Im not sure about submitting this image, but I wanted to submit something that wasnt a waterscape. Most of what Ive 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 doesnt really matter as it emphasizes the shape, but whats important is that it doesnt 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 trees 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