Autumn in Maine: Anatomy of a Photograph

October 12, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Smalls Falls, Fall ReflectionsSmalls Falls, Fall ReflectionsSmalls Falls on the Sandy River, in Township E, Franklin County, Maine; not too far from Rangeley.


Maine is known for its beautiful scenery and spectacular autumn colors. When one is lucky enough to find the right spot, at the right time, with peak colors, the results can be amazing!

In this photograph, a number of things came together for me. First, Smalls Falls, where this image was captured, is a beautiful spot. Secondly, the autumn colors were at their peak at the time this image was taken. Third, the stormy sky provided for extra drama in this image. In addition, the low water conditions provided a focal point in the center of the picture, and helped to highlight the texture of the ledges surrounding the falls. 

The next important facet of this image is composition. I backed up the view in this shot to feature the river rocks in the foreground. The rocks, and the reflection of the falls on the water, draw the eye deeper into the image.

I also love the effect of the smooth flow of the waterfalls. I achieved this by using a circular neutral density filter. This filter allows me to limit the amount of light that gets into the lens. This, combined with a high f-stop, which allows for limited light, and high definition, results in a slow shutter speed, and the smooth effect on the flow of the water.

Another technique that I used to create this image is HDR, or High Dynamic Range. HDR seeks to allow the camera to produce images that more closely resemble what the human eye sees. This technique involves bracketing, which means taking a number of shots, some over exposed, some underexposed, and one with the right exposure. The images, after being downloaded to my computer, are combined in a specialized software program to produce an image that nearly reproduces what we see with our eyes.

A successful photograph is so much more than point and shoot. It takes a lot of planning and preparation, along with quality tools and techniques, and a little luck! Being in the right place at the right time is so important to producing quality photographs! 


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