Subtle Differences

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Low Water at Jordan Lake No. 2  © jj raia

Low Water at Jordan Lake No. 1 © jj raia

About a week ago, a friend of mine (you  know who you are) asked if I would join a few other photographers to shoot a sunset at nearby Jordan Lake. I jumped at the opportunity, even though from my windows, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the chances for any dramatic sky was pretty much near zero. It turned out the water was not mirror-like either, but there was basically nothing to reflect anyway. So what to do?

The first step is to search for an interesting foreground. With the water at very low levels, I walked along the nearby shoreline and found an interesting rock outcropping, but it was bone dry and lifeless. So what to do to attempt to elevate the impact of the composition?

Second Attempt

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On the Lake  © jj raia

On the Lake © jj raia

Although I tried to create a more painterly image a few days ago using three separate frames taken while moving the camera during the exposure, and blend them together, the result seemed to lack enough reality to be completely believable, even though it had some “fog” as I had hoped. There was no real horizon line and was a little off kilter. (You can see the post and blurred image here). So I made a few attempts at creating something from a single blurred frame from the same sequence instead of several, while still using quite a bit of artistic license in the processing, and managed to end up with something a bit more realistic, but with the added bonus of a small amount of “mist” rising from the water.

A Little of Everything

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Sunrise at Jordan Lake  © jj raia

Sunrise at Jordan Lake © jj raia

On Sunday this week, according to the app Clear Outside, there was to be about 50% middle cloud cover around sunrise, so I decided to head out to Jordan Lake and see if there might be a better sunrise than the sunset attempt on Friday. The clouds looked interesting, and I had hoped that there would be some mist hanging low over the water with the cool temperatures, but unfortunately none was there. Luckily, the wind was absolutely calm, so the water mirrored the sky leaving no problems to overcome. Since the water level was pretty low from a recent extended dry spell, a few rocks were revealed and made for an easy foreground, leaving me with not much to do but plop down the tripod and trip the shutter. I did the usual image of the lake (above) with a split ND filter on the sky to better balance the tonal values, and I suppose it turned out OK. But after the sun was up and the sunrise color was gone, I wanted to try some ICM (Intentional Camera Movement) and see what I could come up with.