After taking the foggy morning pictures at Canyon Lake, I decided to return for sunset. It wasn’t shaping up to be a fantastic sunset, but it was something to do.
Finding shorelines around the lake that I could easily access was a bigger problem than I had foreseen. Many of the parks were closed, which I found surprising as I expected people to be there for spring break. This particular shore line is part of a park that was closed with the road gated off, but I found that there is a hiking trail that goes through it. So I parked at the trailhead and hiked through the woods until I got to the park and then went down to the lake shore.
By the time I got there the sun was beginning to sink to the horizon, so I took a few handheld shots with a 70-200mm lens. I was probably shooting below the advisable shutter speed for handholding these focal lengths but I got a few that weren’t too blurry. Below is my favorite. It was shot at 105mm focal length with a 1/50s shutter speed.
The sun was setting farther to the left of frame than I thought it would. I should have gotten there about 5 minutes earlier and maybe I would have gotten the sun reflecting across the water. But what I got is not too bad and is quite colorful.
I did see that there were at least a few high clouds to grab a little color, so I set up down low at the edge of the water to take some long exposures and see if I could get the clouds reflected across the lake with the large stones in the foreground. The image below is a 30 second exposure using an ND filter. The long exposure completely smooths out the water and reflections and fortunately the clouds weren’t moving fast enough to blur very much. It is also shot at 16mm, which is quite wide, which allowed me to get very close to the foreground stones and exaggerate them a bit in the image.
It was a very calm and quiet evening and there weren’t any boats out on the water to get in my shot. The water was mostly calm to begin with and was easy to smooth out with the long exposure. There was a person quietly fishing up the shore behind me and he seemed to be having a pleasant evening as well. The final image turned out nice with the color across the sky and water.
The technical details of the my shooting process were:
- mount camera on a tripod low to the ground
- frame and level image, lock focus, and get exposure without filter using aperture priority mode (remembering to pick an exposure with a shutter speed easy to mentally multiply by 1000)
- attach the 10-stop ND filter
- switch to manual mode and multiply previous shutter speed by 1000 (for instance 1000 x 1/50 = 20)
- enable remote shutter release with 2 second delay
- release the shutter remotely and within 2 seconds hang my hat off the back of the camera, covering the viewfinder to prevent light leakage
- stand around and wait
Even with the 30 second exposure, I still ended up with a dark image as the light was quickly falling. I brought it up another 1.5 stops in Lightroom to get the final image.
Then it was a hike back up to the parking lot in near dark. The next day was cool and windy and I hiked around the bottom of the dam and took a few photos that I’ll post next time.