A Stroll by the River

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Huntsville Botanical Gardens

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The Flint River – A Comparison of Photographic Techniques

Here are two photos I recently took of the water flowing in the Flint River. Since these are both panoramas, click them to see to best advantage.

This first photo was fairly standard. F8, ISO800 at 1/250 second with a 19mm lens. Three photos were merged using Adobe Lightroom. As is my usual technique, I saved it at about 50 percent file quality in order to reduce the file size to upload to this website. For single photos, I usually save them at 60 percent.

Here’s another photo from the same spot. In addition to being zoomed more, this photo took a bit more work to bring about. First, I used a series of neutral density filters to bring down the amount of light so I could increase the exposure to about 3 seconds. Basically, this is like Aperture Priority, but manually done. That also let me set a very long focal ratio (f22) so all details, near and far, are in focus. I set the ISO very low, ISO100, so there is no graininess in the photo. The trade off here is that even though I captured a velvety water flow due to the long exposure, I also lost a bit of sharpness and definition in the trees as the leaves moved slightly over time.

Since both photos are a bit wider than one photo can take in, I made a series of three photo and merged them in Adobe Lightroom. In order to keep any cropping to a minimum, I set the camera on a leveled tripod and only panned horizontally. I manually set all parameters so I could keep them exactly the same for all three photos of the panorama.

So which is better? I like the silky smooth flow in the second one due to aperture priority, but the composition is better in the first one. I guess I’ll have to go back one day and take a series again, using both ideas in one panorama, and make sure there is absolutely no wind!

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Red-spotted Purple Butterfly

Limenitis arthemis astyanax
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Shaded Walk in the Forest

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Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary – 2

Some more photos from my recent visit to this eastern preserve

The Flint River isn’t very wide, but it is quite swift and probably rather deep because of it.
Water plants growing on a shallow bank.
About one-third of the way into the center of the sanctuary, this was about a 20 minute walk.
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Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary – 1

I visited Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary again recently. This time, I managed to find the northeast entrance; the one that is directly off Highway 431 in Hampton Cove in the eastern part of Huntsville. The entrance is just an unmarked gravel road and looks just like someone’s private driveway at first. Here are some photos.

Looking west towards the main part of Goldsmith-Schiffman and Green Mountain
Panorama of Bywaters of the Flint River. Click it!
Goldsmith-Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary and the more-visited Hays Nature Preserve lie along the Flint River and GSWS especially serves as sort of a swampy delta area for the river.
The Flint River, taken with 12x ND Filters, ISO100, 3.2 second with a 55mm f25 lens. Click it!

More tomorrow!

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Fall is Approaching!

Resurrection Ferns on Limestone
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Slow Changes Coming

Notice the saplings staked to the right of the creek? There are maybe a hundred or so of these memorial trees planted along Aldredge Creek now. In coming years, these will transform the look of this section of the greenway.

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Goldenrod Along the Creek

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