Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Cascades

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington, USA
    Posts
    18

    Cascades

    I live in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State and heavy seasonal rains have reawakened all of the dormant minor streams. Everywhere I look water and gravity are combined for photographic opportunities and with the leaves off the trees and brush, better views are attainable.

    I often find cropping a difficult decision for scenes like these. Although a waterfall may be the central focus, showing some of the surrounding forest is integral to providing a sense of context as to the setting. Both of the waterfall images have been cropped, but not with the certainty that I got it right.

    Cascades

    Cascades

    I experimented with various shutter speeds on this next shot for the water effect and ended up choosing the fastest of the lot: 1/60, f/9.5, ISO 1600
    Cascades

  2. #2
    Steve H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Te Anau, New Zealand
    Posts
    185

    Re: Cascades

    Hi Rich,

    Wow - so you've got a little bit of 'New Zealand Bush' in Washington state?

    I love the middle one - excellent composition and great silkiness in the water. I must confess I'm going through my 'moving water period' I could photograph rivers/watefalls/rapids all day long.

    I find about 1/4 second shutter and appropriate aperture works for me. Can you please tell us a bit about your setup in these photo's? You have great clarity and sharpness in the ferns etc.

    Cheers

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington, USA
    Posts
    18

    Re: Cascades

    Since these shot were taken right in the thick of things, a good pair of high boots are part of my kit. Also, be prepared for some bush whacking to get to good locations.

    As regards shutter speed: the two waterfall shots ended up as 1/2 sec. for the top image and 1/6 sec. for the middle image. I wasn't thinking about shutter speed for those two. In setting the camera at f/16 for max DOF and ISO 200 for quality I knew the shutter speed would be long enough to soften the water. I'm happy with the about of water blur. Because the last shot is looking down, however, the details of the stream bed are visible through the water, but not on a long exposure shot because it generates too much blur and obscures the stream bed. That's why I adjusted aperture and ISO to speed things up a bit.

    About the work flow to bring out detail (using Photoshop Elements 6): I've been experimenting lately with a couple of new techniques (that I stole off the internet) that seem to be producing good results.

    1. Basic processing in Adobe Camera Raw except that I use about 90% Clarity (this works for this sort of shot where there is lots of complex detail that will obscure the halos that are visible if the shot has flat areas).

    2. Shadow/Highlights command with Lighten Shadows at 25% or less; Darken Highlights at 20% (very effective for bringing out detail in the water); Midtone Contrast at 20-30%

    3. (here's where it gets interesting) Make duplicate of layer or use Merge Visible to a new layer (Cmd. Opt. Shift E). On this new layer: set blend mode to Soft light; Remove Color (Cmd. Shift U); apply Highpass filter at 40%; reduce layer opacity to suit (maybe something like 60%). This process increases contrast different than the normal Contrast control.

    4. For fine detail sharpening: Create another duplicate layer as mentioned in 3. above (I don't include the Highpass layer). Move layer to top; set blend to Luminosity; create a blank layer below this layer and Fill Layer with black; select top layer and Merge Down; set blend of merged layer to Luminosity; apply USM (I used amount = 200 I think). This sharpening layer will probably have way to much halo, so reduce the layer opacity to whatever it takes to produce a subtle sharpening. You could spend more time fiddling with the amount and radius in the USM settings but lowering the opacity of the layer is another approach.

    5. Finally, add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer, increase saturation a bit and mask out those areas that don't need it. (If there's one thing I can't stand, it's an image that looks like the saturation slider was adjusted with the elbow. Personal peeve #37)

  4. #4
    Steve H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Te Anau, New Zealand
    Posts
    185

    Re: Cascades

    Hi Rich

    Thanks very much for your detailed processing description. I gave it a go on one of mine:

    Before:
    Cascades

    After:
    Cascades

    Might have overdone the sharpening (or something) a tad but can see how it can be tweaked to give a crisper finish. I don't know what do you think? Too much? My original (first one) kind of looks a bit flat and washed out but that's how it looked on the day - overcast and under canopy etc.

    My processing workflow is (at the moment) jumping between Aperture and the Light Room 3 beta for RAW imports. I really want to like Aperture but find LR has better adjustments but don't like what it does to my Nikon raw files - it seems to soften them something chronic and changes the hue slightly as well.

    If it needs more than these 2 programs can offer (normally LR is enough) I shoot a jpeg out to elements 4 or (recently acquired) 8.

    Thanks for the tips anyway - I'll keep working at it.

    Regards

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Bucharest,Romania
    Posts
    1,323

    Re: Cascades

    Hi,It is easy to say but is harder to do however we must better our shots.First of all when I am in front of a cascade something impresses me:dimensions,nervosity,glitters,color,what?
    I suppose the hight(because your first shot was on hight).If the hight was, I cut off the upper side of the frame to "increase" this dimension then reframe it after a diagonal to
    underline the speed of the waterflow.
    Thank You for reading
    Radu Dinu
    Last edited by Radu Dinu Cordeanu; 7th January 2010 at 11:26 AM.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bellingham, Washington, USA
    Posts
    18

    Re: Cascades

    Hi Steve,

    Your second image shows a definite improvement in clarity of the details in the moss and rocks. It doesn't seem too much to me. The water, however, has lost detail in the second image, which would suggest that the highlights need to be reduced.

    My images were also shot with overcast sky and heavy tree canopy of evergreens above. It has its advantages.

    Rich

  7. #7
    Steve H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Te Anau, New Zealand
    Posts
    185

    Re: Cascades

    Quote Originally Posted by RichMurphy View Post
    Hi Steve,

    Your second image shows a definite improvement in clarity of the details in the moss and rocks. It doesn't seem too much to me. The water, however, has lost detail in the second image, which would suggest that the highlights need to be reduced.

    My images were also shot with overcast sky and heavy tree canopy of evergreens above. It has its advantages.

    Rich
    Yes I like the 'candy floss' water in the first so I suppose I could just mask that out of your sharpening process.

    I really need to do a photoshop course or get a really good book, I know it's very powerful (even the elements version) but I've never used it to its fullest potential. In particular using layers. I think I'm ok with basic levels/crop/brightness/contrast etc but it's the localised edits that you can you do with layers and masks that makes all the difference to a photo I think.

    That's why i like light room so much it has a really good brush feature for doing that sort of stuff - easier than photoshop in my opinion.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •