Multnomah Falls. It seems like this is the de facto area to take anyone who is new to Portland (raises hand). I’ve shot here more times than anywhere else thus far and I will never object to going back. There is simply too much to learn from this highly popular place.

On my last trip here (with +Karen Hutton and +Ben Canales), I wanted to practice using my Lee Big Stopper 10-stop Neutral Density filter in more challenging environments, like this one. Here is a plain fact – by adding an ND filter on the front (or the rear) of your lens, you will extend the duration of your exposure. It’s like putting sunglasses on your lens. What happens next is determined on what elements are in your frame.

Look at what you have in front of you and try to imagine what their characteristics would be if you could expose them over a long duration.

Water, as you can see here, will glass over. The more subdued the flow is, the smoother the surface will be. A calm lake will reflect beautifully whereas a windy water surface will have more edge to it.

Clouds will wisp into ethereal vapor. The faster they move, the wispier they become.

The dynamic range of your scene will become much more manageable because you have much more control over dimming the highlight areas. This makes shooting in bright sunlight much easier. However, it also means that you need to take mind of exposing for your shadows, which will be darker.

And people. Ahhhh, people. Now here is nice byproduct of the ND filter with people. In a scene like this, people are moving quick enough. They take their position, fire off an image or two and then move on (mostly because you’re getting very damp from the water spray). Because you are exposing for a long time, these people don’t even register in your image – and for someone like me, this is a great thing because my focus is on the structure itself (and the surrounding nature) but not on the people.

So, the next time you’re out and shooting a scene that you wish would have smooth water, wispier clouds, or no people, don’t forget your trust friend, the Neutral Density Filter. :)

In terms of processing
This wasn’t a terribly challenging processing method but rather a very time-consuming one. First, I applied a Blue Filter in +onOne Software Perfect Effects 3. It took forever because I had to mask through every little notch on the bridge, but it pays off. The blue filter added a nice tint to the background.

Next, I applied Tonal Contrast and Warming effects onto the bridge itself. Again, it took forever masking around those edges.

Finally, I applied the Green Enhancer to the foliage flaking the bridge on the lower corners of the frame.

Final touches were achieved in Adobe Lightroom 4.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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