Sometimes Nature Just Does Not Cooperate

I got itchy to take some pictures last night.  We’ve got a trip coming up to New England to take Fall pictures (Leaf Peepers we are).  In dreaming about that trip I just couldn’t wait, so off I went to our local river walk.  I sometimes can get good sunsets there, but its no Fall paradise.  We seem to get some Fall color here in Houston around mid to late November.  I’ll have to go back to this spot.  Driving over well before sunset I could tell it wasn’t going to be great.  There were no real clouds, but I wanted to try my 10-stop ND filter again so I went anyways.

River Grove Park(click on picture to enlarge) Anticipating mosquitos, I had long pants and a jacket on, in spite of it being 85 degrees and muggy.  I’m glad I did.  There were mosquitos.  Great Fall scene; standing there alongside a mosquito infested swamp, sweating in long pants and a jacket, taking pictures of dark green trees, a brown river, and barely any sunset…oh well., isn’t photography fun?

I ended up taking 50 or so shots, most of which I deleted as soon as I saw them on the big screen, because I had failed to clean off the filters I was using before starting.  I began shooting with two three-stop ND filters stacked.  That wasn’t working, especially with the dirty filters.  When will I ever learn to slow down?

I switched to the 10 stop filter and began experimenting.  Using an app on my iphone I was able to calculate shutter speed.  Shooting at f16, I was getting about 1/20 of a second without the filter, so the app was good at getting me about 1minute with the filter.  I decided to try for a long exposure “bracket” series so I could blend them back home in Photoshop.  I never was very successful.  I’ll need to play around some more.  What I did do, however was grab a bracket without the filter to blend in the trees and walkway, while using the long exposure for the water.  It seems to have worked out pretty well.

While taking the pictures there were two muscovy ducks swimming back and forth in the frame about 15-20 yards out from the pier I was on.  They showed up as blurs in most of the shots, except for the real long exposures, where they completely disappeared.

This picture is actually a blend of three shots.

one – No Filter, exposed for the walkway and trees

two – No FIlter, exposed for the clouds and sky

three – A long exposure for the water

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