Minnesota Sunset

Minnesota Sunset

I spent the evening watching the sunset from Mounds Park in St. Paul, Minnesota. The flowers in the foreground seemed to compliment the color of the sunset nicely I thought. To create this image I used several different Neutral Density Filters to help balance out the sky and foreground. I used a 100mm Formatt-Hitech filter holder, 2 stop reverse grad ND and 2 stop soft edge grad ND. ISO 200 – f/11 – 15 sec – 21mm – Tripod – Single Exposure Canon EOS 5D MkII Camera Body and Canon EF 17-40 f/4L Lens with Formatt Hitech Filters Photographed in St. Paul, Minnesota on 8-7-2014 at 8:30...
Vermillion Falls

Vermillion Falls

The upper portion of Vermillion Falls in Hastings, Minnesota. Taking long exposure photographs with a very dark Neutral Density filter (6 or 10 stop) can create some issues because it messes with the exposure metering system in your camera. It becomes easier for light to enter the camera through the viewfinder than through the lens. Sometimes I use an exposure calculator app on my phone where I can tell it an exposure setting without an ND filter and then calculate the proper exposure settings to account for the 6 or 10 stop ND filter. I have found that unless the viewfinder is completely covered it will dramatically impact the result of the image. I have been using a piece of black electrical tape which I place over the viewfinder after I have composed and focused. I take a test shot with no ND filter on and then use that for the baseline in my exposure calculator. I prefer to shoot with my camera in Aperture Priority mode and most of the time I can get it to work correctly with these ND filters, but only if the viewfinder is completely covered. The effect of the ND filters on the exposure calculation can actually be observed by noting the exposure reading once, while looking through the viewfinder, second by moving away from the camera leaving the view finder uncovered and third with a cover completely blocking the viewfinder. Most of the time (during daylight) you would see three different exposure readings. Only by putting a cover on the viewfinder can the proper exposure be calculated (as close as possible by...
St. Anthony Main Street

St. Anthony Main Street

St. Anthony Main Street along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis Minnesota. ISO 200 – f/8.0 – 1/30s – 40mm – Handheld- Single Exposure Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens with circular polarizer. Photographed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 7-17-2014 at 7:30...
Downtown St. Paul

Downtown St. Paul

Downtown St. Paul, Mississippi River and the Wabasha street bridge. Photographed from Harriet Island. ISO 50 – f/11.0 – 1/4s – 40mm – Tripod – Single Exposure Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens with circular polarizer and 2 stop graduated ND filter. Photographed in St Paul, Minnesota on 7-16-2014 at 2:30...
Harriet Island Clam Shell

Harriet Island Clam Shell

Several weeks ago during the flood there was a brief story on the local news about the giant clam shell floating down the river. Some people were a bit concerned, thinking this was some prehistoric creature. The shell is not real and was part of the play ground on Harriet Island in St. Paul. I was walking around at Harriet Island today and I saw the shell parked on the shore, returned to its home. ISO 100 – f/11.0 – 1/50s – 40mm – Handheld – Single Exposure Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L Lens with Circular Polarizer. Photographed in St Paul, Minnesota on 7-16-2014 at 2:30...
Clouds over Minneapolis

Clouds over Minneapolis

The clouds were providing a very ominous background to the city skyline yesterday until the sun went down and then turned into quite a spectacular display of colors. I used a 2 Stop Graduated ND filter to balance the sky and a 3 Stop ND filter and allowing me to get an exposure time of 25 seconds. The long exposure time creates the smooth texture on the water which also helps to illustrate the movement of the river. Single Exposure – ISO 50 – f/22 – 25.0s – 28mm Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 Lens. Photographed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 7-3-2014 at 8:00...
Ford Lock and Dam

Ford Lock and Dam

I stopped by the Ford Lock and Dam right after another storm moved through the area, hoping to use the dramatic clouds as the backdrop for the rushing waterfall. I noticed that the locks were both closed, I have not been to this dam recently, but I was surprised to see them both closed. The photo of the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam I posted from yesterday shows the lock open with water rushing through it. I eventually wondered to St. Anthony again tonight and noticed that the lock was closed as well. This is a good sign for anyone effected by the recent flooding because it means that the river is returning to its normal volume. 3 Shot HDR with exposure times of 0.8s, 0.2s, 3.2s – ISO 50 – f/22 – 17mm Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 17-40 f/4L Lens + 2 stop ND filter. Photographed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 7-1-2014 at 4:00...
Sunset Over St. Anthony Falls

Sunset Over St. Anthony Falls

Viewed from the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis the Sunset over St. Anthony Falls was very interesting yesterday. By using the multiple shot HDR technique I was able to capture the details of the buildings and bridge, made difficult by the setting sun behind them. Also the details of the clouds and the bright sun were all preserved to create this dramatic view of the waterfall at sunset. 3 Shot HDR with exposure times of 1/200s, 1/800s, 1/50s – ISO 400 – f/16 – 40mm Canon EOS 5D MkII Body and Canon EF 17-40 f/4L Lens. Photographed in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 6-27-2014 at 7:30...
Third Avenue Bridge Sunset

Third Avenue Bridge Sunset

Looking towards Minneapolis and the Third Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River at sunset. I started shooting long exposures of some of these scenes and I really liked the effect which it created on the water by smoothing out the waves and making the reflections very bright. It occurred to me that If i was to use Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) to make one image as normal, one image -2 EV to expose for the clouds and bright sky and one image at +2 EV to expose for the details of the buildings that they could all be merged together to create one image impossible to capture with normal methods. The name for this technique is called HDR or High Dynamic Range because it creates a much larger range of brighness than normal range between the dark shadows and bright sunlight. The +2 stops over exposed version has little detail in the sky but because it was a 6.0 second shot it has the beautifully smooth water reflecting the sunset. The -2 stops under exposed version has excellent detail in the sky and clouds but the bridge and buildings look like a silhouette they are so dark. Most DSLR cameras have an AEB feature (it could have a different name) which when switched on will make your camera shoot in groups of usually 3 photos (sometimes 5 or 7) but i think three is plenty. By using a tripod and shooting groups of three photos in rapid succession I was able to capture the exact same scene exposing once for the sky, once for the shadows and once for...