm. F11 @ 2 seconds for the two rock and background images. F4 @ 1/20 of a second for the ripples.

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