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Reflections in a Mt Sunday rain puddle



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RitvaSillanmaki PRO+
 
RitvaSillanmaki December 20, 2019
Beautiful reflections an place

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Behind The Lens

Location
This was taken on a trip to Erewhon (nowhere spelt backwards) a high country sheep/horse station in the foothills of the Southern Alps in New Zealand's south Island, about an hours drive inland from Ashburton. This image was taken at Mount Sunday which was one of the filming locations for the Lord of the Rings movie shot by Peter Jackson in New Zealand
Time
A friend and I from (our camera club trip) had been out since about 4am taking astro shots at the Ashburton lakes (Lake Camp in particular) capturing amazing Milky way shots with beautiful star reflections in the still Lakes. On our way back to the station, we missed dawn (although we returned the next morning to get stunning pink/red flooded sky, truly amazing) and when we got to Mount Sunday, we parked up and did a bit of exploring.
Lighting
The light was just glorious, we'd missed the red skys of sunrise but there was beautiful soft blues and purples still in the sky. The time was 8am and sun had been up fro about an hour.
Equipment
A solid tripod (although there wasn't a breath of wind), My canon 5D mark 3, and a canon EF 24-70 lens set on 24mm, no remote, just a 2 sec delay, no need for any filters at that time in the morning
Inspiration
It was impossible not to be inspired in that location, for MILES around there are stunning mountains, glacial valleys, multiple lakes. It was stunning even though it was summer and the huge river beds had almost no water in them and there was only snow on the very highest peaks. I am desperate to return in winter The light and the mountains on both sides of the glacial valley converging in the distance simply had to be photographed. I love photographing water, most of the time using long exposure techniques and as I said it was summer , very dry and almost no water around and I love looking for reflections What sparked my imagination on that morning was a puddle (probably about 2m wide and 7m long and a couple of inches deep) on the walking path, not sure where it came from, we hadn't had rain for weeks, probably moisture dribbling down the steep mountains So I lowered my tripod till it was flat on the ground , so the lens was about 4 inches above ground level and an inch away from the puddle, this exaggerated the size of the puddle and captured some reflections of the mountains and created a nice foreground for the stunning background
Editing
I shot in RAW so I carried out all the usual minor adjustments (eg highlights, shadows, whites, blacks etc) and applied a bit of sharpening. I am a huge fan of Aurora HDR Pro-3 which I find can make some stunning improvements to images as long as you use it sparingly. So even though this was a single image, not part of a bracket, I put it though Auroroa, I honestly cant remember which preset I used and backed of the strength significantly and was happy with the outcome you see.
In my camera bag
I always have my go to Canon 5D mark 3 along with my EF 24-70 lens. I also always also have my canon EF 85mm len. I have a LEE filter holder and a series of graduated ND filters as well as some screw in full ND filters for my very long exposures. Depending on where I'm going I may have my 50D and its EFS zooms in case I need to do long shots, or my Canon L series 100-400 plus extender If Im astro shooting I leave the 50 D at home and use the 5D along with a couple of Samyang lenses (14mm f 2.8 for single landscape shots or my 24mm f1.4 for stitching panoramas together. I have just bought a new Sony A7R mark 2 , primarily for astro shooting and a lighter travel camera for our regular overseas holidays....excited
Feedback
Practice, practice and more practice. Be patient, the elements often conspire against us and that's just the way it is. Try taking less shots and spend more time on each rather than firing off lots of shots and hoping there will be some good ones amongst them. I used to be a bit like a bull at a gate, now I try and slow things down, think about what I'm trying to do/achieve and I think my photography has improved because of that

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