Creekside

The skies were grey and threatened precipitation for most of the day. These inauspicious conditions notwithstanding, I walked the creek where this Iron Truss bridge, part of the Pine Creek Rail Trail, crosses at Ramsey. Having biked across this bridge many times I knew there was a canoe launch just downstream. I drove there, parked, and walked upstream toward the bridge. It was quiet, I was alone, and thought a cairn might enhance the view to the North. It’s been a while since the opportunity of building a cairn has presented itself. Joanna was walking the trail with a friend, afternoon chores were done, and I had the time. After establishing the tripod in the watercourse I realized that I would need a neutral density filter to cut down the light to allow a long exposure. For those interested in such things this image was shot at ISO 50 and f10 at 25 seconds. I worried, on the drive home, whether the swiftness of the water had resulted in camera shake and blurring of the image (especially over such a long exposure). I was unable to check this while working in the stream because I had lost my glasses out of my shirt pocket even before the first exposure was complete. [I did look for the glasses … but it was difficult search to for them without my glasses.] I think the final image works well. The steely gray of the sky balances nicely with that of the moving water while the orthogonal intersection of bridge and cairn satisfy my need for order. Summer green splashed across the near hills and river valley are mirrored (if you look closely in the high resolution view) in the cobbled bottom of the stream bed. Balance (of all sorts) … gotta love it.

Cairn5

20 thoughts on “Creekside

  1. When a friend got me into current Canon equipment a decade ago by giving me two film bodies and several lenses, one of those lenses was a 50mm macro with life-size converter attachment. That combination is small and light, but it doesn’t have the quality of the 100mm, which also lets me get closer. When my 100mm was away getting repaired last year, I went back to the 50mm temporarily and was apprehensive, but I managed to get some good pictures with it, including the one at:

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/black-willow-leaf-spiral/

    I’ve heard good things about the Nikon 105mm but have never used any Nikon equipment. I’d recommend the longer lens. You might do well to go to a camera store and see how some macro lenses feel on your camera.

    1. Thanks Steve … the image you linked to is really wonderful! My inclination was for the 105 … and now I do think that’s the way I’ll go. Living out here in the sticks as I do it’s pretty difficult to get to a city of any size to see what these lenses are like. When you say the 100 mm has let you get closer do you mean that it can produce a ratio of 1:1 (or perhaps larger) without the extension tube you had to use on the 50? D

      1. I just meant that at a given distance from a subject the 100 mm magnifies twice as much as the 50 mm. With skittish subjects, the longer focal length lets you can keep farther away.

  2. Still trying to find out if the bridge or the cairn looks less real πŸ™‚ I think the bridge – it seems to have been pasted into the image … I don’t know why it seems so artificial? Probably it is related to the extreme 2D appearance of the background (bridge and forest) – in contrast to the “very 3D” cows in the previous post?

    1. Hmmm … you really are looking at these images closely Elke. I think that’s great (thank you) … you really are the only follower who makes the sorts of observations you do. I can assure you that neither cairn nor bridge were pasted! They were both ACTUALLY there when I tripped the shutter! But you are right in observing that this image was indeed quite flat and that the grey of the sky and that in the blurred water is perhaps what gives the impression of a lack of depth. Thanks for the perceptive analysis and comment (as always). D PS: Yet ANOTHER new gravatar! I like it.

      1. Thanks, Dave – but I am just looking at the pictures and writing down what I (think I) see. But it is interesting that you appreciate my observations – this is very similar to what my arts teacher in high school used to say about my ad hoc musings on artwork πŸ™‚ Thanks also for noticing the gravatar – actually this image was taken by a real photographer this time (a subversive photographer-artist friend) – in contrast to the cell phone selfies I had used before.

  3. Your photograph reminds me that skies in 19th-century photographs were invariably white or light gray because of the long exposure times that old emulsions required. When I’m out wandering I occasionally come across a cairn like yours, usually on land. I’ve generally supposed those cairns to be trail markers, but your post makes me think that people erected at least some of them for their own sake.

    1. Thanks for the observations Steve. They are very much appreciated. I have said before that likes and observations, from those who I know to be more skilled than I, are most especially appreciated and eagerly anticipated. I have been reading up on macro lenses and was wondering about your opinion. Nikon has a 60 and a 105 mm – which would be your choice, and why? I believe you’ve got one in the latter range – is that correct? No rush, at your convenience. D

  4. A lovely creation, between you and nature you created a masterpiece in stone and water. What sort of neutral density filter do you use … I have one on my birthday wish list, and any tips greatly appreciated πŸ™‚

    1. Here’s a list of the reduction in f-stop associated with 5 ND filters.

      ND 0.3 (2x), 1 stop; ND 0.6 (4x), 2 stops; ND 0.9 (8x), 3 stops; ND 1.8 (64x), 6 stops; ND 3.0 (1000x), 10 stops

      I’ve got two of these … the 0.6 and the 3.0. Which one you need depends on how much you want to close your aperture or slow your speed … or both. I got the filters to enable me to slow shutter speed WAY down while still maintaining good dept-of-field (small apertures) as a way of gaining depth and saturation under bright conditions. I also like to be able to use very slow shutter speeds to blur moving water. I do believe that you can stack these filters to get additive effects. A ND filter is a nice thing to have and afford a bit more latitude in very particular situations. Hope that helps.

      1. That’s exactly why it’s on my birthday list … I find over exposure a rather frequent problem, and like you I like moving water shots. The photos I took at thundering pool would have been even better had I owned an ND filter! We are going to Venice and a few other places in a few weeks and I would like it for shooting there where the bright light will possibly be bouncing around off all that stone, marble and water πŸ™‚ fingers crossed … my birthday is in a week or so πŸ™‚ What brand of ND filter did you get?

        1. Both of mine are Hoya filters. And, I just checked, they are ‘stackable;’ that they are male threaded on the side toward the lens and female threaded on the side away from the lens. I too thought that your images of the Thundering Pool would have been more dramatic with a longer exposure. Keep in mind that you’ll need a good sturdy tripod if you’re going to be using long and longer exposures. D

          1. Thanks David, I have two tripods I use…..one really light weight one with shortish legs, and a full blown heavy duty one….good for filming from πŸ™‚ I used the light weight one for thundering pool, and longish exposure to catch the colours in the shadows, but the water was trickling down after a month of no rain, so no silkiness! Hoya is one of the brands I’m looking at … I’m thinking of getting a variable one which allows you to create about 8 settings from one filter … less fiddle … but haven’t decided yet πŸ™‚

  5. Love the composition, as if some mythical form is rising up out of the water. Creative and interesting.

  6. First of all … did you find your glasses? That could end up being an expensive cairn! I love the juxtaposition of the cairn and bridge – very balanced as you say. Why did you blur the water? I think the “natural’ state of it might have looked nice!

    1. No, I did not find the glasses, although I did look for them. They were the Grocery Store variety … so, no big deal. Perhaps I’ll have to get one of those lanyards to keep the glasses around my neck … just for not-quite-underwater photography? I always use a long exposure when photographing moving water. I thought the blurring makes for more interest. A photo of water, as plain old water, is sort of boring … isn’t it? By the way … did you put Betty on to the blog? If so, thanks … every comment counts. I wonder if she follows or whether hers was just a one-time visit? She should tell all of her friends … as should you. D

      1. I DID send her the link to the one with the bunch of cows staring at you! May also send it to Loie’s daughter who is a horsewoman. Lives in NH. Regarding the blurred water, well it’s just that … blurred! Perhaps my obsessive compulsive nature prefers the classic look!

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