The making of an image

Pigeon River, Fall Color Bethel, NC
Pigeon River, Fall Color Bethel, NC

Yesterday morning we headed out on our Thursday Field Shoot from Waynesville, NC. Driving down Route 276 to Bethel our plans were to take Rt 215 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Like so many of these shoots, sometimes we never reaches the destination if following the light. It just seems to take us from one area to another.

I had envisioned photographing reflections in the water of some of the tributaries. The Pigeon River runs along 215 and the first spot that looked interesting was at the junction of 215 and 276 by the Jukebox Junction Restaurant. The first exposure was made from the bridge, as the morning light was generating a warm reflection in the water from an overhanging yellow leafed bush.

Color Fall Pigeon R. Bethel #1
Color Fall Pigeon R. Bethel #1

I wasn’t sure just where we would go next but the first step was to get started. This reflection included the wash from a rock just in front of the bush, a possible problem or feature to help make the image. I seldom think about making just one super image but to collect what is offered and decide later which ones were strong enough to keep. I’m using a Nikon D300 with 18-70mm lens  camera set at 44mm, on Aperture Priority with aperture set at f/8. Shutter speed automatically sets at 1/10 sec.

This just happened to be my first take. Usually, I stop down to about f/22 for my first shot and adjust the aperture from there to how I like the water to look. It’s a pretty subjective thing. My EV was set at -1.0 to saturate the scene a bit. I took a test shot when we first got out of the car and at EV “00” the image was too light for what my eye saw.

Sometimes we’ll keep some images that are nice but not outstanding. One needs those if making a multimedia presentation as a transition image during the show. I’ve never produced a show with all stars but I like to have a supporting cast.

Color Fall Pigeon R. Bethel #2
Color Fall Pigeon R. Bethel #2

For my second shot, I expanded the composition to include elements down stream, more water rapids and additional red leaves. I set the aperture for f/25 and  placed Two Neutral Density filters on the lens to help slow the water. The exposure lasted 30 seconds but was really too underexposed. The next exposure I set my EV to +5.o and that is the one shown here.

An old rule is that one removes anything in an image that is not necessary. I cropped the bottom section of the image, leaving a triangle of water in the lower and I think more balance to the image. That is the one at the top of the page.

We went on from here exploring and I think you will enjoy what else we found. But, in the meantime I thought this opportunity to share the making of an image might be appropriate. Comments invited.

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