a lesson learned the hard way

back in november of 2020, i made my way to glen park in wisconsin where there was a waterfall. the only problem? i couldn't find the waterfall initially. after sending a text to a friend who told me about this park and looking it up on google, i finally figured out where it was. after i spent some time making images, i returned home and checked out them out on my computer. i was dissatisfied. my shutter speed was a bit too slow for my liking as i wanted to capture the feeling of motion in the water without it being too "creamy milky". at the site, it seemed pretty good previewing them on my camera but when observed at full size, i was disappointed. they weren't bad; just not what i was visualizing.


a week later, i was back. this time i made sure i was satisfied with the shutter speed by taking a few "sketches" as david duchemin, a photographer i follow, calls them. a sketch in photography is simply making images and then perusing them, making more images and then, again, perusing them. this is done until you get the visual composition and feel you are looking for. at this point, i was ready to make the image i had in my mind.


this was a lengthy image to make. it required focus stacking (making the same images with different focal points so as to get the whole image in focus when putting them together in post-processing) and panning to get the whole scene. after each set of images were made (eight for this particular image, each with a different focal point), i would pan to the right, being careful to allow overlapping and then doing the whole process again. i overlapped six times in the panning process. sixty-four images were made all total for this image.


here's where the lesson learned the hard way comes into play. being that i was in pretty decent flowing water, i was trying to work quickly as my lens and camera body were constantly getting splashed on. i'd make some images, wipe down my lens, make some more images and so on. because i was focus stacking, i wasn't too concerned about checking the focus of all the images. when i got home, uploaded my images onto my computer and looked at them, more than half of my images were completely out of focus! not even the focal point that should have been sharp was in focus. what had happened?


the quickly flowing water made my tripod shake off and on. it wasn't a focus issue but a stable tripod issue. i was bummed...majorly bummed. long story short, the lesson learned is make sure that the tripod is fully stable in any situation. weigh it down if necessary. the even worse news? i made several compositions on both sides of the falls. over 200 images and less than half were sharp images.


the good news....even with less than half of the sixty-four images to work with for this composition, i had enough for a pretty sharp image throughout. i tend to make more images when focus stacking just to be safe. another lesson? make more images than you think you need. you just never know!


i hope you enjoyed this blog! please feel free to leave any comments or questions regarding the blog and image if any come to mind. i love to read them and i always respond to them.


this image is available for purchase. it'd be a great addition to your home/business or as a gift for that special someone. check it out at my online store or shoot me a message. i'll be more than happy to help you through the ordering process.


please share this blog with others that you think would enjoy reading it and i'll see you next time with more "images from a quiet world"!




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