It seems as though I can’t get enough of working on these images from this past weekend. It’s a wonderful thing when a small group of photographers can get together and start firing on all cylinders naturally. That was the case when I got together with, , , , and .
Horsetail Falls, seen here, was our first stop. The first portion of the trail climbs at a moderately fast pace, but once you level out, the rest of the trail is easy going. Once we reached these falls, we all naturally gravitated to our own areas, giving consideration to space out and get different comps.
I took this shot after having a particular conversation with Jay about minimizing the amount of dead space in the scene – namely, the dark and dull rocky areas that were devoid of foliage or moss. It just served to suck away attention from the shot. So, my aim was to fill the frame with as much of the greenery as possible while also including the waterfall.
As it so happened, I also caught Varina prepping her own shot in the distance. I remember being impressed with the sense of scale that was created here, as if Varina was a tiny figurine in this shot. If you follow the trail that bisects the waterfall, you’ll eventually bump into her.
This sense of scale is an effective visual tool that we should always keep in our back pockets when shooting such massive expanses, especially with wider lenses (this was taken with my Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS). It’s something that I’m going to challenge myself to keep in mind going forward, especially as my frequency of shooting landscape increases.
In terms of processing
This was a bit of a tricky one. It’s a single exposure image – properly exposed throughout with the help of my Lee 3-stop ND filter. The key here is to bring out the beauty of this lush scene without losing Varina’s presence. So, I applied the Magic Forest preset along with a Tonal Contrast preset to the entire image. For the water, I selectively masked in a Blue Filter in a tiny amount. Finally, I used custom Lighter and Darker effect layers and masked them so Varina had a slight glow around her, facilitating the viewer’s eyes to find her. All were achieved in Perfect Effects 3. Final touches were applied in Ligthroom 4.1RC2