What Lies Beneath

Had a wonderful time camping with my son AND grandson this past weekend. Secured a great campsite alongside the Stanislaus river - yup, NOT the Merced! All the rivers in the Sierra are still raging and there is still plenty of snow above 8,000 ft! Missed Preston by a day!

Although not a photo trip per se, I did manage to squeeze in a few frames. The river was delightfully colorful and translucent; the snow melt off combined with some tree-filtered morning sun created some great conditions in the rushing river. I was intrigued and drawn to the submerged rocks beneath the surface. I experimented with various shutter speeds and this is one of many that I thought came through pretty good.

Comments, critique and suggestions most welcome!

Next image in the sequence:

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Processing of course. This is minimally processed (at least by my standards!). A LAB Color adjusted layer at low opacity to boost color/contrast. A couple Levels layers to bump the whites and midtone contrast in the water and finally a masked H/S layer to draw attention to the submerged rock (just a little boost in yellow.)

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Does the title work? Do you see the reference? “From the deep” might be another. Your thoughts and suggestions welcome of course.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @190mm, f/16 1/4sec iso 50

Full disclosure. In the 2nd version, the top-middle of the frame was pretty much a “white out” and so I blended in a portion of the very top of the first image to bring back texture, so technically this is a composite/blend. When you compare the two images you can see the small area on the top-middle edge of the frame above the standing wave.

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

1 Like

Both the image and the title reference work well for me. I really like how the underwater rock looks, what you did to draw attention to it worked well. I initially thought a crop from the bottom might help, but then realized that I like the white highlights in the LLC, so I’m fine with no crop. I am also enjoying the green color in water, your processing of color here is very pleasing. the mixed light adds some real visual interest here too.

Is this the image and or location that generated your mystery drops post ?

Thanks Ed. Yes, this is the same scene as the mystery drops. In fact I posted a full frame in that General discussion post. I’ve also added a second frame to my original post. This one shows the phenomena even without zooming in. Fascinating stuff.

Thanks for your comment.


I prefer the second image so I’ll comment on that one. I like the slightly more contrasty rock and the composition of the wave down stream of the rock. Also the wave composition at the top is smoother, less complex. Very painterly. Gorgeous image.

I was interested and a bit distracted by the glints(?) between the rock and the downstream wave. Splashing water I decided. So OK.

I do like the idea of ‘From the Deep’. Makes me think of ‘Rolling in the Deep’ from Adele.


I am preferring the first one. It has kind of a painterly look and I like the way the comp surrounds the submerged rock with whitewater. Shocking it is not the Merced!!!:smile: Nicely done.

Lon, very well name(s) and photographs(s)…:sunglasses: I kinda like each one for the slightly different looks and my slightly different thoughts on each one…:thinking:

As for the name, I suspect kayakers would totally agree…:skull_and_crossbones:

Image and title works just fine with me, Lon. Both are lovely , but I prefer the first one because of the way the whitewater surrounds the rock beneath the surface. I am not sure what kind of light you would call this, but I love the way it has produced the highlights in the waves. This is being real nit picky, but I could see the white wave in the LRC lightened just a touch. Minor stuff as this is a beauty.

Thank you @Harley_Goldman, @Paul_Breitkreuz, @Ed_McGuirk , @Ed_Lowe and @Chris_Percival, much appreciated.

Ed, I don’t know how to describe the “kind” of light, but I can tell you it was about 10am in the morning and the sun was over my left shoulder. The river and nearby terrain has quite a pine and cottonwood trees. I believe there was high, light cloud cover, but the sun was pretty direct. And so it was filtered; some parts of the river in shadow of the trees, while other areas getting a touch of direct, but filtered light (These conditions I think created the conditions for the water droplet question we were discussing in the General Forum.

But I found the light to be beautiful and I haven’t really been able to duplicate in processing. The river had an internal glow of sorts and the colors were more closely of that of what you would see in glacial run off. Water was more aqua, but I’ve ended up processing more towards green… oh well.

Thanks for the comments!