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Outdoor photography at Oak Creek, part two

This is part two of a series on a ‘Day in the life on Oak Creek’ while photographing nature and wildlife. Check out the first installment here.

Gear

The second camera I brought on my nature adventure was the since-discontinued Lumix GX8 (updated to Lumix GX9 and Lumix 20mm f/1.7 lens. That’s just 1.5 pounds for a camera and lens, making it perfect for capturing time-lapse and/or video. Because the lens is a pancake style it fits in my Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 20 along with two additional lenses.

On this day I ended up using the camera for video but I like to have the option of having the second camera body for taking time-lapse while photographing other subjects at the same time.

Video

The above video shows Oak Creek and Cathedral Rock. It’s a little 1.5-minute respite with flowing water and the spectacular rock formation that is probably one of the top ten most photographed places in the United States.

The video was captured in 4K quality. Shooting in 4K allows for creating additional camera movements like a Ken Burns movement in post-production. A tiny tripod was used to steady the camera a bit. But as this was for fun most of this footage was handheld. It tells the story of the day. Sound was recorded with the in-camera stereo microphones. The 20mm lens was a bit too static so I switched over to the Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 lens. This lens has a wonderful range from wide-angle to medium distance zoom.

Still from video

Here’s a still image screen capture from the video. You can see there are blown out areas in the water and the overall image is overexposed as a still but works fine for video because of the motion. I’ll show you how I worked on that to create a solid still photo with more dynamic range.

The image was massaged by taking three separate frame grabs and stacking them. Two of the layers had Blend Modes changed to Multiply. Using Layer Masks reveals darker areas in the water. If you just darken the blown out sections it has less realism with no detail in the pixels.

In addition a Curves & Hue Saturation Layer was added, along with a Vignette, to finish off the image.

What’s next?

The next installment will be centered around another camera and lens combination. The Lumix G6 (now the Lumix G7 or above) and the 14-140mm G Vario f/4.0-5.8 lens. This camera has been converted to infrared by LifePixel (I’m a LifePixel affiliate) and has opened up the middle of the day for more creative imagery.

Yours in creative Photography, Bob

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