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Blue by AndyMumford Blue by AndyMumford

If you're ever wondered how wide the Amazon river actually is, then have a look at how far away the opposite bank is on this photo.
Technically speaking, this isn't actually the River Amazon. This is the Rio Negro which comes down from the North. Around 12 km down river from this spot it meets the Rio Solimões, a river which carries with it the melt water of the Andes and starts in Peru. The Peruvians actually call this river the Amazon, but to Brazilians the Amazon river doesn't start until it meets the Rio Negra, the river in this photograph.

When the two rivers meet, their different colours (the Negro is black and the Solimões a muddy brown) run side by side before mixing. It's a strange sight which occurs because there is a 6ºc difference in temperature between the two rivers. Holding your hand in the water as you cross across the two different flows is a really strange experience.

This shot was taken from a floating pier at the beach (there are lots of beaches on the Amazon) called Ponta Negra, a suburb to the west of Manaus.

We arrived here in the afternoon and had to catch our boat deeper into the rainforest from this pier at 6am. During the evening I decided to have a go at taking a shot of the sunset, and this is the result.


The hardest part of making this image was the fact that the pier was floating, so every disturbance in the water rocked the pier up and down, blurring the far bank.
I had to wait until there were no boats passing to get the shot, and by this time the sun had dipped below the horizon.

I was fascinated by the beautiful glowing blue of this rope, and the flaking paint on the wooden planks of the pier, so to focus the eyes on them I chose a long exposure which would smooth out the water and blur the sky, giving the foreground textures more prominence in the image.

I wanted an exposure of around 2 minutes, and used a 9 stop filter to enable me to get that with the camera's aperture at f13.

The camera was secured on a tripod low to the pier to bring the foreground as close to the lens as possible, and I used two 3 stop neutral density graduated filters placed along the horizon to hold the sky back and stop it from burning out.

All of the composition, focusing and alignment of the ND grads had to be done first, before I added the ND400 9 stop filter, as it's impossible to see through the viewfinder with this on the camera.

I then used a cable release to open the shutter, and timed 2 minutes using my watch while sitting very still as any movement would have disturbed the pier.
With this filter, the camera does tend to underexpose and I wanted to give it a little more time, but there was a boat approaching and I didn't want the waves it created to disturb the pier. The boat is actually within the frame of this shot, but it was moving fast enough so that it didn't record in the exposure.
I closed the shutter a few seconds before the waves started to rock the pier.

The sun sets so quickly at this latitude that I knew I would only get one chance at such a long exposure...I was lucky that everything worked first time.

Post Processing

Almost nothing has been done to this shot and it's pretty much as it came out of camera on the RAW file. The blue of the rope really was that saturated.
The image was a little noisy in the shadows, so I ran it once through Neat Image (an amazing little plug-in) and used the healing brush to remove a few dust spots on the sensor.

The image was then resized, sharpened a little and then I added the frame and title before converting to JPEG and saving it.


Taken at Ponta Negra, Manaus, The Amazon, Brazil
Nikon D80 | Sigma 10-20mm | Nikon Cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Hoya ND400 (9 stop) | Lee 0.9 (3 stop) hard GND | Cokin ND8 (3 stop) soft GND
137.5 seconds | f13 | 10mm

Workflow in Apple Aperture. Frame and title in PS
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Genoula Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
inmymind81 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:O Wonderful!
black-sunray Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2012
awesome !
Neutrale Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2011
I love this picture
hopefulpoet Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Unbelievable contrast! That blue is majestic. Excellent photo.
geoffwoods Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
superb work
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
Thankyou :-)
geoffwoods Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
your welcome your work is brilliant in my opinion
LittleMissMischief Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
You have been featured here [link] :)
kokinomala Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2011
Maddyjoy Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Woah!!! Most serene..!!! Lovely capture!!!
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Thanks loads :-)
Maddyjoy Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
U are welcome!! Ur gallery is indeed awesome.. :)
griffonmeister Featured By Owner May 14, 2011  Hobbyist
Just discovered your work. The technical details are 1st class, as is the metadata, so nice to see some one of such ability sharing their information, your other work is stunning. Inspirational too. I'm only an amateur and largely self taught. Just exceptional.
AndyMumford Featured By Owner May 16, 2011
Thanks so much, glad you like it.
I have less and less time to add technical details nowadays, but if you're interested, I write articles on technique on my blog [link] which also appear in ND Magazine
griffonmeister Featured By Owner May 16, 2011  Hobbyist
Thanks for the link to the blog. Bookmarked it!
byfrankkk Featured By Owner May 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
great work
AndyMumford Featured By Owner May 2, 2011
Thanks so much
iytj Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2010
excellent work!
gauzyghost Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2010
oh man, when will i get to this level~

AndyMumford Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2010
dungdangdung Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010
how do u measure the exposure for this long exposure? i mean how can u decide to use all of those ND filters?
r3nia Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
amazing photo!i cant stop staring at it ..:typerhappy:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2010
watermelonkisses Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2010
:icontransparentplz::icondweebdanceplz:Your photo was featured here!:iconweekenddanceplz:
:iconlawooplz:Please check it out, it would mean a lot to me!:iconwtfomgdowant:
swoosh Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2010
Andy: I'll not comment your photo. You are a grown man. I'm a baby (photography talking).

This comment is just to thank you your priceless technical description. For amateurs there's nothing better to learn than that. Big thanks.
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2010
Philippe-Albanel Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2010  Professional Photographer
quiet, very nice tones
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2010
Thanks a lot
hugogracaphotography Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
gorgeous... love the contrasts between the colors... and the place seems so peaceful as inspires me somehow!!
otas32 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009  Professional General Artist
I featured your truly beautiful work in my journal here: [link]

I hope you don't mind :)
NES92 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009
awesome just awesome i really like how you tell us the story behind the picture and explain the steps to ahieve such a perfect shot :)
FlippinPhil Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009  Professional Photographer
This image has been featured here - [link]

dinda-kk Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
ozgurdenizistanbul Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
* f e a t u r e d...

entrepot Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Featured here: [link]
EmiiLove Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009
Congratulations! This image has been featured [link] If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment here [link]

'Let me think!' has come back & as a welcoming the author of the blog has decided to do by-weekly themed features for strictly DeviantART related images. I welcome you to subscribe as a reader to get future updates from 'Let me think!'
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2009
Thanks so much
EmiiLove Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2009
no problem!
sweetana Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2009
magic place
andresT73 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
great shoot
AdamTaylor1991 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2009   Photographer
Great shot, love the sea and the simplicity of whole image.
pseudoinsomniac Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2009
Thanks for the long writeup on how you take this style of photograph, stop down filter techniques seem to yield some really smooth long exposure effects, I'd like to try this sometime! Your description is a great learning resource.

Just a quick question, do you use an external light meter to calculate your exposure time, or do you use the internal camera light meter before installing the filters on the lens? One approach risks the sun falling lower in the sky while installing filters, whilst the light meter option does not take into account the effect of the graded filters...

Thanks, and keep up the amazing work!

AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2009
Thanks Charlie, for your kind words.

I use TTL metering (in camera) before I put the filters only takes a couple of seconds to install the filters, so the light changing isn't really a significant factor.
Likewise, using an external light meter is easy. Most quality filters can be depended upon to be exactly the same density as they are quoted as if you use an external meter you can calculate the difference between the filtered exposure and the unfiltered that the meter gives you.
wizardhat Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2009
Beautiful :)
murphys-melody Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2009
:wow: I can't even describe in words how much I love this shot! :heart: :thumbsup:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2009
Thanks so much :-)
credible-criteria Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2009
Awesome work. Love the contrast of colours.
MeganEllis Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2009
This is, by far, one of the most amazing photographs I have ever seen. Love it. Great job.
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Submitted on
January 29, 2008
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