Creativity Challenge #16 - Verticals

Vertical lines add a sense of tension to an image, probably because we perceive vertical objects such as trees, buildings and cliff faces as unstable in comparison with the calming effect of horizontal lines.

For this shoot, I wanted to find a range of locations and compositions with the common theme of vertical trees so I headed to:

Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park

This is one of my favourite 4WD tracks in the Otway Ranges - it's not a difficult driving track (except when it's really wet - which is why it's closed in winter and early spring) but it offers some wonderful views of the dirt track winding its way through the forest.

 Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 55mm, ISO 200, 5-shot HDR: 1/30 to 1/2 second @ f/11

Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
55mm, ISO 200, 5-shot HDR: 1/30 to 1/2 second @ f/11

The track runs mostly east-west, which means that there are lots of opportunities to shoot directly into the sun in the late afternoon. Shooting into the sun creates two main challenges: (1) exposure - the high contrast makes it difficult to get the full dynamic range in one shot and (2) sun flare - reduces contrast and creates coloured spots on the image.

IanSmissen_20180518_0148.jpg

There's a cool little trick that can reduce the flare. Take two images (or, in this case, two sets of bracketed images): the first is shot normally, the second, place a finger or another object close to the lens to black out the sun.

IanSmissen_20180518_0154.jpg

This removes the glare and sun spots and you can then blend the two images together using layer masks in Photoshop.

 Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 35mm, ISO 100, 5-shot HDR: 1/8 to 2 seconds @ f/22 (two shots blended to remove sun flare)

Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
35mm, ISO 100, 5-shot HDR: 1/8 to 2 seconds @ f/22 (two shots blended to remove sun flare)

Vertical format images work well with vertical subjects as they emphasise the height of the subject but, in forests, can also be useful in isolating a few trees from the wider view.

 Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 60mm, ISO 100, 5-shot HDR: 1/5 to 3 seconds @ f/16

Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
60mm, ISO 100, 5-shot HDR: 1/5 to 3 seconds @ f/16

The light can change quickly in a forest so it's always worth trying different images.

 Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 29mm, ISO 100, 7-shot HDR: 1/5 to 6 seconds @ f/16

Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
29mm, ISO 100, 7-shot HDR: 1/5 to 6 seconds @ f/16

I also envisaged another shot (in addition to the track winding through the forest): a horizontal panorama with lots of different, vertical tree trunks and found an ideal location as my last stop. I first shot a single frame and cropped it into a 16:9 format for the title shot on my YouTube video (see below)

 Tree trunks, Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 70mm, ISO 100, 1.6 seconds @ f/16

Tree trunks, Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
70mm, ISO 100, 1.6 seconds @ f/16

but also made a stitched panorama with 5 frames (each a 5-shot HDR).

 Tree trunks, Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia 70mm, ISO 100, 5 frame stitched panorama of 5-shot HDR 1/8 to 2 seconds @ f/16

Tree trunks, Big Hill Track, Great Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia
70mm, ISO 100, 5 frame stitched panorama of 5-shot HDR 1/8 to 2 seconds @ f/16

Check out the YouTube video of this shoot:

Please feel free to comment below - constructive criticism and debate are always welcome.

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♥ 10  Recovery