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.