Tag Archives: Winter

Stow Stream Scenic

A tiny stream that feeds the Assabet River in Stow — probably 100 yards from busy Route 62.  Sometimes color adds to a scene and some call out for no color — and as I was working through this image the color just kept getting in the way.

Technical: Canon 1D Mark II, 24-70mm f/2.8L at 70mm, 5 seconds, f/16, ISO 100.  (Probably a polarizer.)
Lightroom 3: lens profile correction, WB to 9960, Exposure +1/2 stop, fill 60, blacks 19, brightness +65, clarity +25, highlights -45, sharpening 40/0.8/39/14; burned the snow in the lower-right 1/3 stop.


A couple of years ago we took a trip down a part of the Kangamangus Highway in New Hampshire looking for interesting winter scenes.  While we don’t have the terrain of that countryside here in Massachusetts we pretty much have the same snowfall this year — and we’re about to get hammered again.    We have icicles though, but they tend to be hanging off of houses rather than gorges.  I recalled this scene while driving by those houses.

These are fairly impressionistic images, more heavily processed in Lightroom than I normally do – but I wanted to bring out the cold feeling of the blue in the ice and waterfall pool.

Technical: Canon 1D Mark 2, 24-70mm f/2.8L at 32mm, 1/50 at f/8, ISO 200.
Lightroom 3: Lens profile correction (flattens it out nicely), fill 40, blacks 19, clarity +100 (yes, over the top), vibrance +20, aqua and blue saturation +100.  (Reference the “before” image below.)

February 2010 Wallpaper

Assabet River Ice - February 2010 Wallpaper

Here is the February 2010 wallpaper for your favorite computer display. I thought I’d celebrate Valentine’s Day with a splash of red (ok, pink!

This month’s image comes from a spot just mile or so upriver of our home, an abstract of ice and water on the Assabet River in Stow, Massachusetts.

This is an image that will likely be part of an exhibit I’m assembling for later this year exploring the places “in between” – in this case between water and ice.

You can download this image for several popular display sizes:

Download the 1024×768 version here.

Download the 1280×1024 version here.

Download the 1680×1050 version here.

First cut of a nature video short


With the start of this new year I will be adding video to my web site’s portfolio galleries. This is the first cut of a planned portfolio video and I thought it would be fun to share this early draft with folks. 

The basic edits and transitions are done.  The footage is straight out of the camera and hasn’t been “graded” — the video/cinema term of fine-tuning contrast, color temperature, saturation, etc. that all digital photographs go through to reflect the feeling I want to convey.

The title of the video is “Assabet Winter Mornings” and was shot during two very cold (sub-zero for a while) mornings that we had here last week. All but one shot was from my backyard (another was from a neighbor’s yard that I hope will provide additional footage and photos in the future).

Music by Duke Levine (thanks Duke!).

Technical/Workflow Gory Details

Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.  Lenses used: 70-200mm f/2.8 L, 24-70mm f/2.8 L, 16-35mm f/2.8 L, 500mm f/4 L.  Tripod + ball head.  (There are no camera moves in this video.)

White balance locked at 5700K. The camera doesn’t give much control on exposure, so I use exposure compensation to approximate what I’m looking for.

I didn’t use an external microphone for this video.  That’s the next step in my workflow.  So the ambient sounds (which is basically pink noise anyway)  are from the built-in mic, and happily buried under the music. 

Fine focus was typically done with the camera AF, but occasionally I would verify or fine-tune it using the 5x magnification (a technique I use regularly with my 40D camera).

The files were imported to my laptop using my custom process that renames stills and movies the way I like and sends the still images to a folder that Lightroom imports stills from and another folder for video clips.

I use the Quick Preview option in OS X Leopard to quickly review clips and toss the ones that I don’t like.  (If I was in the field and wanted to hack together a quick video I would use iMovie, which handles the footage pretty well).

Back at the office, I copy the video clips to a intermediate folder and again review the clips with Quick Preview on a big monitor.  More culling.  Candidate clips for the project are then dragged to a Compressor droplet.

I set up two droplets to transcode the H.264 files to Apple ProRes 422 HQ.  One of the droplets keeps the resolution native, while the other resizes the footage to 720p.   I figure why burn the disk space for projects that are only destined for the web — and I can recut it with full-res clips if I need to.

ProRes clips are then imported into a Final Cut Pro project.  Edit as normal.   The video above contains no grading – I plan to send the video through Color before I put the final rendering in my portfolio.

For the above clip, I ran the edited video through Compressor using an H.264 codec, at 5Mbps.  (I tried 3Mbps and it just looks horrible with all of the movement.)   Voila!