The Alum Creek Dam


I’d driven to the dam at the south end of the Alum Creek reservoir in order to take shots of the sunset. I’d hoped that the height of the levee and the reflections off the water would create a good opportunity to see the effects of different filters on the ensuing colors. Unfortunately the skies did not cooperate with me that evening, and the atmosphere was flat and drab.
But as seems to frequently happen, though the point of my trip failed to materialize, another opportunity presented itself. As I turned back shortly after dusk I noticed the beautiful play of artificial lights off the concrete of the dam and the rippling water below. I set up my tripod and took some shots from the levee, but the composition seemed to lack any power. So I made my way down the rocks to the shoreline and found the scene I was looking for.

Date

Wednesday, ‎August ‎08, ‎2012, ‏‎9:14:22 PM

Location

The Alum Creek Dam, Delaware County, Ohio.

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Equipment

  • Nikon D5100
  • Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 18-55 kit lens.
  • Manfrotto Tripod
  • Cable Release
  • Corel PaintShop Pro X4

Settings

  • Exposure mode:    Auto exposure
    Exposure bias:    0.00/-1.00/+1.00 ev
    Exposure time:    4.0/2.0/8.0 sec
    Fstop:    f/8.0
    Focal length:    24.0 mm
    ISO:    100

Method

This image was made from three 1EV bracketed shots with exposure times of 4 seconds, 8 seconds, and 2 seconds. I didn’t use any filters to increase the exposure time, because I wanted to keep the rippled reflections off the water as much as possible. Since I was using a tripod with a cable release I set the ISO to 100 to get the best quality possible.
The shots were combined using the HDR tool in Corel PaintShop Pro X4. Because I wanted to keep the reflections off the water crisp, I “painted in” these areas to use only the 0EV shot for this portion of the picture. Painting in the meandering lines of the water against the rocks was very difficult, and took me several tries.
Once the images were combined, I pushed the vibrancy a bit and used PaintShop Pro’s editor to remove some of the noise.
Lastly, because I thought the image would look nice as a screensaver, I reversed it 180 degrees so that the large open space would be on the right-hand side where icons tend to accumulate!

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