On Deviating From Habit

By | 2012-05-19T09:25:40+00:00 May 11th, 2012|

I have a knee-jerk, pavlovian reaction whenever I shoot a scene with rushing water like this one, taken at Panther Creek Falls in Washington a few weeks ago with +Jay Patel, +Varina Patel, +Patricia Davidson, +Michael Riffle, and +Nicole S. Young. Namely, I pretty much always go straight for the darkest ND filter in my bag, which is the Lee Big Stopper 10-Stop ND filter. Cutting out 10-stops of light is a tremendous benefit when your goal is to capture the motion of water against the static stillness of the environment that it is flowing through.

However, in this case, the strongest filter isn’t necessarily always the best one to use. Sure, I could have placed that filter on and drag my shutter to a minute or two. That would have easily glassed out the water. However, I would have also wiped out those smaller details, namely the sharper wisps of waves as the water contours around the ground.

It’s those little details that I feel are critical to giving the shot more directionality and flow. To achieve this, I used a lighter ND filter – the Lee .9 3-Stop 4×4 resin ND filter, which gave me the benefit of a longer exposure while also being fast enough to retain those wisps.

It’s akin to a phrase that I use very often on my webinars: Just because a slider can go to 100 doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to.

In terms of processing
This is a two exposure blend. The first exposure took care of the water and the second was a much longer one that brought in more details for the scene itself. Masking was done in Perfect Layers 2 by +onOne Software.

I then sent the image to Perfect Effects 3 and applied a Green Enhancer, a Deep Forest Glow, and some Tonal Contrast.

Next, I sent the image to FocalPoint 2 and selectively applied a tiny amount of blur to the background forest. This gave the image a slight 3D feel.

Finally, I used a custom adjustment brush in Lightroom 4RC2 with a cooler white balance on the water.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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29 Comments

  1. Damien Franco May 11, 2012 at 10:09 am - Reply

    Wow. This really pops and flows. It's not just the subject or the color. It's the composition as well.

  2. Jeremy Hall May 11, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for some of the details in your post-process. Always interesting to see how you have arrived at the final image.

  3. Brian Bonham May 11, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

    I love the write ups on your process. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Nicholas Baer May 11, 2012 at 10:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for walking us through your process.

    Edit: naturally, two other comments saying the exact same thing are posted at the exact same time, haha.

  5. Tisha Craw May 11, 2012 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Wonderful shot, Brian!

  6. Jay Patel May 11, 2012 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Nice shot!! To summarize: Use the shutter speed that will allow you to see the details in the water.

  7. Patricia Davidson May 11, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Beautiful +Brian Matiash! It is always nice to hear how someone processes their images. I really love this.

  8. Kevin Benny May 11, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    This is an amazing shot. I love the color and the sharpness of the log. Beautiful

  9. Milena Ilieva May 11, 2012 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Beautiful movement of the water. Love the combination of white and green in Nature…

  10. Kashif rajput May 11, 2012 at 10:25 am - Reply

    Do you mind sharing the photo details data? Thnx

  11. m ahuja May 11, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing what tools you used and how you did it. This is beautiful!

  12. Ryan Turner May 11, 2012 at 10:51 am - Reply

    I'm with ya on that +Brian Matiash I see way too many shots where the water is more like smoke and less like rushing water. Smoke is fine if thats what your going for, but like you said, it's those little details of the water flowing around stuff that help make the shot great.

  13. Varina Patel May 11, 2012 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Very well done! The details in the water are just beautiful!

  14. Damien Jemison May 11, 2012 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Yes, I agree. You should just give me that silly Big Stopper filter so you don't have to worry about missing any more amazing photos like this.

  15. Brian Matiash May 11, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    +Damien Jemison HA! I always appreciate you going the distance to help me out. :)

  16. Rob Amend May 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash – I totally agree with you on this one, Brian. I shot some falls at Hocking Hills a few weeks ago during a steady rain. I got the water smooth as silk, but the surrounding foliage was blurred because of the motion caused by the rain drops.

  17. Kate Hailey May 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    freaking great cottony water!

  18. Christopher Harnish May 11, 2012 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Nice feel here! I like the trunk running from the lower corner to the falls… I have been loving Focal Point lately. I at least run my photos through it to see if it fits, and I'm finding it usually does to some degree!

  19. Kay Martin May 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks for showing us how this was done. And Brian, I just purchased Perfect Photo Suite 6.1. Going to go through all the millions of tutorials & such. :-)

  20. Joseph Eckert May 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Great shot, wonderful sharpness and depth of field, along with the silky water

  21. Juan Carlos Guzman May 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Nice , I guess you used a ND filter , look great

  22. Keith Dixon May 12, 2012 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Fantastic +Brian Matiash ;)

  23. Dominique Dubied May 13, 2012 at 4:51 am - Reply

    Lovely picture +Brian Matiash. I have discovered your work by reading the great "Google+ for photographers" book by +Colby Brown.

  24. Roman Motl May 13, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Beauty :)

  25. Rui Henriques May 13, 2012 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Great shot!

  26. Peter Broadbent May 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm - Reply

    Thought I was having de ja vu – a well deserved entry to #plusphotoextract!

  27. Chris Lazzery May 14, 2012 at 5:53 am - Reply

    Dude, this is awesome. Tremendous comp. Perfect exposure.

  28. christian richter May 15, 2012 at 7:06 am - Reply

    wonderful work………<

  29. Richard May 19, 2012 at 11:35 am - Reply

    ” Just because a slider can go to 100 doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to.”

    Love the shot but I’m not so sure about that theory. The guys in Spinal Tap took the amps to 11 and broke entirely new ground!

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