Monday, November 16, 2009

Leaves and Bubbles

During my last trip to the North Shore, sadly the last trip of the year, I had the opportunity to make some images of leaves and bubbles moving in the flowing stream. Hollow Rock creek was moving slowly and the sky was overcast, a great day for this type of photography.

A sunny day would have posed a number of problems. First, and the biggest problem, is the sunlight shining thru the trees within your field of view creating a huge difference between the bright areas and the dark shadows. There's really nothing you can to to reduce the contrast. The second challenge with sunlight is slowing the shutter speed down to where you can make images of a few seconds or more.

Even on cloudy days like this it's hard to make long exposures of more than a second or two even with your lens stopped all the way down and when using a polarizing filter. To the rescue is the Singh Ray Vari-ND filter. This filter allows one to dial in from 1 to 8 stops of neutral density. It's like putting a pair of glasses in front of your camera lens.

With the Vari-ND I was able to get exposures of up to 20 seconds and since the filter is variable I could reduce the exposure simply by turning the front glass ring.

It was an awesome day of photography, as are most days of photography. One word of warning. Be sure your tripod leg(s) are securely tightened before letting go. I made this mistake on this trip and my tripod with a Canon 5D Mark II and 17-40 lens went crashing to the ground into a puddle of water. Is that ever a helpless feeling. I picked up the camera and lens and quickly dried it off but noticed water under the top LCD screen. I continued to use the camera until some of the controls started acting weird. Fortunately I was going home that day so when I got home the camera went under the hair dryer for a few hours. In to Canon it went and Canon exceeded my expectations by pretty much putting a new body on the camera and adjusted it to Canon specs. Fearing I'd lost the camera it turned out I feel like I got a brand new one. Thanks Canon.