Reflections on a year in 365 photographs


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Last year's cattail stands strong against the onslaught of spring.


We had taken a walk past this pond with last year’s cattails still standing earlier in the day and I got some decent shots with my cool new/old Canon  80-200mm f/2.8 L lens.  With that lens, the rows of cattails could be compressed into a decent frame.  But I just wasn’t satisfied that the photographs would be what I wanted to show for today.

So I awoke from a nap today with this image in my mind.  I quickly changed out lenses back to my little nifty-fifty 50mm f/1.8 and headed back down the road to the little pond.  I shot with the cattail directly backlit by the late-afternoon sun.  Still, I wasn’t satisfied that I had what I wanted to produce this image.  The cattail was totally dark silhouetted against the sky with no detail except in the wispy remnants.  So I grabbed the 580EX II flash, put it on the hotshoe, dialed up ETTL and high-speed sync so that I could keep the 1/8000 shutter speed, and fired away with about -2EV exposure compensation and +1EV flash compensation.  Perfect exposure for what had in mind.

In post processing, I used black and white (neutral density filter), curves, and brightness/contrast adjustment layers in Photoshop.  I used high-pass filter and unsharp mask sharpening on the master image before cropping to 8×10 format.  Once cropped I changed to grayscale 8-bit mode so that I could apply a tritone to the image.  The image I had in mind had blue and gold in the tritone so that is what you see here.  After toning I sized for the web and saved.

So here is my photograph of last year’s cattail standing tall against the onslaught of spring here in the lowcountry.

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Written by Brian Fancher

April 1, 2010 at 3:47 pm

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