This is the photo that won 1st place under the category “People in Nature” in the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust Photo Contest. It is now hanging in the winner’s gallery at All Ways Cafe in Bethayres Shopping Center.
Waterfall in El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico.
This guy is a two second exposure, so I used ISO 100 and an aperture of f/22, my 18-55mm’s smallest aperture, which is unfavorable to use when it comes to image quality, but I needed to use a small aperture to allow a longer exposure, because at the time, I didn’t have one of THESE - a Fader ND (Neutral Density) Filter. I picked one up for times like this, as well as some time lapses I am planning on doing, but much more on that in the future.
A Fader ND filter acts like sunglasses for the camera, and when you rotate the ring on the filter, the sunglasses become more and more opaque. (A standard ND filter doesn’t have adjustable “opaque-ness”) This allows you to reduce the amount of light going through the lens, allowing you to have long exposures or large apertures in bright situations. This filter would have been helpful with the picture above, so I wouldn’t need to use a crazy small aperture like f/22.
I was bored one night so I went out with my tripod for some night shooting around the resort.
I noticed a nice light coming from someone’s open deck. I set a 30 second exposure to allow a low ISO and aperture of f/7.1. I was pleasantly surprised with the cloud movement I captured.
I used the “shade” white balance preset in the camera, which I use outdoors no matter what kind of light, a trick I learned in Bryan Peterson’s book, Understanding Exposure. The cloudy white balance gives the picture a nice warm feeling, which is usually desirable in any kind of light. However, with the shade white balance, the sky came out an ugly red/orange. I was shooting RAW, so I knew that didn’t matter since I could change the white balance in Lightroom later.
I decided to go black and white, which emphasized the neutral color of the clouds, then split toned the highlights slightly to be a nice light blue, which allowed me to match the color of the light on the porch to the color of the moving clouds.
Split toning is a nice thing I like to use a lot if I really want to get a certain look and feel in a picture. It is even a more effective tool to make a B&W picture more interesting.
With split toning, you can tint the bright parts of the picture as well as the dark parts separately. This is especially effective in a B&W image, because the highlights and shadows have no color to begin with. Another example of split toning in my work is here. I first made the photo (original here) black and white, then toned the highlights to a light turquoise color, then toned the shadows to a dark red. You can see the red in the dark hills in the back and you can see the turquoise in the brighter clouds.
In the picture above, I only toned the highlights, to control the color of the porch light and the clouds as one. I left the shadows the same, to keep the B&W look.
Took a trip to Puerto Rico with the family. This one was taken in El Yunque Rainforest. There was a nice hike to a waterfall which happend to have a disgusting amount of people in it. I was excited to do some long exposures to get this nice effect on the water, but the massive amount of people in the water didn’t allow for the picture I was imagining.
I found these two people in the water below a bridge that went across the water. There was a railing on the bridge, so I rested the camera grip on that and was able to get a steady shot with a half second exposure to get the nice water effect. The shade that the tropical trees provided abled me to stop down the ISO and aperture enough to get a long enough exposure without over exposing.