Get Your Feet Wet

To get the best angle and perspective for your shot, sometimes you need to put yourself into some pretty inconvenient spot.

On a gorgeous weekend morning of May, I was shooting one of the endless creeks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I found this location with beautiful lush green trees and a sweeping open view of the creek itself.  I walked along the bank and tried many different frames, but I was not completely satisfied with what I got.  I realized that  I really need to get into the middle of the creek and shot from a low angle there.

Problems were, the water was running rapidly, and the rocks were slippery.  The creek was not very deep, so a mistake probably won’t cost one’s life.  Still, not photo is worth a broken arm or a leg, in my opinion.  Moreover, we nature and landscape photographers often trek along in the wild, so we need to be especially careful.

Luckily, I was prepared to deal with this situation. I removed my hiking boots and put on a pair of sandals. I then put a pair of my trusted STABILicers ice cleats on the sandals, which provide excellent non-slip traction to keep me from falling on these moss-covered slippery rocks.  I then carefully walked into the keen-deep water.  Boy, the water was so cold that I felt chilled to the bone.  I found a few rocks to securely place my tripod feet, and made a few exposures.  I tried a few different shutter speeds, with and without an ND filter, and I found that for this this particular composition, the 30-second long exposure version taken with a 4-stop ND filter is far more attractive than the one with shorter shutter speeds.

Canon 5D Mark II ,  Canon 16-35 II L,  Cokin Z164 CPL, Lee 4-stop ND,  16mm,  F11,  30 sec.

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