I spent a wonderful afternoon exploring Pulpit Falls in extreme southeast New Hampshire. I’m very glad I did and especially for this shot. The next summer a big tree came down straight across this little rocky cascade. Don’t they always?

The falls are just behind me a little ways and the crashing obliterates all, getting fainter as you move upstream. Even without the sound of the water in your ears, you are far enough from the road that the intervening forest dampens all noise, leaving you in peace to experience a wild stream in all its permutations.

The sky was mainly cloudy, but with bits of blue sky and sun and so the gold caught in the water was my main attraction and focus for processing. The shutter speed is a little long, but I didn’t think at the time to vary it much since I had no idea to try any exposure blending since I wasn’t using Photoshop.

Specific Feedback Requested

So…I used A LOT of new techniques on this one, loosely following Sean Bagshaw’s latest workflow video. The idea was to build slowly and incrementally toward the final image. I hope I didn’t take things too far. A prior attempt in Luminar was WAY over the top. My goals were drama with softness.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Tripod and CPL


Lr for a very flat and low-contrast image that went into Photoshop for a ton of work. After some Free Transform and Liquify to normalize things from the wide angle my layer stack looked like this -

1 Like

Drama with softness - I like it. The foreground is certainly dramatic, but the long shutter speed does soften it a lot. The foreground doesn’t look so serene to me, but the background definitely does. A lovely scene!

I haven’t gotten around to getting Sean B’s latest videos. He’s such a good teacher and I always learn something, even though I’ve viewed many of his past videos. The “slow and incremental” method works for me - I often make a small adjustment and that will lead to another idea for adjustments, wash-rinse-repeat.

1 Like

Thanks @Bonnie_Lampley - glad you like it. It’s an old favorite. I find even noisy nature can be soothing.

I’ve never followed a workflow video with one of my own images before, but since many of the techniques @Sean_Bagshaw used for his extreme wide angle stream image seemed to work for mine, I went for it. Like many, I’ve always learned better by doing and by thinking about what this image needed in the framework of the tutorial helped cement techniques and especially the order of certain of them. I’ve never used the Free Transform or Liquify tools before so that was kind of exciting.

That is a ton of post processing work, Kris. But it certainly paid off. This is a truly remarkable image.

It does look like a lot, but the build up is so small that it’s not a crazy change. I’m going through it again with a different image and using some other techniques. I’m not sure I’d do this for EVERY shot I take, but for the special ones I think it’s worth the time. And as I do these things more, the faster and more proficient I’ll be.

Wonderful image Kristen and I’m glad you got this before the log came crashing down across the stream. You were rewarded with amazing light through the middle of the scene. As @Bonnie_Lampley notes, the long shutter speed really softens the water. I’d love to see this with a shutter speed of around 1/2 second or so to give that water some texture but that dang log is now in the way.
That background is just beautiful with a glow to it that is definitely serene. it invites the eye to go through the scene nicely. I have most of Sean’s videos and love his teaching style. I used to use Luminar but almost every time I sued it my images came out over cooked. I just find it too easy to send an image over the top with Luminar so I have stopped using it.

Thanks so much. I’m sort of torn about the shutter speed. It’s theoretical now, but would a faster introduce a less peaceful note that would be at odds with the rest of the scene and light? Hm.

That’s the exact reason I stopped using it. After a while my eyes hurt looking at my own work. It crept in slowly, but by the end everything was garish and over-the-top.