Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Morning Mist



Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, just north of Glacier National Park, is a gem of a place. It is a charming, relatively small park with stupendous scenery.

Often in the autumn, when days are warm but nights are cool, morning mist forms on lakes and rivers. This was an especially beautiful morning. This shot was taken just a few minutes after sunrise, and the combination of the warm glow of the sun, the deep blue sky, and the low-hanging mist, all reflected in the calm lake created quite a scene.

Even though the contrast range was great, the exposure was not difficult. When photographing a scene with the sun, keep in mind that the brightness of the sun, even when diffused through mist or light clouds, will be so intense that it will most likely go pure white in the image. While HDR can help somewhat, my personal preference is to not use HDR unless absolutely necessary. Why? Because many HDR programs can go too far and create a somewhat artificial look. That can be controlled up to a point, and certainly the software (and in-camera HDR) will improve over time, but for now I prefer the more old-fashioned approach of controlling overall exposure as much as possible, and then using Lightroom and occasionally Photoshop (or Elements) to bring shadows and highlights under control.

Compare the Before and After images above. Lightroom did most of the heavy lifting. It brought up the shadows and brought down the highlights beautifully. The only added touch was done in Photoshop –  by picking a light orange color from the area just outside the brightest sunlight, and using a soft brush (at about 20% opacity), a touch of color was added to the brightest areas of the sun and its reflections, so that they did not appear pure white.

Shutter Speed 1/400 sec.  Aperture f/14.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L set at 28mm.  Camera: Canon 6D.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “I don't ask for the meaning of the song of a bird or the rising of the sun, on a misty morning. There they are and they are beautiful."  --Peter Hamill

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