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Minimalist Perception

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 14 June 2022 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


Time for a touch of minimalism and a long exposure, which I have not been shooting too much in recent times. This is a little scene I found at Wellington Reservoir in Western Australia on an overcast day. The dead tree stump poking out of the water caught my attention especially and I decided to take few long exposures to create a subtle moody image. We visited this location last year when I was able to get this image. We returned this year looking for similar scenery and to explore further compositional possibilities. Alas, the water level in the reservoir was a fair amount higher than last year and it meant that most of the good stuff was hidden under the surface of the water.

Still, I was determined to explore the shores of the lake to see if I could find something of interest. We were able to find this one spot where we spotted a couple of tree stumps breaching the surface. The moment I saw this one, I had a very clear minimalist vision in my mind and set up my camera for long exposure photography. I took a number of vertical and landscape oriented frames to see what could work best for my vision. I did like this simple composition the most with the stump acting as the main anchor in the foreground and the clouds framing the view nicely at the top.

Another decision I had to make is whether to use a polarising filter or not to reveal the detail in the water around the stump. I liked the effect that the polariser was having and I will think about processing a colour version of this image. However, my initial vision was for a moody, minimalist long exposure and I found that less distracting details in the water worked better in this instance. I turned the polarising filter to minimum effect, which allowed the shine off the water to come through and created a smooth glossy surface to surround the dead tree. Long exposure smoothed out the surface even further and this was the effect which I was looking for.

I probably would have liked to be able to take exposures longer that 30 seconds to give clouds an even more ethereal appearance but there were wind and drizzle passing about and I found that going longer resulted in too many rain drops being blown onto the filter. That would have difficult to deal with in post processing. The odd one of two can be addressed easily. When you have ten, twenty or more, you end up trying to recreate a lot of textures to be able to remove them. The water did not pose too many issues but any drops that affected the stump and the clouds were a bit more problematic. I tried shielding the camera and the filter from the wind but still that did not alleviate the issue completely.

In post processing, I balanced the shadows and highlights and reduced clarity around the tree stump to minimise any remaining distractions. I also worked a little on the clouds to emphasise their texture and dimension. I do like to add a little bit of an Orton (or soft focus/glow) effect to my photos these days. I find that it reduces the harshness of textures and detail and it fits well with the mood and vision for the scenes which I like to photograph. I hope that you like the final result. I was certainly glad to be able to take this photo, especially since the original plans did not quite eventuate and we had to come up alternative options.

Canon EOS R5 30 seconds F/16.0 ISO 50 31 mm

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This image has been featured in 2 Remix collections.

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