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Steve Foss

A day of grouse, flowing water and mushrooms. Oh yeah, light too . . .

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Hey all:

Headed up the Echo Trail this afternoon. Tried to entice Ken, but he had a wedding to shoot. Where are his priorities, I ask you? gringrin

A whole gamut of lenses and conditions and subjects. Hope you enjoy.

Young male spruce grouse

Canon 20D, Canon 400 f5.6L, iso1600, 1/125 af f5.6, handheld


Mushroom and moss

Canon 30D, Canon 135 f2.8 softfocus, Kenko extension tubes, iso320, 1/125 at f2.8, handheld, diffuser disc


A trio (each mushroom smaller than my pinkie fingernail)

30D, Canon 100 f2.8 macro, iso100, 10 sec at f29, tripod, remote shutter release, mirror lock-up, diffuser


From underneath

30D, 100 macro, iso100, .5 sec at f11, remote release, MLU


All the colors

30D, Canon 70-200 f2.8L at 145mm, iso400, 1/160 at f8, circular polarizer, tripod, two images stitched into this pano


Water, rocks and motion I

20D, 70-200 at 100mm, iso100, 5 sec at f32, tripod, remote release, MLU, circular polarizer


Water, rocks and motion II

20D, 70-200 at 110mm, iso100, 2.5 sec at f32, tripod, remote release, MLU, CPL

One note: This and the previous image are different compositions of the same cascade. You'll see differences in color between them. This second image has the more accurate color.


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Thought about you all day while I was inside taking pictures! Glad to see you found a place to use the polarizer. I think the grouse is outstanding and also like the first cotton water shot.

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Thanks Ken. Hope the wedding went well. I think the Mrs. and I will be heading out the Echo again this afternoon.

I ended up spending a couple hours passing stories with the C.O. who moved over to this area a couple years back. He was really big into nature photography quite a few years ago and would like to get back into it. It was so late (full dark) when I pulled away (turns out he worked in NW Minn for several years and we knew a lot of the same cops and C.O.s from when I covered crime at the GF Herald and had lots of stories to share) I knew Mrs. Catfish would be worried.

It was a fast drive to get into cell phone range after that, and of course there was that tone in her voice when I got through. You know the one. Gotta make it up to her a little bit, you know? gringrin

I hope that darn polarizer gets here (backordered) before I have to borrow yours again. I don't know what possessed me to sell mine when I sold the 100-400. I'm sure more senior moments like that will be in store. crazy

I used the softfocus lens on that one mushroom as an experiment. Borrowed it for a weekend, but don't think I want to buy one. You can do pretty much the same thing in Photoshop these days, but it was fun to goof around with it.

If you can pull away for a day next weekend, I don't have anything booked and we can poke around the Echo or the Tomahawk. The maples are peaking right now, and the aspens/birches should be peaking next weekend. What you think?

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I'll be in touch with you later today, but could you pull away for a couple of days next weekend?

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Grouse shot is nice in that lichen!

1st 'shroom.. killer background and so easy on the eyes

2nd & 3rd 'shroom... nice comp!

pano of birch mixed w/colors is is just having a good eye!

water shots... silky like I like them!

Very nice series!

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Steve, those are really great! My favs are the first mushroom and the first water images. They are top notch as always.

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Love the grouse and Motion 1. Not that I don't like rest, but these are my faves. It's also a different perspective on the pano, one I would never have even considered. It definitely works.

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im very new to photography baught my first camera this summer but like it a lot ... how do you get the water to look like that? thats awesome.

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Thanks everybody!

Lindyrig, there's plenty of time to take up photography when you have the time. No hurry. smilesmile

chuckwagon, Ken's tips are right on. It's really pretty simple as long as you have a solid tripod and at least a circular polarizing filter. The key is a long exposure time. That's what you want, and everything described is aimed at getting those long exposures and keeping the camera steady as the shutter is open to avoid blur.

You said you were a newby, so please don't be offended if this sounds a little basic. smile

First, the lowest iso your camera can do (usually 100, but sometimes lower depending on which camera you've got). Then stop your aperture down as far as it will go (check you manual on how to adjust aperture if you're used to shooting on full auto and don't know how). Stopping down aperture means a higher f-stop number. The longer the telephoto lens used, in general, the smaller you can get your aperture. So if you can make a composition using a 200mm lens you might get an aperture of f39 instead of the f22 you'd get from most wide angle lenses. The reason for the tiny apertures is to let in less light, which requires the shutter to be open a longer time.

That's also why we put on a circular polarizing filter, and/or a neutral density filter, to let in less light and force a longer exposure. The longer the exposure, the more the movement of the water passing through the frame will look cottony. And by making sure you have some rock or tree elements in the frame, you'll make a prettier picture because the fuzzy cotton water will be contrasted by the sharp rocks/tree trunks.

You need a solid tripod and can't bump it at all during the exposure so the sharp objects don't get blurred from camera shake.

You also can use a remote shutter release to keep your finger from shaking the camera when you trip the shutter, but if you don't have one your camera's self timer will work just fine.

Most cameras allow you to lock up the mirror. This can be good because at slow shutter speeds, when the shutter is tripped the mirror slapping up out of the way causes a little bit of camera shake. Check your manual to see if your camera has this option. It's very important on exposures from, say, 1/4 second to 2 seconds, but less so on much longer exposures, because the slight tremble from the slap over the course of an 8 second exposure is very miniscule.

I use manual focus and adjust focus on the front portion of the image. With apertures that stopped down, generally the whole image is in focus if you pick a foreground element to focus on.

Then it's just a matter of experimenting and trying it out, making sure you check your histogram on the back of the camera (assuming yours is digital). If you get blinkies on your screen from blown out water highlights, you can use exposure compensation (again check owner's manual to see how to view the histogram and use EC) to underexpose until those blown out areas go away.

It's almost a must to do this on a cloudy day, or toward sunrise or sunset when the sun is off the water. On a sunny day, you generally can't get slow enough shutter speeds because of the bright light, but even if you stack enough filters to achieve the right shutter speeds, the reflection of sun off the water will produce a bunch of squiggly little hot bright lines that are very distracting.

I was able to do these fuzzy water images in late afternoon on a sunny day because the river I was photographing is down a bit in a shallow gorge, so shade creeps in pretty early. Even so, if I'd waited until the river bottom was very dark, say right before sunset, I probably could have gotten exposures of 10 seconds or longer.

So there it is. Lots of fun to be had, lots of experimentation. gringrin

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thanks for the information guys haha no offence taken here all that info is great. your pictures are very very nice i would to get to better with the camera and get some forum worthey pics to post thanks again.

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