The Story of "Clouded Waters"

By PF Staff in Favorite Photos on Jan 9, 2013

The Story

My wife and I had just survived one of those "one bad thing after another" periods and badly needed a break. So we broke the piggy bank and headed for Mohonk Mountain House, the only place we know of within driving distance that can take you totally out of your life. We brought our cameras because the grounds and structures present untold photo opportunities.

Three influences led to this photo:

1. I've always loved clouds as a subject, and usually find some feature (or the entire spread) worth grabbing.

Clouds and Sun
Cloud Panorama

2. Ever since we started frequenting a salt marsh near our home, I've been fascinated with the opportunities presented by reflections on water - light glints, perfect mirrors, ripple distortions, etc. (click image to enlarge).

Mohonk Overlook

3. And, like everyone else, I like pictures with boats (click image to enlarge).

Glide at Dawn

So when I took a cup of coffee out onto our balcony and saw the still water, the clouds, and the boats, I couldn't resist.

Equipment and Settings

  • Pentax K100D (Hand held)
  • Pentax DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED
  • Shooting Mode Program
  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • Shutter: 1/200 sec
  • ISO 200
  • Spot Autofocus Mode
  • Spot Metering Mode
  • 73mm Focal Length
  • Auto White Balance
  • No Flash
  • +0.3ev exposure compensation
  • File Format JPG
  • No Post-Processing, except to resize using FSViewer from 3008x2000 pixels to 1024x681 pixels.

The Shot, and After

I decided that the reflection of the clouds should be the primary feature. Some experimenting with framing (I love zoom lenses) showed that the most pleasing arrangement put the boats and dock at the upper margin. This still left a fringe of tree branches along the bottom margin for balance. I cranked in +0.3ev exposure compensation to allow for the early morning light (or lack thereof), and fired away. And I got lucky ... although I can't account for whatever snuck in at the lower left corner. At least I know its not my finger.

I have tested various forms of post-processing in GIMP, and haven't found any that bring this picture closer to the original image as I saw it (click image to enlarge).

Clouded Waters

This is one of my favorite shots because it combines several of my favorite topics; and because I almost lost it. While storing and reviewing the day's shots, the laptop screen flickered and suddenly the storage drive was blank. I was more than mildly dismayed. Frantic work with recovery software saved about two-thirds of the day's production, including this one. Needless to say, I now practice "one and a backup" all the time.

- Vramin74

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