We consider this our back yard when we’re camping in New Hampshire.
In a large campground that is often overrun with RVs in certain places, there is one loop we’ve found where the sites are large and private, no RVs allowed, and it has this brook running along the back of the site. After a long day of hiking, or on days where we just don’t feel like hiking at all, we spend some time along the rocks, listening to the running water, watching the autumn leaves fall, and soaking up a few patches of warm sunlight.
If I had any wish at all, it’s that we’d spend even more time in this spot. Really… why go driving around from one place to another when you can just spread out on a rock and soak up nature’s beauty? No driving – no effort – no worries.
We were in this same spot one night, watching the stars in the opening of the canopy, when a large owl flew into a branch just over our heads only a few feet away. He regarded us for a while, as we did him. After a couple of minutes, deciding that we were way too big for dinner, he flew off silently. Since then, we have a new name for the brook.
This image came from three long exposures shot with a 10-stop ND filter. At f/10, 17mm, shutter speeds were 30s, 121.5s, and 291s. Those three gave most HDR tonemapping programs the fits, so I spread the exposures on each end by converting to TIFF in ACR, generating an even wider dynamic range. Seemed to work well. Post in PS-CS6 involved masking in elements of various tonemaps created with both Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro 2, spiced with Nik Color Efex Pro.
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All right. So I tonemapped a moose, okay?
Click on the image above to see him larger in a new window in the Animals Gallery.
We were concerned as we got toward the end of our trip, as we hadn’t seen a single moose in the two weeks we had been out. One morning, as we were having coffee and deciding whether to stay or to go, Susan said, “Look left!”
A mother moose and her yearling calf strolled through our campsite, between the truck and our chairs. They were so close that I didn’t dare get up for the camera until they had moved away a bit. We had heard about them frequenting the campground, but we never expected that they’d pay us such a personal visit.
Mother and baby browsed the trees in our site for a while, then moved out onto a grassy area, where the young one frolicked and then sat down for a bit of rest. We (and by then several other photogs) followed them around the camp at a respectful distance for about an hour, providing plenty of opportunity for images.
This image was taken from a single RAW file, tonemapped in Photomatix Pro 4. Although I did take a handheld bracket set, he moved just enough to cause ghosting, and none of the current HDR programs produced an acceptable result.
After using Imagenomic’s Noiseware to knock back some background noise, I used NIK Color Efex Pro filters to bring the eye toward the yearling, rather than risking getting lost in all the colorful foliage. This was done with the Darken/Lighten Center filter, and then dark Vignette knocked back to about 50% opacity.