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Photo Writing is the web version of the Photo Writing mini-magazine produced by Limephoto and Emil von Maltitz since 2010. As of 2015 it is now completely online. Feel free to browse through the articles and please leave comments in the comments section if you would like to engage with us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Flowing Rivers - March Drakensberg Workshop with African Impact



I kicked off on the first Drakensberg workshop of the year with African Impact last week. A fantastic group joined myself and Nick van de Wiel from Tailer Made Safaris in the Royal Natal and Cathedral Peak Sections for a weekend of walking and photography. Unusually, for me, the weather was fantastic. Artfully clouded skies meant there was always interest up in the air and recent rains meant that the rivers were in near full spate.




The flowing rivers meant that all the photographers on the workshop were able to practice their hands at water photography. My personal preference toward shooting water is to allow the exposure to drag so that movement is captured as a motion blur. This is admittedly not everyone's taste, but I find it conveys best the serene qualities of the forests that we visited. Angry, still and frozen droplets of water, don't exactly sum up the qualities of these quiet and mesmerizing cloud and rain forests.

Important for this kind of imagery is the use of polarisers and graduated neutral density fi
lters. Photographers often think that grad filters are only to be used for when their is bright sky in the image, but there are myriad other uses too. In the image on the left I used a Lee 0.6 Soft grad (equating to a subtraction of two stops of light over a softly gradated area) that was positioned such that the darker portion of the filter was in the lower right of the image and was angled at a about a -60 degree angle. This stopped the water from blowing out while the longer exposure meant detail in the shadows could be picked up.

Of course another technique is to create an HDR image, of which the first image in this series is an example. I manually layered 3 images in photoshop and using a variety of blending techniques put them together to approximate that scene that I saw at the Cascades in Royal Natal National Park. 


Overall we had a fantastic, if exhausting 3 days in the mountains. Tired but exhilarated from the phenomenal weather and views, we left on Monday morning after a truly epic sunrise (which for once I watched rather than shot). I'll be back in the Berg shortly both with African Impact and for the Master Class on the 8th of May (contact me for details on either). Thanks to a wonderful group for a fantastic weekend.






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