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Submitted on
May 20, 2008
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Serra by AndyMumford Serra by AndyMumford
The photo

I’m not sure about submitting this image, but I wanted to submit something that wasn’t a waterscape. Most of what I’ve been shooting recently has been out on the coast, but I have done a couple of landscapes, and I thought it would be nice to put something in my gallery to break up the waterscapes.

This photo was taken back in early February when I was staying in the countryside of Alentejo in southern Portugal.
We were staying in a farmhouse in a place called Serra do Cercal, and as the sun set I could see it was going to be beautiful, so I just walked out of the room a couple of meters into the field and started shooting….
…I wish it could always be this convenient.

The shiny thing on the front of the tree trunk is actually a number "3" painted on the bark. They do it to trees all over this area...not sure why.

Technique

For this shot I wanted to keep the compositions as clean and simple as possible.
I was also conscious of composing for shadows. Because of the bright sky and the filters I would need for it, the tree was going to become a silhouette. This doesn’t really matter as it emphasizes the shape, but what’s important is that it doesn’t merge with any shadows behind it and become lost.
For this reason I had to shoot in this direction as just to the right there was a forest, which would have “swallowed” up the tree in shadow, and besides, I wanted to get as much sky in the shot as possible.
Also I wanted to make sure that none of the tree’s branches were lost in the shadow of the trees at the bottom of the hill. So I composed from this direction, and got low to ensure that the main trunk of the tree passed through the horizon and the far shadows.

For exposure I wanted to make sure that the green and texture of the grass was visible so I took a base reading from the grass first (I just pointed the camera down and filled the viewfinder with the foreground).
This gave me my base exposure, which I set the camera to, and then I pointed the camera at the sky to see how many stops brighter it was. The meter indicated it was 5 stops brighter, so a 3 stop ND grad filter across the sky would bring the sky to within 2 stops of my base exposure…which is enough.

I used a cable release to ensure the camera remained still on the tripod while I tripped the exposure.

Post-processing

The image was shot RAW and imported into Aperture. I tweaked the contrast and vibrancy sliders, before moving it into PS. In PS I tweaked the mid-tone contrast using Unsharp mask (Threshold 0, Amount 20%, Pixels 60 – Thanks Juha [link]), and then resized the image using Bicupic smoother. Final sharpening was added, as well as a frame and title.

Metadata

Taken in Serra do Cercal, Alentejo, Portugal
Nikon D80 | Sigma 10-20 | Nikon cable release
Manfrotto 190XProB w/ 322RC2 ballhead
Lee 0.9 (3 stop) hard neutral density filter
1/2sec | f8 | 10mm
Add a Comment:
 
:icongenoula:
Genoula Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013
Great work!!
Reply
:iconconelyn:
conelyn Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2011
amazing!
great work! :)
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2011
Thanks so much
Reply
:iconnaturalcauses:
NaturalCauses Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2010
very very very nice.
Reply
:iconrescuegrl:
Rescuegrl Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2010
May i use this pic for a photo manip? I will credit accordingly =)

Thanks
Rescue<3
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2010
No problem
Reply
:iconwraxaon:
WraxAon Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010
Like how it spotlights the tree in the beautiful surroundings
Reply
:iconmermaidluver155:
mermaidluver155 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
OMG! IM A TREE :D
Reply
:iconsango4miroku:
Sango4Miroku Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2009
So COOL! and brilliantly taken!!!!!!
Reply
:iconhollowinme:
Hollowinme Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2009
lindissimas cores! espero um dia ser capaz de conseguir tao belo trabalho! parabens!
Reply
:iconamandart1:
amandart1 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
looks lovely
Reply
:iconcschoeps:
cschoeps Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2009
So simple, so wonderful... !!
Reply
:icongaleee:
Galeee Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2008
This Picture Has Been Featured Here: [link]
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
Thanks :D
Reply
:icongaleee:
Galeee Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2008
you're welcome:)
Reply
:iconarcane-eponym:
arcane-eponym Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008   Photographer
:faint: Beautiful shot :D I absolutely love the colours and the silhouette of the tree is absolutely amazing ^__^
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
Reply
:iconwild-rain-73:
WILD-RAIN-73 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
So very beautiful!
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008
Thanks so much
Reply
:iconwild-rain-73:
WILD-RAIN-73 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
You are most welcome!
Reply
:iconallym007:
allym007 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
hi :wave:
this beautiful work has been featured here [link] :heart:
I hope you enjoy it :hug:
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
Reply
:iconallym007:
allym007 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
my pleasure, your work is so beautiful :love:
Reply
:iconbogdanepure:
BogdanEpure Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Very nice photo, I do have something similar in my gallery...
To me the horizon doesn't look lined up...
Except that... great photo
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2008
Thankyou. The horizon isn't incorrect, the photo is taken on the side of a range of hills. I use a spirit level in my tripod head, so I'm pretty sure it's spot on.

Glad you like the image though, thanks again
Reply
:iconbogdanepure:
BogdanEpure Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh ok...my apologize than...
Reply
:iconspringlight:
SpringlighT Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2008
Looks awesome :clap:
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
Reply
:icongaianbells:
GaianBells Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2008
I've been to Spain, right next door to Portugal. Looking at your photo made me ache with nostalgia for that part of the world. I just love the sky and the land there. Wonderful shot.
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2008
Thanks so much...I'm glad you like it :-)
Reply
:iconrobjenx:
Robjenx Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
Beautiful.. thats a fav right there :thumbsup:
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
Reply
:icondigimax2:
DigiMax2 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2008
I just love all your photos. Everything about them is right on the money! And I am happy to see your comments on what you did from start to finish. Hopefully absorbing your knowledge will help me improve. Thanks
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2008
Thanks so much, I'm glad you like it.
If you're interested, I've written a couple of articles on metering and filters for ND Magazine [link]
Reply
:icondigimax2:
DigiMax2 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
I enjoyed reading your articles.
I have had ND filters on my list of things to buy for the longest time, but always wind up buying something else. It's either something for the computer - bigger, brighter monitor, more memory, external hard drives, photoshop, better printer and scanner. Then on the camera side I bought a Canon 30D and a few lenses last year (just before the 40D came out).
This time I won't get sidetracted...I'm going to get some filter this weekend.
Thanks again for getting me headed in the right direction.
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008
Different people have different priorities in photography, but for me decent filters are such an essential part of it. I can get my images scanned and printed somewhere else, so I'll live without a scanner and printer, but I can't take good landscape images without a filter (I don't believe in replicating the effect in PS, and besides, PS can't replicate long exposures)...but like I said, it's different for everyone.
You're right about it being expensive though, it really isn't a cheap hobby.
Reply
:iconstrangelove:
strangelove Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008
one of my favorites of yours, andy, the colors are almost psychedelic.
lovely.
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2008
Thanks so much...People always ask if this is "photoshopped" because of the colours (it's not).
I'm glad you like it :-)
Reply
:iconmemopad:
memopad Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2008
Hopefully this comment doesn't get missed :) Great photo, first of all... i'm curious about the use of the grad filter on this shot, as it is mostly sky. How did you align the gradient across the frame, is it at an angle? I don't have any grad filters of my own, but i can see how i need to start using them. So, just curious a little bit on their use if your horizon isn't centered or on the level. Thanks in advance!
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2008
In this shot the ND grad was at a slight angle, with the gradient across the shadows of the fields at the far end of the field. The holders for grads rotate freely, so you can put the holders at any angle you like.
If you're interested, I've written an article on using ND grad filters for Neutral Density Magazine, you can find it here [link]
Reply
:iconforgotendestiny:
FoRgOtEnDeStInY Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008   Writer
Ive never seen a sky so beautiful and captive as this
It seems so strong
plus i like the 3 that is painted on the tree
the grass and purple tints also seem to be awe striking
I love it \
bravo
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008
Thanks so much, I'm really glad you like it :-)
Reply
:iconforgotendestiny:
FoRgOtEnDeStInY Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008   Writer
Your welcome
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconchipol:
Chipol Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2008
Wow..i have no words..
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008
:-)
Reply
:iconkoolaider:
Koolaider Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2008
Love this shot! Real skill, good job.
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008
Thanks so much :-)
Reply
:iconxander890:
Xander890 Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful! :+fav: :)
Reply
:iconandymumford:
AndyMumford Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2008
Thanks again :-)
Reply
:iconpestilence:
pestilence Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008  Professional Photographer
I don't know why...but I always love this theme! :)
:+fav: :)
Reply
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