Rural landscape under the clouds on Bellecombe plateau
Despite of the cloudy sky, that's a summer image from august. It was done during one of my first explorations on Bellecombe plateau and perfectly illustrates the atmosphere in which people often live here.
That's another scheduled post because i'm not at work this week. No office work, no blogging and a very few photography. I hope to retrieve a better posting rate here during next week.
As you can devine, this image is from the same serie that the previous one of my Weekly commented photos. It was done a little later and i was still around the Chalet du Sac on Grand Crêt d'Eau mountain.
Usually, chalets are built with wood logs but the word also designates these little houses used by sheperds spending summer with their flocks in the mountains. This one is not still used by sheperds but i've read that anyone hiking there can stop here and spend the night in a safe place. That's not difficult to devine that i will probably try that in a short time, just to be sure not to miss the first lights of the day.
I'm still working on the serie about The rural landscapes around my home. This image was done about one month ago. I was making photos of some rural fields in the light of the end of afternoon when i noticed these beautiful clouds formation over the mountains in the far background.
Scenes with such a dynamic range are not easy to capture :
You can use some GND filters to balance highlights in the sky and foreground shadows
You can make several shots of the scene with different exposures and then blend them digitally (using HDR method or not)
The day was a little wendy and i felt a little too lazy for multiple exposures. So i mounted a 1.2 soft GND filter in front of my lens and could capture a raw file where highlights and shadows were both respected.
No information was lost but the raw file was difficult to process to obtain a nice photo. After many tries with curves tweaks, manual masking, etc i developped my raw files with three different exposure ajustments. Then i used Picturenaut to produce and tonemap an hdr file. The result was then saved as a 48 bits TIFF file that just needed some minor adjustments do give the photo you can see here.
I like to name things by their real names and for me such a worflow is not HDR Photography. There is no magic and whatever the algorithm you choose to process a single file, it can't give you more information that what is included into this single file. If i would have shot the scene without the GND filter i would have exposed it to protect the sky for clipping and then the foreground would have been really underexposed. Then using any method to retrive informations in the shadows would have revealed more noise than image details.
It was a long week without blogging. I spent days and days driving in regions between the Alps where we live and Provence. The few time i had at home was for some office work. The weather was not really nice anywhere but i could at least make some garden images for one client but could'nt find some time to make photos for myself.
I arrived at home this night after a 1000 km long drive and spent an important part of the morning to solve a routing problem between my linux boxes.
After that i started to think about the image i could show and comment here today.
There were 2 or 3 nice ones in my most recent archives but i keep them for the days to come. Diving a little deeper in the old files, i found this one from november.
This field is just under my house and i often consider it as my own garden. It's a nice place very well exposed and i think i will be a perfect one for some spring naps.
In the last week of november i was making some work on our new but old house. The weather was sometimes cloudy, sometimes sunny and the wind really fresh, announcing the huge snow falls we had the weeks after.
In the end of afternoon, the light was more and more nice and i was more and more tired of carrying stones and concrete ...
I washed my hands, changed my clothes, took my usual photo gear and went to that field.
OK, the light was nice but what to do in this empty field with electric lines and houses in the background.
After a few minutes of intense thinking i decided that the light and wind would be perfect for a long exposure game with the clouds.
I found this old dead tree to have a nice silhouette and composed the image around him. Beeing without leaves was a good point for the long exposure.
Here comes the technical words, if you're not interested you can skip :)
The image was done with wide angle zoom (Sigma 10-20) at about 12 mm.
I used 2 filters :
A 0.9 soft GND to balance sky and ground.
A Hoya ND 400 for the long exposure in day light (a little more than 90 seconds).
Last words : The tree is now really dead, he was torn by the wind last week.
Post last words : This post is also a contribution to the Skywatch Friday meme.
I spent a few days in the Alpes de Hautes Provence region about one week ago. On sunday i was driving back home across a very rural countryside and decided to stop on a little path to catch some of these cereal fields under the storm light.
I also stopped a few kilometers after this place when i saw some realy old barns. I'll probably post one or two images here next week.
Dawn on the forest of the Massif des Maures - Provence
The caption gives the location, what could i add more ?
I just really love this image,i don't know why. Perharps it's because of the moments i lived there. Alone in the wind, breathing the forest and waiting that the clouds and rising sun give their most beautiful show.
When i processed the image of my previous post i wanted it to look natural. The result was what i wanted but after a few days i found it really too flat for my eyes. So i processed the 48 bits tif file in Photomatix to add a little of tonemapping. You can see the result just above. I prefer it to the previous image.
Just under, you can find a real HDR version of the same scene, also done with Photomatix but from 3 exposures.
The Mont-Aiguille is a beautiful and historical mountain because it's reputated to be the first mountain that men climbed with no other goal than going to the top. So it would be the birth place of alpinism. When i was 12, i made a walk around this mountain and took many images that hanged a long time in my bedroom. As our road to Jura passed just near, i decided to make a night stop just under the mountain to make some photos at dawn. We arrived in the evening and found a perfect place for the van, the weather was beautiful and i could expect some beautiful pink hues at dawn. But Alps are not Provence, at 3 am, we were awakend by an impressive thunder storm with a huge rain. One hour later we decided to leave and drive to a more peaceful place. A few hundreds km later, we were just near the Lac du Bourget and the rain has stopped. We had a short stop here and i took this photo during our breakfast time.
An other one with the Hoya ND 400 filter giving a 90 seconds exposure in this early and cloudy morning.
Some days ago i received an email from a reader of my french website asking how to determine the exposure time in this kind of images.
On most DSLRs the exposure metering stops at 30s. What to do when you need more ? First, if you're not familiar with long exposures you can try the scientific method :) Increase the lens aperture (decrease the number) and/or the ISO speed until you reach some values where your camera can meter. Then return to your real settings and try a little extrapolation. If your camera says 25s at f14 and ISO 400 you can try a 100s exposure at f14 and ISO 100, but it's an approximative value. With digital and when the light is stable you can first try your scientificaly computed settings, look at the histogram and adjust. But at dusk time for example the light can decrease rapidly. If you try a 90 seconds exposure, look at the histogram and find it too much on the left you will want to try 120 seconds but it will probably be too late and increasing the exposure length will just increase the digital noise in your files ...
So my real advice would be : try, practice, learn to know the light until you become good at guessing the right settings without iterating tries.
I was not totally happy with the previous version of this image. I can't really explain why in english but i would say that today i find it a little too much. So i reprocessed my 3 exposures in Photomatix and finished with this one.