Oak Creek at West Fork

Whew, things seem to be going a little better this evening in the digital darkroom (or maybe I’m just not being so picky tonight).  I decided to concentrate on pictures from West Fork (trailhead in Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, Arizona) this evening, and give the aspens a rest for the time being.

I’m still practicing creating HDR’s using the new Photomatix V4, which has some more robust anti-ghosting functionality.  It’s actually coming in very handy on the shots from last weekend, giving me some extra tools to try and clean up the blur caused from the waving grasses and branches.  I know that if I spent a lot more time on each of these images (and if I actually knew what I was doing), they could be even better, but since I’m just learning from trial-and-error, I’m not too awfully disappointed in the way these have turned out.

This first shot was taken with the tripod sitting on a rock in the middle of the creek, and the camera about three feet above the surface of the water.  I wanted to get this lower perspective so that I would have more of a “flow” of the water. Photomatix did a good job with the de-ghosting of the leaves, but the Curves tool in Paintshop Pro is what really made this one pop, bringing out the detail in the darker part of the stream as well as the bright sunlit mountainside in the background:

West Fork - Running Water

This next shot was taken at a point where two streams meet. This past spring there was a lot of rainfall, so there is still quite a bit of debris in and alongside the creek. I liked the way these two white logs formed an “X” in the middle of the stream. In the background you can see a tree that has fallen across the creek as well. Once again, the Curves tool in Paintshop Pro allowed me to control the exposure in various parts of the image to where I was pretty well satisfied with it:

West Fork - X Marks the Spot

This last shot was taken in an area where a lot of downed trees had piled up during one of the spring floods. I really liked the way the fungus had grown on the trees (you can tell it obviously grew on this log AFTER it was down, because of the horizontal orientation). There was no problem with ghosting on this one, but there is a lot of detail in both the tree bark and the fungi that I wanted to capture. I think I got most of what I was after:

West Fork Fungi

So, a good night in the digital darkroom. Tomorrow, I’ll head back to the aspens again.

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