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Solstice lighting on the "too blue to be true" river. K3 III + DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8
Lens: DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8 ED Camera: Pentax K3 III Photo Location: Quebec, CANADA ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/500s Aperture: F8 
Posted By: RICHARD L., 06-26-2022, 05:04 AM

With the sun at its highest in the sky, I set out to take pictures of the "too blue to be true" Batiscan River in Quebec. On tripod, I used the DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8 ED WR + Pentax K3 III, all pictures posted taken @ f/8, which proved to be the zoom's optimum aperture for distant subjects. I present images at 200 mm, 100 mm and 70 mm focal lengths.

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06-26-2022, 07:10 AM   #2
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I actually like the widest view. It provides for more beautiful scenery. I would not know if it is "too blue".
06-26-2022, 07:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by MikeNArk Quote
I actually like the widest view. It provides for more beautiful scenery. I would not know if it is "too blue".
This scene is my "benchmark" by which I test all my cameras and lenses. I was criticized multiple times because some folks found the blue color of the river to be unrealistic. Well, all my digital cameras (K20, K5, K3, K1, 645Z and now my K3 III) give the same intense "blue". The same with all the 20 lenses I tried there (FA 20-35 mm f/4, FA 28 mm f/2.8, FA 50 mm f/1.4, DA 12-24 mm f/4, HD DA 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6, DA 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6, HD DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8, DFA 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6, DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8, P645 FA 33-55 mm f/4.5, P645 45-85 mm f/4.5, P645 FA 55-110 mm f/5.6, P645 FA 150-300 mm f/5.6, P645 DFA 55 mm f/2.8, P645 FA* 300 mm f/4, P67 45 mm f/4, P67 75 mm f/2.8, P67 105 mm f/2.4, P67 165 mm f/2.8, P67 200 mm f/4). It seems the river is really this dark blue color. The watershed is totally pristine with no municipalities, industries or agriculture rejecting any pollutants into the water.

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06-26-2022, 11:35 AM   #4
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I'm with Mike - I like the widest view too. It's such a beautiful location

QuoteOriginally posted by RICHARD L. Quote
I set out to take pictures of the "too blue to be true" Batiscan River in Quebec
QuoteOriginally posted by RICHARD L. Quote
I was criticized multiple times because some folks found the blue color of the river to be unrealistic. Well, all my digital cameras (K20, K5, K3, K1, 645Z and now my K3 III) give the same intense "blue". The same with all the 20 lenses I tried there (FA 20-35 mm f/4, FA 28 mm f/2.8, FA 50 mm f/1.4, DA 12-24 mm f/4, HD DA 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6, DA 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6, HD DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8, DFA 28-105 mm f/3.5-5.6, DFA* 70-200 mm f/2.8, P645 FA 33-55 mm f/4.5, P645 45-85 mm f/4.5, P645 FA 55-110 mm f/5.6, P645 FA 150-300 mm f/5.6, P645 DFA 55 mm f/2.8, P645 FA* 300 mm f/4, P67 45 mm f/4, P67 75 mm f/2.8, P67 105 mm f/2.4, P67 165 mm f/2.8, P67 200 mm f/4).
QuoteOriginally posted by RICHARD L. Quote
It seems the river is really this dark blue color.
I have a theory on the "too blue to be true" blues, Richard, and the reason you've had so many comments previously (including from me):

Looking at the water, the foliage and knowing what I know of your shooting preferences, I believe (1) this was shot using the Vibrant custom image profile or something similar (because all the colours have increased saturation, but especially the greens - and that's one of the things the Vibrant profile affects); (2) it was a largely cloudless day (because the blue in the water is primarily due to reflection of the sky); and (3) you were using a strong polarizer or gradient ND filter (making the sky much darker than it really is, which - coupled with the Vibrant image profile - results in a really dark, saturated blue that's seen reflected in the water).

There's a lovely photo of yours from the same location, but a slightly different vantage point, here:

Batiscan River from my Archives. - PentaxForums.com

We can tell from the sky this was a cloudier day. The blue sky also looks quite natural. Looking at the river - in the distance, away from the shadows - the blue in the water is visible, but it isn't strong. The trees have rich green and yellow (and red) in them, but not over-saturated. I suspect this was taken in Fall, or close to it? I wonder if your camera settings were different on this outing? Anyway, I wanted to point out this photo as it's one of your own, and has a much more natural, realistic and believable palette to it - perhaps just a little more pop than reality, but only a little, and entirely appropriate. It looks great to me.

I'm not going to comment going forward, Richard - at least, not unless you request it - because I don't want you to think I'm being unduly critical!! I'm not trying to pick holes in your photos - as I've said before, I really enjoy your compositions. My feedback is intended constructively, as I hope is apparent.

Hope this helps


Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-26-2022 at 12:03 PM.
06-26-2022, 01:39 PM   #5
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Hello Mike,

I totally appreciate your very constructive feedback. With my color vision "skewed" towards blue and yellow, your comments on the appropriateness of the color palette I use are always welcome.

I was using the "VIBRANT" color palette offered by my new Pentax K3 III camera. "Vibrant" and 'Landscape" produce very similar effects, saturating the colors somewhat. I am a contrast freak, as it increases the "impression of sharpness" a lot. When my images were criticized, I always replied the blue of the water was created by the reflection of the blue sky on the water surface and more than one viewer told me that was "nonsense". I am certain the surface of the water acquires this intense hue because the sky is very blue in the middle of the day. The images were taken around 13h30 EDT when the banks of the river become lit completely and get out of the shade. I never use Neutral Density filters and no CPL was used in these pictures. I use CPL's parcimoniously and only with Wide-Angle lenses, never with Telephotos. The use of a CPL over a water body creates a "fake and strange" appearance of the water surface as we can see through the surface. With rapidly flowing water like in this case (we had almost of full week of intense rains and the flow stage was very high), I don't know if a CPL could penetrate the surface.

The older picture was taken in October and earlier than ideal, i.e. the right half of the image was in the shade and the light meter tried to open up the shadows and gave a longer exposure with a 28 mm lens. The image was posted "as is" and was not post-processed as I was just beginning to "try improving" the rendering coming from the camera. My new K3 III renders quite differently from my former K3 and the series of images with the DFA* 70-200 mm were just sharpened a tad and "color" and "contrast" were not touched. I think I will revert to the "NATURAL" or "LANDSCAPE" palettes as the camera over-saturates a little in "VIBRANT". I tried a series of images with the different palettes with my 645Z + FA 45-85 mm f/4.5 zoom and I really liked the "LANDSCAPE" output.

So, don't feel like you are maligning my photographs, constructive comments from you are always welcome.

Please receive my Best Regards
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