A few weeks ago I headed off to Wilkes Dam in Brantford Ontario with a friend. Our objective was to capture some images of Bald Eagles. Well…the eagle only showed up for a minute or two and was too far away to even attempt getting a photograph. Suffice to say we ended up with a change of plan visiting Wilkes Dam.
As a back-up I brought one of my Nikon 1 J5s with me as well as the 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom and 10-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom. I knew from a previous visit that there are some forested trails and some good river views below the dam.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
It was a beautifully calm morning which enabled me to compose a few riverside images with nice reflections in them. Unfortunately the pleasant, sunny weather that was forecast for the day did not materialize. Instead we had dull, grey overcast skies.
I took a couple of photographs of the dam and wasn’t particularly happy with the flat, overcast skies. Since ‘Plan B’ wasn’t working out as well as I had hoped, I decided on ‘Plan C’. This approach was to compose most of my landscape images along forest trails where I could minimize the negative effects of the dull skies.
I decided to use my 10-100mm f/4-5.6 during the walk down river, then switch to the 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 for the return journey back to Wilkes Dam.
As I strolled along the forest paths I specifically looked for tree trunks, large bushes and flowers to act as corner anchors. This helps to accentuate a feeling of depth in landscape images.
To add some variation to the colour pallet of the image collection I did a bit of work with curves in post with a few of the photographs.
I positioned myself in tight to various ‘corner anchor’ composition elements to help create a feeling of intimacy.
Some of the areas were a bit more exposed and I had to deal with a bit of light breeze from time to time. I shot in aperture priority, using ISO adjustments to help increase shutter speeds as required.
After returning upstream, I went to the car to get my tripod. I wanted to test out a new set of neutral density filters I recently purchased by creating some smooth water images.
I captured a couple of standard waterfall images hand-held to act as points of reference. When working with these images in post I used the DxO Clearview function to help get more colour and definition from the submerged surfaces.
After mounting the neutral density filters on my 10-100mm lens and affixing my J5 to my tripod head, I studied the Wilkes Dam waterfalls, looking for some interesting composition angles.
I chose much tighter compositions to focus in on small sections of the waterfalls.
While the visit to Wilkes Dam ended up being completely different than what was originally planned, it still ended up being an enjoyable experience.
All images were captured using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All photographs were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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