We had a lot of fun at the Fallasburg Fall Festival for the arts, and enjoyed talking to the hundreds of people that stopping by to admire and purchase our prints! Several images were show favorites, and many people had questions on how I achieved a particular look. It is always great to answer all those question in person, and it gave me the inspiration to continue my ‘Making of:’ serie of blog post.
Fall and Water was one of the most asked about images (it fit very well in the Fall Festival theme). People were initially attracted by the vivid colors (Q: Do you Photoshop? A: Do I ever!), but the more people looked at the larger format prints, the more they noticed small details… and they kept being drawn to the image, looking for what was that kept their attention.
In taking and processing this image I had set out to try to capture a bit of the beautiful fall atmosphere around the waterfalls of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I took many pictures of waterfalls, and the recurring theme in my mind was Water and Fall… just a play of words that kept on coming back in my head, and slowly moved my focus from the beautiful waterfalls to the concepts of Water and Fall (both the season and the act of falling).
I started scouting a small stream flowing along the rocky path I was on, and quickly found a neat and colorful arrangement of leaves that suggested an interesting composition (I admit I did a little bit of ‘landscaping’ by removing a couple of leaves that were in the way, and arranging my subject a little – is that worse than photoshopping? 😬). I had my Fall, and there was water all around… Now how to make them come together!
The first thought was to capture the glisten of the wet rocks to enhance their texture, almost like a clear gel coat. I was using my Singh-Ray VARI-N-DUO filter, and I took care to set the polarizer aspect of it in such a way to retain some of the reflection from the rocks to create the effect I wanted.
Setting the filter close to its maximum density allowed for another creative use of the flowing water. By using a very long exposure time (30 seconds) the water almost disappeared, leaving a soft transparent layer that separated the portions of the composition above water from the background. This is similar to the use of a shallow depth of field, but the effect is unique enough to catch the attention of the viewer with a very strong demarcation between the sharp and soft portions of the image.
I post-processed this image to further enhance the color and texture of the scene with a combination of subtle local color adjustments, saturation and sharpening. The result is what you see above. I have a large print of this image hanging in my office, and every time I look at it it brings back memories of a beautiful fall day in the UP!