Whispers of Split Rock – South Dakota

The morning air is fresh and the dew moistened earth speaks of the night gone by. Water tumbles down the Split Rock river and past the bank on which I stand as the treetops gently toss their heads into the breeze of morning, whispering of what lies beyond on the far banks.

This may not be my most astounding image, but there’s something tranquil about it that keeps me coming back. We had camped at Spit Rock Park in Garretson SD the night before. I got up after sunrise and took some time planning what I felt would be the best of this scene. The result is this silky long exposure with the blurred treetops giving a further sense of motion. I’ve given a lot of thought to how this could be it’s best before posting, but in the end I like it simple and refined.

For Photographers. How it was made… Canon 5D MK2, 24-70L at 43mm, ISO100, f18, bracketed, 15sec, 30sec, 64sec.

This photo has been sitting and waiting for a few weeks. I kept looking at it, wondering if it was lacking. Maybe it is, but in the end I keep coming back and I enjoy looking at it. Which seems to achieve my goal in making a photo. Truth is a lot of thought went into this from composition to editing. It’s not some mind boggling otherworldly scene. It’s simply a peaceful river with a view that makes me want to look again.

Whispering Foliage is something new I’ve been enjoying. I often use long exposures for moving water, but I’ve also been using them to attain interesting blurs on moving treetops and foliage. I think the key is getting enough blur to like more than just a soft image, but not so much as to become the focal point. The effect can vary, but generally I think it should to be subtle, yet dramatic. Various levels of blur and layer blending can help with the depth of this effect. In this case only the near back was blurred which makes an interesting frame for the scene.

I believe I started working this with the Super Simper effect from PW3. Then I processed in Photomatix as an HDR. I did not at all want a strong HDR here, so I used original base layers and masked some here, some there, bringing in the detail I wanted and the dynamic range that felt right. I took special care on the whispering foliage. Taking advantage of the different blurring on the various layers to get a look that felt right.

I thought of doing a monochrome with this, but decided against it. It was not specially planned as such, and I felt the color of the scene, the rocks and the reflection in the waters lent well to the mood. On the wrap up I did some careful channel work and cropping back in LR. Getting the color and hue just the way I wanted. Some may love it and some may not, but either way I think it’s a solid image worthy of hanging on a wall. We’ll see how it sells. Your thoughts welcome… Gav

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