“Salmon Brook Idyll”
West Branch of Salmon Brook,
Granby, Connecticut, USA
▪ f/14 – Depth in this scene wasn’t an overriding consideration, but I still didn’t want to run the risk of softening the distant branches against the sky. An aperture of f/14 was the safest bet. You’ll notice that I’m quite fond of using f/14 in situations where depth is borderline, as it offers what I feel to be the most versatile balance between sharpness and depth-of-field. True enough, f/11 is usually sharper, but only by a degree that is almost (or sometimes entirely) indistinguishable.
▪ 17mm – There was plenty of height to capture, from the streamside bushes to the uppermost tree branches. The widest field of view available was a must.
▪ ISO 100 – Using the lowest native ISO was critical in this case, as the disparity between light and shadow in this scene was somewhat broad. You want as much processing latitude as you can get if you’ll be altering highlights and shadows.
▪ Resulted in a 1/4-second exposure.
▪ A polarizer deepened the springtime colors in the newly-emerging canopy and removed glare from the water to reveal detail in the boulder-laden streambed.
▪ A three-stop, soft-graduated ND filter held back the bright sky to afford better exposure of the forest floor. Although I could –and did- leverage post-processing software to open shadows and tone down highlights, I still couldn’t have achieved the balance I desired without also doing some “pre-balancing” of the exposure in-camera using a grad ND.
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