CharlesWSmithFineArt Premium

Heavens Mirror II

There is really something special about this place. The way the river winds, lazily through the wooded banks on its way to the East, where it will, eventually j...
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There is really something special about this place. The way the river winds, lazily through the wooded banks on its way to the East, where it will, eventually join the Leon, to form the Little River. The variety of lush, green plants growing along the water’s edge. The fish that, randomly break the water’s surface, as they feed on minnows and insects. The many species of birds that glide, effortlessly along the river, inches above the water’s surface. The colorful trees growing along the river banks, that seem to explode with shades of red, orange and yellow in late fall. The way the calm surface of the water reflects the sunlit clouds in the early morning. The stillness of the air and the laughter of children making new discoveries along the hiking trail above. Yes, this is a magical place and it seems as though Heaven has created a mirror along this unassuming section of the Lampasas River, to reflect the beauty of nature back to the eyes of those who will look for it.
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3 Comments | Report
sallyG11 November 11, 2020
Beautiful scenery!
CharlesWSmithFineArt Premium
CharlesWSmithFineArt November 13, 2020
Thanks very much!
hildamurray November 20, 2020
Lovely reflections,Amazing capture
CharlesWSmithFineArt Premium
CharlesWSmithFineArt November 20, 2020
Thanks very much, Hilda!

Behind The Lens

This photo was taken along the Lampasas River, in Chalk Ridge Falls Park, just below the Stillhouse Hollow Dam, in Belton, Texas.
Early morning, about an hour or so after sunrise.
It was a beautiful morning, with low, fluffy clouds, so the lighting temperature was just a bit on the cool side. I waited for the sun to come through a thinner layer of clouds to take the shot. This warmed the exposure up just a little.
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III Lens: Canon EF 17-40 f/4 L Exposure: f/11 1/60 17 mm ISO 200 Tripod: 3 Legged Thing
Chalk Ridge Falls is a small, lesser known park in Central Texas, but it has a lot of great photo opportunities, you just have to look for them. I took several shots of this scene and this is definitely my favorite. What caught my eye was the softness of the thick morning clouds and the reflection on the smooth surface of the river. I just needed a little foreground interest, so I lowered my tripod to get the grass in the frame. I really wanted to capture the peacefulness and tranquility of the morning and I think this photo expresses it pretty well.
Since this was a single exposure, instead of a series of bracketed shots, I had to adjust the exposure in the sky a bit. Once I got that where I wanted it, I softened the image up a little and tweaked the contrast in the foreground, but that’s about it. It was a pretty easy photo to process.
In my camera bag
My bag always has my trusty 5D Mark III and my 17-40 lens, but I also carry a 50mm, 70-200mm, and a 100mm Macro lens. I just bought a variable ND filter, but haven’t had a chance to use it yet.
When taking photos that have a large difference in brightness between the sky and the rest of your image, set the exposure to where the sky is just below the level of blowing out the highlights (a few little spots are ok). ALWAYS protect the highlights. You can usually bring back a lot of detail in the underexposed areas, but blown out highlights are unrecoverable. I cut this one pretty close. The sky was a bit overexposed and the foreground and middle ground was a bit underexposed, which is what I wanted. I was able to recover the details in both. If I had exposed just for the sky, I probably would not have been able to bring back the foreground and vice-versa, if I had exposed for the foreground and middle ground, the sky would have been lost.

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