Calm Water

I ran into this location late summer and this one taken a little earlier in the same area than my image “Where The Grass Grows Green”. I liked the colors in the rocks/stones and the wooden blocks here. It was a very calm evening and we also had some nice clouds.

As for the processing, it hasn’t seen so much. Basic adjustments in Lightroom and some finishing color adjustments in Photoshop.

I hope you like it and thanks for visiting.

Type Exif
Camera Make Canon
Camera Model Canon EOS 5D
Aperture F16
Exposure Time 1.6 sec
Focal Length 17.0 mm
ISO 50
Exposure Bias 0
Shooting Mode Aperture priority
Flash Flash did not fire, auto
Metering Mode Multi-segment

Image reviewed on Lens-Flare

Fellow photographer and german blogger Steffen Göthling from Lens-Flare.de has new series on his blog, where he gives comments or a review of images. This week he was so kind to review/comment on my image “Being There“.

For those interested and who read german please head over to his article on his blog.

Big thanks from the now already a little chilly north and this also reminds me that I’m long behind with my blogroll which will hopefully be up one day soon.

Sixty Seconds At Sunrise

Before I write something about this image, I would like to take the chance to thank all the visitors for taking your time, leaving comments, voting for my blog on the Photoblog Awards and bookmarking me on Photoblogs.org and on VFXY. Thank you all so much, it is very motivating to get such a feedback.

But now to the image. It’s a 60 seconds exposure taken at almost the same location as my last image, only two lakes to the north, which should be around 500m. For those interested, the name of that lake is: Valkiäsjärvi.

I got up at four that morning and drove around 15km through the dark with my bike to this lake, and when I arrived there I got the reward for my effort. A beautiful sunrise. The mist on the water made the trees on the other side of the lake soft and dreamy and some clouds did their best to reflect in the water.

Some notes on the processing: I used GND filters here with together 5 Stops over the sky. The original file was quite well exposed, and I did only apply some color correction in Lightroom and finally some (really not much) adjustments in LAB color mode PS.

View the original, unprocessed version of this image

Exif Info: F16 | 23.0 mm | 59 sec

Using GND filters on a Digital Camera: Part 2

In the first post in this series I wrote a little introduction to Graduated Neutral Density filters what they do and how they look like. In this post, I’m going to show you what you actually will need in order to use them.

My biggest confusion when ordering my first filter set, was, what I would actually need, or what I will get and/or how it looks like. So here I have put together what all is necessary hoping to make it a little easier for others.

What do you need?

The filter set consists of three parts:

a) The filter holder:

This filter holder is equipped with filter slots for two filters.

b) The adaptor ring:

The wide angle version of a 77mm ring:

And this a 67mm version:

The difference between the wide angle and the basic version is the thickness. The wide angle one is smaller in order to prevent vignetting on wide angle lenses.

c) The filters, well obviously:

The GND filters come in strengths from 1 to 3 stops in both hard and soft transitions. 4 stop filters are available as a special order. For anything stronger it’s recommended to use two filters together.

I’m using the Lee Filter System, which you also see here. Things might be a little different in different systems.

So, whether you get the Starter Kit  or the Foundation Kit for the Lee Filter system you always will need an adaptor ring, suitable for the lens or lenses that you plan to use it with.

How does this come together?

Attaching the filter system is very easy. First you screw the adaptor ring to the lens:

Then you clip on the filter holder to the adaptor ring:

And finally you can slide in the filter(s):

This is basically all that you need in order to use them.

It is possible to upgrade this filter holder via the “Upgrade Kit”. Using that, you can use 4 filters together.

Are there other filters available?

The benefit of this filter system is, that you can also get all kinds of filters for it. There are Neutral Density filters available, warming filters, graduated colored filters, black and white filters and so on.

Also there are special Polarizer Filters available which can be attached to filter holder via an adaptor. I don’t have any of these yet, but I’m looking forward to expand my filter collection a bit in the future.

I think that’s it for this post. I hope it has shown clearly what is needed in order to use these filters. In the next post I will try to show some examples on how I used them of several of my images.

If you have any further questions or if something is wrong or unclear, you’re welcome to leave a comment.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Lee Filters in any way, I just use it and I hope everything I wrote here is correct. Just to make sure.

On A Little Island

Okay, now off to the next 100.

Last Tuesday I got off very early before work and took a ride to this lake, hoping to capture a nice sunrise. And I had luck. I took quite a few nice captures there and from all those, this is one of the last ones.

There are three lakes in this forest, and it’s a very silent place with only a little wind, so the water surface was just like a mirror. The mist was rising on the water and it was a very idyllic moment. This is surely a great way to start the day, though I got up so early, that I was tired for the next two days, but it was worth it.

As for the post-processing I did some color-adjustments in Lightroom and additionally in LAB mode in Photoshop. Also I did some minor level-adjustment on the trees.

Richard from Pixyblog enabled the possibility for us, to be able to show also an alternate version of a image. So you’ll find here also the link to the unprocessed image, “zeroed” in LR.

I hope you like and thank for visiting my site.

Exif Info: F11 | 70.0 mm | 0.2 sec

Using GND filters on a Digital Camera: Part 1

I have received several questions on my blog about the use of Graduated Neutral Density (GND) filters, or better what these actually are. So I decided to come up with a little series of posts in three parts, trying to explain what these actually are, and what is required and how I use them.

Why do I use them?

From the moment I started to become more seriously interested in photography I was fascinated about the technical aspect of getting a “proper” exposure. Since landscapes had been my main interest from the beginning, I quickly learned about the limitations of digital sensors. Whatever I tried to achieve, my images were never nowhere near (besides a few exceptions of course) to those images that I saw and liked in magazines, books or one the web.

It was frankly a little frustrating, but I tried to figure out the reason why my images looked so much different. Besides the amount of Photoshop, the most significant difference was that I realized that all my favorite images captured the whole, or at least a wider dynamic range of the scene than my images did. No blown out skies, dark foregrounds or just overall boring exposures.

I learned about HDR then and experimented with that for a while and came much closer to the look that I wanted to achieve. Also I learned about the possibilities to blend two or more exposures in Photoshop. Whereas these techniques are great and actually provide more flexibility it didn’t feel right for me, since the first time I could then see the final image was after the post-processing. For me it feels just better if I would get the shot right in camera first.

The more I investigated in this, it did strike me was that a lot of my favorite photographers used all kinds of filters, most notably so called Graduated Neutral Density Filters, which at least at that time felt a little old fashioned to me in this digital age. But the more I learned about the purpose, benefits and also weaknesses of these filters the more interested I became. I looked up information everywhere on the web and I decided to get some.

As easy as that may sound, it’s a little confusing if you have no store nearby where you can go an have a look at them, or check out what you actually need to start with. There are holders, slots, adaptor rings and so on. And even though I did some research, what to get first and so on, I was still a little confused by all the possibilities. Most of the time I just read a description, but I never saw an image of what I actually would get and need.

I thought that this might occur to other people as well and want to bring a little clarity into this by writing a little series of blog posts related to this.

Sounds cool, but how do they look like and what do they do?

 

On this image you see a 3 stop hard Graduated Neutral Density filter from Lee Filters. As you can see the upper part of the filter is dark, while the lower part is clear. That means the dark part is exactly three stops darker and the transition from is hard. These filters are also available with a soft graduation, where the graduation process encompasses a wider area, like you can see in the following example:

The purpose is to make one part of the image a certain amount darker than the other part in order to take away the exposure from the brighter part of the image. This usually is the sky, but can also be another part of course like bright reflections in a lake/river, snow etc. In a upcoming post I will then explain why there are hard and soft filters.

The color used on these particular filters is neutral gray, which will be invisible on the image and should not create any color cast, which are said to be created by filters which are just using a gray tone.

Assuming you attach the filter to the lens, whatever you will shoot, the top part will be three stops darker than the lower part. In other words, if the sky in your image is three stops brighter than the foreground, and you use this filter, the whole dynamic range of the scene should be correctly exposed. So the foreground wouldn’t be too dark, or the sky just a blown-out white all done in camera. Isn’t that great!

In part two of the series I will post, what you will need to have, in order to attach these filters to the lens.

If anything in here is wrong, or if you have any questions or further comments you’re welcome to leave me a comment.

Where The Grass Grows Green

20080830-_MG_1303-Edit

To my own surprise, I just realized that this is already my 99th image here on my blog!

I took this in an old, vanished industry location near the city of Pateniemi. There are no buildings left there, just the decaying shore line. It’s a nice location to explore but unfortunately I was late and didn’t had too much time there. I will go back there though, once the conditions are right.

What is interesting here, that I spotted this location, by using the “Birds View” feature on Live Maps. So I had some idea what to expect before I arrived there without me leaving the apartment. This made location scouting a lot faster, though it takes the sport out of it.

Notes on the processing: Some color adjustments in Lightroom followed by some level adjustments in Photoshop to bring back detail in the rocks and the wood.

Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you like my images.

Exif Info: F16 | 17.0 mm | 8 sec

Floating Jetty

20080831-_MG_1325-Edit-v2

After my last two experiments with panning still objects, I felt it was about time to post something slightly sharper.

I’m rather happy how this turned out, since it was actually a rather windy evening as you can see in the trees, and the jetty was constantly moving. Not much, but at least a little, and I feared it would turn out, very unsharp. To my own surprise it’s not too obvious.

Concerning the processing:
Since I used GND-filters, I basically only did some minor color corrections/adjustments in Lightroom and minor level/curves adjustments in LAB mode in Photoshop. Those visitors familiar with this place though, might realize that something is amiss. You’re right… there used to be two pipes of the industry and a little bridge which was hardly visible in the trees, visible on the horizon. Well, they kind of disappeared.

Thanks for visiting my site and I hope you like it.

UPDATE: I recently become increasingly better in posting the wrong version of the image. Updated to the correct one now.

Exif Info: F16 | 17.0 mm | 10 sec