Monday, May 06, 2013


Alpa STC, IQ 180, 32 HR, ~f/11, ~7s, ISO 100
I call this lemonade because its an image where I'm just trying to make the best of a bad situation.  I captured the photograph for this image on a big sur trip a few weeks ago.  It was an evening shoot and the location was McWay Falls.  The skies were a little too clear and there wasn't a lot of color and so for most of the evening I just relaxed chatting with folks and hadn't even bothered to pull out the camera.  Then just as the last light of the day was fading, I felt bad for not having made a single frame, and so decided to capture just one frame.  I set up my camera and having watched the scene for so long, knew exactly what composition I wanted.  I also knew that I wanted a panoramic and though the right answer would have been to go with a longer lens and stitch, I was worried that the stitch would look weird with all the moving water so I decided to stick with the trusty 32mm lens and crop in post.  With all those lovely pixels of the IQ 180, one can afford to crop a little in post.

So where did I goof up?  First, my back was set to ISO 100 and not ISO 35.  If you try doing longer exposures (like multiple seconds) with the IQ 180 at ISO 100, it starts degrading image quality.  Its not huge, but its noticeable.  This goof was purely inattention on my part, I had set the back to ISO 100 for some other faster shutter speed work I was doing earlier in the day and simply forgot to check to put it back to 35.

Second, I had my tripod set up on a wooden bridge and with moving walking over it and a 7 second exposure, you inevitably get blur which is exactly what I got when I zoomed in to 100% and closely examined the pixels.  Normally I would time my exposures to avoid people walking and do multiple exposures as insurance.  In this case, I wanted to stick to 1 so I had to live with this one.

In the end, this gave me a somewhat mushy file to work with.  After cropped to my panoramic aspect ratio and then resizing to get back to an image with actual detail at the pixel level, I was left with a 10mp image.  If I hadn't goofed on the ISO and the shake, I would have had a super crisp 40mp panorama.  Oh well, at least I got a neat monochrome with Silver Efex Pro.

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