a25 January 2014

Stream in Koscieliska Valley

Landscape photography

For me it took a really long time to define myself as a photographer. I try my hand in various things from landscape photography, cityscapes, animals to macro. I even take portraits from time to time (I wish I was better in them!). However, recently I take more and more landscape photos and I feel most comfortable with them. I also enjoy taking them the most. Impatiently waiting for sunset and seeing how beautiful it turns out... well, it's super exciting! And very rewarding. Especially as you often need to make sacrifices to capture good landscape photo (you need to either get up very early or miss dinner) So yes, I think I can be called landscape photographer :)

Why I'm not calling myself HDR photographer (apart from this blog's name)? Well, as I discussed in this post, High Dynamic Range is just a tool, technique to overcome limitations of our cameras. But it's not separate genre of photography. You can use it for landscape, architecture, real-estate, product or portrait photography. I'm also not black & white photographer, despite I often use it. HDR is just a tool. Very useful - but a tool.

Daily photo - Stream in Koscieliska Valley

I really like revisiting same places during different seasons, weather conditions or during different times of day as each of them make specific place look differently. Same place might look magical under some conditions, mysterious under others and even boring sometimes.

Very recently I uploaded photo from Koscieliska Valley here. Today I'd like to share yet another photo from there. From almost exactly same spot... yet both photos are completely different. First one was taken in winter. Photo from today was captured last autumn. Which one do you prefer? And why?


Capturing whole dynamic range of this scene required taking 5 photos at 1.5 EV spacing. As always I used Photomatix Pro to create HDR image from them and to tone-map it. After that I loaded this photo into Photoshop and used luminosity masking on it to give desired look to the image - I increased contrast and saturation locally.

Also as I wanted to add a little blur to water (but just a little bit) I used ND8 neutral density filter. If you're not familiar with it - ND8 stops about 3 EV of light. It means that instead of shutter speed of around 1/32s I could use 1/4s which already gives some blur to water - not much but that was what I wanted here.

I also think that composition of this photo is rather nice with river leading the eye (and having shape of inverted S-Curve) and strong vertical lines of tall trees in the background that greatly attracts viewer's attention.

Finally it's time for some EXIF info:

Technical details:
Camera: Canon 5D MK III (read my review here)
Lens: Canon 24-105 f/4 L IS USM
Focal length: 28 mm
Aperture: f/18.0
Exposure time: 1/4 s ("middle" exposure)
ISO: 50
Number of exposures: 5
E.V. Step: 1.5
Flash used: no
Tripod:yes
Filters: ND8 neutral density filter
Technique: HDR, tone-mapping, luminosity masks
Software: Magic Lantern 2.3, Photomatix Pro 5 (Contrast Optimizer), Lightroom 5.0, Photoshop CC, Topaz Clarity

Where was this photo taken:

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