Rocky Brook Falls, North Maine Woods
Welcome to the seen-by-few Rocky Brook Falls in the T15-R9 area of Northern Maine.
I frequently drag the family along to the places I shoot. These trips are always a great experience for them - but not always a "happy" experience, if you know what I'm saying.
Rocky Brook Falls is beautiful and is a very fun place to play in the water (at normal summer water levels). There are deep pot holes and a variety of water depths and current speeds in which to enjoy the clear water (note that care must be taken to insure safety here).
Coming up against the enjoyment part is the water temperature which varies between cold and really cold. Cold water means warm air and direct sunlight are needed for the "happy" part to happen. And I do make the effort to keep "happy" around as life is more pleasurable for all when "happy" is with us.
Rocky Brook Falls are located in the middle of the forest approximately 16 miles from anything (including electricity and paved roads). Direct sunlight happens in the middle of the day - the "happy" time for the girls.
You are of course right in thinking that direct sunlight is not the ideal time to be photographing the falls from a landscape perspective. For the photography goal to be achieved, early-mid-morning and late-afternoon-through-nearly-dark are the best times to shoot this location. Cloudy days will also work well, but these are harder to schedule.
The plan for this clear day was to take the family to play at the falls during the direct sun and warmth of early afternoon. This time provided great scouting info for me and the girls had the great time we all wanted them to have. I then brought the girls back to camp (over an hour away including the round trip hiking and logging road driving) and returned alone for the late day shoot.
I packed about 50 lbs of gear in with me, but primarily used 5 wide angle lenses on the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. I'll share more examples from this shoot, but this sample image came from the new-at-this-time Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens. I'm really liking this compact lens and its also-new sibling, the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.
This photo was basically out-of-the-camera with the exception of a custom white balance for which I clicked on the white water just below one of the brightest locations in the frame. The Standard Picture Style with a sharpness of "2" was used (I shoot "Neutral" in-camera for a better histogram). Long exposure noise reduction was used in-camera.
A clear sky was ideal for using a manual exposure setting which I adjusted slowly as the sun set. To get the ideal exposure, I allowed a very small area of the very brightest water to go pure white - blinking on the LCD during image review.
A B+W MRC Circular Polarizer Filter, by far my most frequently used effects filter, was used to cut the reflections including those on the surface of the water. The filter also reduces the light reaching the sensor which allowed a longer exposure - creating more motion-showing blur in the water.
Interesting is that the amount of water coming over the falls fluctuates with some significance. This is normal for waterfalls in general, but more visible in smaller falls such as this one. No two pictures look exactly the same even when taken in quick succession without moving the camera. When I dialed in a composition that I liked, I would take a number of shots to gain some natural variation.
By moving in close (just outside of the strongest mist), this composition emphasizes the closest/largest area of the falls with smaller falls diminishing through the frame. I composed to reduce the details intersecting frame borders including no rocks intersecting the bottom of the frame.
I could have spent days creating new compositions in this place.
28mm f/8.0 2.5s ISO 100
Riding the Palomino Quarter Horse
It is hard to go wrong with a late-day sun for your lighting. The other key to this picture is a very low shooting position and timing to get the moving and rider framed against only blue sky.
28mm f/2.8 1/2500s ISO 100
Trees Against Painted Sky
It is hard to go wrong with any photo of a brilliant sunset. But, including a silhouette adds interest to such a photo.
You may note that the pixel dimensions of this picture are larger than the native 6D image size. When you have a solid-colored (or nearly so) border, you only need to keep a sample of that color within the entire side of the frame. In this case, the bottom of the original frame was nearly solid black, but I only left a thin border of that black in the frame.
During post processing, I added size to the canvas and used Photoshop's context-aware fill to paint in that convas addition. The result is a higher resolution image with a comfortable amount of black base.
Image stabilization was relied upon for this 1/6 second exposure.
28mm f/8.0 1/6s ISO 100
Rainbow Over Field
I like to trail run - for physical fitness and/or to get to the next shot faster. The 28 f/2.8, with its tiny size and light weight, is a good choice for this activity. On this particular day, I knew that the weather was unsettled - and perhaps setting up for a great shot. I also knew that rain was in the area and likely to hit (note that rain always looks the worst from inside).
I mounted the 28 f/2.8 IS to a 5D Mark III, grabbed a 58mm Circular Polarizer filter, put all in a Lowepro Toploader Pro 65 AW (for rain protection) and took off for a run. Sure enough, about 2 miles into my run (and about 600' of elevation increase) it started to rain. And this beautiful rainbow appeared.
I quickly installed the CP filter and began looking for an interesting shot. The above image, though not amazing, was my favorite from this run. It was shot handheld at a non-remarkable 1/25 sec.
Non-remarkable until you consider the distance/elevation gain I had just run (very heavy breathing), that I was holding the Lowepro case upside down and open over the camera (for rain protection) and that I was shooting one-handed. I love IS.
28mm f/9.0 1/25s ISO 125
Horses Grazing in Pasture
A late day sun casts long shadows over the pasture and side-lights a pair of grazing horses. The dark sky, forest and pasture each consume about 1/3 of the frame.
28mm f/8.0 1/50s ISO 100
Deboullie Mountain Fire Ranger House
The Deboullie Mountain fire ranger house was in need of some restortion at this time. To keep the door square in the frame, a level camera is required. Any roll or tilt will deliver lines converging with the edge of the frame.
28mm f/8.0 1/40s ISO 100
Rock Leading to Rocky Brook Falls
Rock lines lead the eye to Rocky Brook Falls in this composition. About 50% of the border of this image is rock with lines that point toward the falls.
28mm f/11.0 4s ISO 100
Clouds are Beautiful
Clouds are one of the most beautiful features of this planet. They offer endless compositions and are never the same.
28mm f/8.0 1/30s ISO 100
The early morning sun casts long shadows through the fog. A hickory tree serves as a frame for the image.
28mm f/11.0 1/200s ISO 100