Silky Flow and Stone

September 07, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Silky Flow and StoneSilky Flow and StoneBig Thompson River - Rocky Mountain National Park This is the Big Thompson River in Rocky Mountain National Park during Spring runoff in May 2022. It is my first reasonably successful long exposure photo using a neutral density filter.

I think the image presents the dichotomy of smooth and silky flow through and around hard, fixed, stone boulders. Maybe it's a metaphor for life.

The exposure details were as follows:

Date: May 14, 2022 
Time: 10:30 am
Subject: Big Thompson River Rapids
Camera Angle: tilted down
Distance to Subject: 6 to 10 feet
Weather: Partly cloudy (sun behind cloud)
Speed of Water Flow: rapid
Filters: Lee 10 stop Big Stopper
Lens Type: Wide Angle
Aperture: f22
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 24mm
Exposure: 54 seconds

I had been hiking to Emerald Lake earlier in the morning and was driving home when I saw this scene beside the road. The most tricky part of getting the image was managing to set up my tripod and camera on one of these boulders in the middle of the river without falling in. To do that I had to first climb through a barricade and then step or jump from boulder to boulder in the river. In my defense, I was not the first or only person doing that on this day, although I was probably the oldest (by about 40 years). Installing the Lee Big Stopper without dropping it was also a challenge while balancing on a boulder.

One thing that attracted me to this scene was that there weren't any large logs or other significant debris in the river. It seems that there usually is.

Putting aside for a moment the questionable judgment of even trying to get in position for the shot, there were a lot of mistakes during the exposure. On the first attempt I forgot to set the camera on Manual and Bulb. Also, I used the smallest aperture of f22. Now I know that it would be preferable to use a mid range aperture such as f8. In addition, this was using a DSLR before I switched to mirrorless, and I forgot to close the viewfinder. There was a serious magenta cast in the original that looks like it might have been from a light leak. I was able to remove the magenta cast in the conversion to black and white.

Here is the original image.

20220514-02670220220514-026702 All in all, I think the image turned out well, and I'm pleased with it. Since taking this photo I've switched to Formatt-Hitech IRND filters.


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