unraveling the mystery of ETTR - a technical perspective

“Expose To The Right” (ETTR) is a recommendation initiated by Michael Reichmann in 2003. The theory dictates that images should be over-exposed in camera then adjusted back down in processing to maximize detail in the shadows. This principle is directed toward purists wishing to achieve the utmost in image quality.

But does this theory hold true, and a worthwhile pursuit with the DSLR’s of today? I have seen many articles promoting the use, many with bold claims but none with evidence that satisfies my doubts. From a lengthy background of electronic system maintenance I have struggled to find logical reasoning that may prove these claims as truth.

First off - a disclaimer. Although I have 20 + years of intimate experience in the electronic system arena I am in no way positioning myself as an expert on this subject. Rather, I offer a viewpoint from someone coming from a world entrenched in logic and harboring a passion for photography.

I’d like to base further discussion on the following facts and beliefs regarding the camera sensor, although containing millions of light-gathering cells we will concentrate on an individual as all are similar in operation;

  • electronic sensors in general generate a random low level noise component (inherent noise) that is an added part of the output (with zero input, output = noise)

  • a single cell accumulates and coverts the light that strikes it to an analog voltage output - that output is directly proportional to light accumulation (+ random inherent noise)

  • cells do not have ‘sensitivity’; any adjustment to ISO or exposure compensation simply adds a multiplication factor to the OUTPUT of the cell either before or during conversion to a digital signal. It is important to note that the output of a cell is CONSTANT (with addition of inherent noise) for a given light capture.

As inherent noise is fairly constant it can be said that the level of sensor/cell noise becomes more significant in low light (let’s use a very simple signal/noise (SNR) ratio of 10:1 for this example), than in cases of bright light (let’s use a SNR of 1000:1). This is often compared to the output of audio speakers with the volume turned up - with a very low input signal noise is clearly evident, but diminishes in significance as input signal rises.

A theory that prevails with ETTR is that by increasing the exposure of an image when captured the signal/noise ratio is increased, thus providing better detail (less noise) in the shadows (exposure is adjusted in post processing to return shadows to what we’d expect).

While on the surface this may make sense it really depends on how this is achieved;

  • ISO adjustment, By increasing the ISO we increase the “sensitivity” and thus with shutter speed & aperture being equal we have increased signal/exposure. However, as we have already said that ISO simply applies signal amplification then the noise component is increased by the same degree. This provides a net gain of zero. This may explain why noise is increasingly evident when increasing ISO in low light situations

  • Speed adjustment. By slowing down shutter speed we allow the sensor/cells to accumulate more light and create a higher output. This does increase exposure but unfortunately the noise component is also being accumulated at a similar rate, and once again the net effect is zero. This might explain the evidence of noise on very long exposures.

  • Aperture adjustment. As we open our lens to allow more light to the sensor we minimize time to gather light for an increased exposure. With ISO & time as constants this seems to be the ONLY true option for increasing exposure without increasing the noise component.

Conclusion

From all I can determine ETTR is based on a solid argument but perhaps falls short. I agree that an increase of exposure will show less noise, but NOT if this is accomplished by ISO and/or shutter speed changes. However, I DO see the logic for gain is when exposure increase is achieved by APERTURE adjustment - by allowing more light to hit the sensor (ISO/shutter being equal) we increase the SNR, thus decreasing the level of noise as the exposure is normalized.

The downside of following this theory needs to be stated - however achieved the photographer runs the risk of losing data in the whites, and how ever achieved the mechanism of doing so (ISO/f stop/shutter speed) can have far greater impact on composition than any (debatable) improvement in shadow detail.

With the expanded dynamic range of modern cameras I would further suggest that any gains that may have been perceived in 2003 have largely diminished. The modern day photographer would be best suited to ensure lighting is adequate (to maximize SNR) that a full data range is reported by the histogram - otherwise consider exposure bracketing to achieve that goal.

This is my understanding - I would love to hear any other arguments out there that may provide logic and/or evidence that I may have overlooked.

feeling loupey

I have long considered a loupe as just another gadget that gear-heads carry around to look cool. For those that are not aware, a loupe in this sense is a device that is placed over the LCD display on a camera to allow an improved view of an image.

With less-than-perfect eyesight I finally splurged on a Hoodman loupe to see if that could help in the field, and man, am I glad I did.

By blocking extraneous light and distraction the loupe allows you to see the display much clearer, and although I haven’t yet used in bright sunlight i feel in that instance it would almost be a necessity. Having relied on the optical viewfinder and ‘guesstimating’ from what can be barely seen in such conditions I think this will reduce those ‘almost’ shots as I can analyze better what has been taken.

Used on a recent waterfall shoot the loupe improved my review of each image both before and after shooting, helping confirm focus points and evaluate an exposure time that would best bring out the the flow of the falls. In addition the loupe aids in identifying distractions that may be acted upon rather than discovering in processing.

Is a loupe needed? Definitely not, but if you use an LCD display a loupe will certainly help clarify what the camera is seeing, and especially so in bright sunlight. A minor investment (more so if you buy used) that for me is well worth the cost.

surprise ending

I think it important to shoot images that suit the prevailing conditions, and continue to experiment to improve. Such was the case one stormy day in Boston. With a continuous stream of light rain falling I had in mind images taking advantage of reflections from wet surfaces, street images capturing iconic umbrellas and more.

After an amount of time I decided to move on and on crossing a busy street. Here I crossed paths with a sight that I immediately recognized as a winner - a beautifully made-up young girl, her face framed by a bright yellow scarf highlighted by a backdrop of a black umbrella.

Cursing this missed opportunity I paused to consider options and was pleased to see the girl headed back toward me. After gaining permission to take some shots I discovered that she was rushing to an interview and had taken a wrong turn. With the severe restriction of time I was unable to get her name but determined she is from Assam in India.

I do hope she contacts me so I can find her name and send copies (she has my card), but until that time I have bestowed on her the title of ‘jewel of Assam’

I think this image alone made the venture out into the rain and cold worthwhile.

moving beyond those thirds

From the earliest days in any photographer’s education they are encouraged to follow the ‘rule of thirds’. Simply put, the rule dictates that elements of interest (eg subject, horizons etc) should be positioned on imaginary lines that divide the image into thirds. This is widely accepted as a rule that helps create stronger compositions, and one that regularly comes up in critiques and educational feedback.

It is my own view that the underlying mechanics of this ‘rule’ helps create balance in an image. It makes sense to me that positioning a visually strong (heavy) subject on a third allows the space of the remaining 2/3 for other elements to add their own weight, and hence may well balance to the composition. Alternatively, placement of a horizon in such a way may disrupt balance, resulting on emphasis of foreground or sky.

But I believe that by applying this ‘rule’ wholesale can lead to predictable images, many of which falling short of reaching their full potential. We neither want nor expect each composition to be similar, so why should we be driven to follow such a ‘one-size-fits-all’ rule?

I suggest that we view the 1/3 ‘rule’ purely as a guide when preparing an image, adjusting from there as desired to fulfill our artistic vision.

So forget about those thirds as being the rule, think of them instead as being a helpful starting point to what is the greater rule, the rule of BALANCE.

the ISO noise relationship - and why it doesn't matter

There has been a lot of buzz recently about whether ISO is meaningful or not in a DLSR world, and coming from a background in electronics this I’d like to add my own perspective. To explain how ISO impacts an image we have to look at the way the DSLR sensor converts light.

A DSLR sensor consists of millions of elements, each capable of converting light into an analog voltage output. This output, varying with light intensity, is then fed to an AD converter to present a digital output for further processing.

Let's look deeper at a single element. As light strikes this it will create an output voltage in proportion to the intensity of light striking it. As with any imperfect system there will be an added component of electrical noise introduced into this voltage. In most circumstances the voltage created by noise will be minor compared to that created by light but as the light intensity falls then the percentage of signal that represents noise increases when compared to that created by the light.

To visualize, let say on a scale of 0 to 1000 the brightest light the sensor can capture is 1000, and in an absence of light there is an average sensor output (noise) of 1. In a strong light scenario the signal to noise ratio is 1000/1, the noise being insignificant. However, in a low light scenario our comparable light might drop down to 10, giving us a SN ratio of 10/1. Obviously in this case noise becomes a more significant part of the image. So now we understand that the lower the light, the higher the impact of the noise component.

So what does this have to do with ISO? As a reminder of history in the film days ISO referred to the sensitivity of the film itself. In the DLSR world this is a throwback to those days and does not really relate. Changing the ISO on a DLSR does not change the sensitivity of the sensor in any way, but simply informs the processor how signal output should be multiplied (ie to replicate the effects in a film scenario).

Taking our low-light example above it does not matter whether we shoot the image at ISO 100, 200 or even 3200, the signal output from the sensor is the same. If we assume that the baseline for this example is ISO 100, what actually happens when we shoot at ISO 200 is that a multiplication factor of 2 will be applied to the sensor output. What is important to understand is that this multiplication factor will be applied to the noise also - the more we have to amplify the light/signal to get within acceptable range the greater the introduction of noise.

As pointed out in recent debates, image quality should not differ whether you shoot at a high ISO, or whether instead you drive up the exposure in post-processing to accomplish the same exposure (assuming that noise introduced in the post-processing process is so minimal it can be discounted which appears to be the case).

So if we are saying that ISO is somewhat irrelevant why should we consider it when shooting? Well all is well and good with the theory but we still need to see the histogram and the image on the LCD display - for both we need output so adjusting ISO (output multiplier) to get within desired range makes perfect sense.

At the end of the day the old story remains true; more and more noise will be introduced as you increase ISO (OR push in post-processing), and that for the highest quality image you have to have the highest quality light.

Nothing changes……..

a tripod mindset

Most serious photographers are acutely aware of the key benefits of using a tripod. All should be aware that a good, sturdy tripod minimizes the effects of camera shake to help ensure sharpness. Most are also aware that this stability then permits longer exposures, allowing creative elements like the smoothing of flowing water, adding motion blur and night shots.

Beyond that, many photographers also see a tripod as an essential asset when it comes to taking macros, panoramas, HDR or focus-stacking images.

However, while reflecting my own work I have come to realize that a tripod offers much more. I feel that as soon as I attach my camera to a tripod both my mindset and workflow change.

The first change I see is a more critical view of the subject and the commitment of time. This leads me to pause and become more selective with what I choose to undertake from the outset..

The next benefit lies in visualization and capture of the image. I find myself more considerate of the composition, and more attentive to the technical aspects. Once camera and tripod are set I find myself more willing to wait for a change in the environment , patiently prepared to fire the shutter when the optimal moment arrives.

This leads to the final benefit, review and adjustment. Following each shot I always perform the regular checks (histogram, focal point etc) but using a tripod I tend to pay a greater attention to detail -checking for distracting elements, zooming in to ensure image sharpness etc.

For me the habit of using a tripod encourages this shift in mindset, ultimately resulting in higher quality output. Of course there are scenarios where the use of a tripod may not make sense, but I would recommend keeping one on hand for those moments where the luxury of time exists.

Get out, and shoot good light

shout out for Fstoppers

Fstoppers.com has become a favorite site of mine, describing itself as following;

“Fstoppers is an online community aimed at educating and inspiring photographers, videographers, and creative professionals. 

Where many sites offer interesting articles on news and how to’s Fstoppers rises above with the involvement of its “community”. As well as allowing artists to upload a portfolio of images, the community in general are encouraged to rate images within a sliding scale - the lowest (1) being what the community would feel was a snapshot (ie anyone could take, no thought put into the capture) to a high of 5, which would be world class (guidelines for rating is available on the site).

This, I feel provides me, the photographer with (anonymous) feedback on how an broader audience my view my work

In addition to this community groups are encouraged where the community can request/discuss the merits of posted images. As we are all aware of how I feel about the benefits of critique I find this a very useful tool. Whilst we may not always agree (this should be an expectation) I find it always insightful to hear the opinion of others, and there has been a number of instances where suggestions have resulted in noticeable improvement.

If all this were not enough the crowning glory for me is their ‘Critique the Community’ contests. Here a pair of judges (typically the founders Lee Morris and Patrick Hall) perform a video critique of submitted images, and rate them based of their own sliding scale. Whilst very entertaining in its own right I find these videos very informative and helping me assess my own images. One point of interest - the hosts often disagree. This tends to be entertaining and reinforces the fact that art is subjective and that we can’t expect everyone to like/dislike our work.

So make sure you get yourself to Fstoppers.com and check out what they have to offer.

Happy shooting!

the art of the critique

The Critique

The critique process is one of the most underestimated learning tools available to photographers. Coming from an original meaning of "critical examination or review of the merits of something," this provides and understanding of what makes compelling artwork attractive, both from the perspective of the artist and that of a broader audience.

However, the process may not be for the faint of heart; requesting a critique can leave an artist feeling vulnerable, the critic on the other hand may feel unqualified or afraid to face the possible disagreement of others. However I feel it important to overcome such reservations as the process provides so much opportunity for growth.

But what is the process of critique, and who should participate?

A good critique should provide an artist feedback on all aspects that strengthen or diminish a requested image, and include the emotion/story the artwork evokes. All of this is on the understanding that art is extremely subjective and that the contributor has the ultimate decision in following their own artistic taste.

The Process

First off I want to dispel any feeling that you have to be an expert to provide feedback on images. In my book as long as you have a set of eyes, an opinion and a willingness to help others that is qualification enough. In fact feedback coming from a perspective free of preconceived ‘rules’ can be just as valuable as that provided by a seasoned critic.

Following is my view on how an evaluation should work, and the feedback that should be presented to the artist. In ALL cases this should be done both with sincerity and with the intent of helping the artist.

Feeling

Enlarge the image to full screen - take at least 10 seconds to view and ‘feel’ the image (no analysis at this point). Acknowledge that initial reaction - describe an overview of what you see overall, how the image makes you feel.

Seeing

Start with identifying the positives in the image. What do you feel strengthens the image (composition/processing etc). Be sure to include a number of positive elements to balance the perhaps easier to spot flaws.

Move on to the negatives. Identify key elements that diminish the image. If these vastly outweigh the positives above focus on one or two of the most obvious flaws, consider those where you can offer correction steps. If in doubt show restraint with negative comments.

Thinking

What changes do you think can be made that might make the image stronger (eg cropping, color correction, removal of distracting elements etc)?

Closing

Finish the critique with an overview of the key points you have covered. Be sure to state that your critique reflects your own artistic taste and that this may differ to that of the artist/others. Other suggestions include thanking the artist for being open to critique, indicating that you are looking forward to seeing a re-edit of the image, or future works by the artist etc.

The Benefits

So now we understand the critique, where is the payback for the time that has been invested?

Benefits for the artist

  • like it or not, our personal images contain an underlying emotional element. They capture a snapshot of the environment and experience we felt at the instant the shutter was triggered and can have a strong influence on how we feel about an image. Other viewers are decoupled from this emotional element (unless perhaps captured adequately and included in the image) and are free to analyze on the basis of what is presented in front of them.

  • we learn how a broader audience reacts to our work, the resulting feedback can aid growth

  • through experience we become better critics of our own work, thus promoting growth both technically and in our confidence

Benefits for the critic

  • offering critique forces us to not simply react to an image. This require us to to pause and investigate, dissecting and understanding the elements that strengthen or diminish images.

  • performing critiques subconsciously influences our own work in a positive manner

  • we become better critics of our own images, resulting in a higher quality output

  • we learn the ability to decouple the emotional attachment to images, to stand back and view artwork as others would.

The Guidelines

With such growth potential I would recommend that all embrace the critique process. Here are a few brief guidelines to help make each participation successful;

  • respect the viewpoint of others and be open to disagreement - there is no right or wrong, only opinions

  • all comments should be well-intended, clear and sincere - remember the goal is to help one another grow

  • consider the feelings of those you are critiquing. If you are unable to comment on any positive aspects within an image then don’t comment at all.

  • invest the time into providing a meaningful critique. Help others understand what you feel and see in an image - brevity such as “I like it” is little help to anyone without understanding the ‘why’..

I guarantee that being involved in the critique process will result in significant growth and provide a better understanding of the diverse viewpoints we all hold.

truth in photography

A question that often comes up that I hear asks if a photograph is ‘real’, or whether it has been enhanced in any way. My immediate answer is “does it matter?”

Many look at photography and see it purely as a snapshot of reality, misunderstanding the art-form that it represents. Yes, in some forms (ie photojournalism, documentaries) a photograph needs to closely represent the sight as seen, especially so if the photographer identifies images as a true representation of fact.

However, in most cases images are created with the sole intent of providing visual appeal - in that respect then it is up to the photographer, to provide their own artistic impression to an image.

Is this cheating? Compare that to an artist - here a painter may perhaps paint a wonderful landscape, but do they paint exactly as seen, or do they leave out unsightly elements, add drams to a sky or make a sunset more vibrant etc to enhance the finished product?

Photography should be viewed in a similar light (excuse the pun) - in this case most often the ‘artist’ composes and captures a scene, having to remove elements that detract from the composition, and adjust other elements so they fall into the overall balance.

“But what about Photoshop?” I hear you say. Granted, the old masters did not have access to such digital tools, but do not think their images were manipulated any less. Yes, they could not merge images or add components, but every single print they made was adjusted heavily in the darkroom and before, starting with the choice of film and lens, the type of paper to print on and the chemicals to do so and the dodging and burning, all to create the desired look to the final image.

So again the question - if you see a wonderful image that takes your breath away, does it really matter that the photographer/artist worked creatively to produce such artwork? To me, that is the art of good photography.

Jamie Windsor covers this so well in his following YouTube video - view and draw your own conclusions;

Are these photographers CHEATING?

a need for inspiration

The early days of a New England winter can only be described as largely uninspiring, producing drab landscapes accompanied by increasingly shorter days. At this time I find it hard to get motivated, my creativity drifts into hibernation, craving for an environment that provides interest. This self-imposed hibernation ends as we enter the new year as winter storms start to become the norm, bland vegetation becoming covered by an accumulation of heavy snow and fresh wet powder highlights tree limbs.

Such was the case on this mid-January day. Following two days of perpetual snowfall the New England landscape was transformed from drab to fab, releasing the creative juices within and the desire to explore this winter wonderland. And although the lighting may not have been ideal for the most part that day it just felt so good to get out, to explore and enjoy a glorious day.

Are the resulting images world-beaters? Perhaps not but they are a true reflection the splendor witnessed at that time and a constant reminder to me of this enjoyable outing.

— click on images to expand —

abandoned - an adventure in old

Another wonderful find during a recent road trip. This abandoned home was discovered when driving across the back roads of Maine, and one that certainly caused me turn back and investigate.

The home has so much character, from the weathered exterior, to a partially visible inside and the irony of young trees growing against an aged wooden frame. Gently falling snow provided a challenge but resultant streaks add a sense of coldness and drama that I feel adds to the image.

— click images to enlarge —


'tis the season - a case for repeat visits

I was looking at the work of an admired photographer recently and was struck by the comment that he never revisits a scene. While I understand the view that a sole visit helps maintain focus and the need to get it right the first time I feel that attitude leaves so much on the table;

1) Planning. Even when paying the utmost attention to detail it can be extremely challenging to fully determine image quality from the camera LCD panel. The possibility for improvement may not be understood until the processing stage, and this may drive a plan for a return visit.

2) Timing. We are all aware of how lighting conditions impact images, but we also need to consider weather and seasonal conditions (does the weather reflect the mood of the image, do cloud details add/subtract from the image etc). With all things considered I feel a photographer would have to be extremely lucky to capture ideal conditions on their first visit.

3) Variation on a theme. Of course repeat visits are required if the photographer wants to capture a subject under varying conditions (before/after, time lapse, moods, seasons etc)

For my own workflow I like to scout and take test images, and use post production to drive decisions on follow up visits. This may not always be practical (eg when traveling) or even needed of course but I do try to keep my options open.

Following is a series of shots I took over the period of approximately a year. this is a place I have hiked on multiple occasions. The first image is one I took for reference - image #2 the result of waiting for the appropriate conditions (snowstorm) and #3 just because I thought autumn may provide a different perspective.

a state of disrepair

Throughout my travels I am struck by the number of buildings that are either in a state of severe disrepair or are abandoned altogether. Structures that are insufficiently protected can quickly deteriorate over a harsh New England winter and it is a fact of life that many are left to succumb due to the need for perpetual upkeep.

However, such objects can provide a wealth of character and interest. A project dear to my heart is to try and capture the essence of these beauties, whether abandoned or just in a state of disrepair, and before they disappear from the landscape.

I plan to add blog entries as I finding structure or objects of interest, so check back for updates.

car No. 707

This weathered train car was purchased and moved with the intent of opening as a diner, plans which unfortunately never came to fruition. Now it lies in a state of sad dereliction alongside a busy road in Grand Isle, Vermont.

According to research, the Rutland Railroad car No. 707 was either a parlor or a smoker car (not a passenger car) built by the Wagner Palace Car Company of Buffalo, N.Y., most likely in 1891. It’s 70 feet long, weighs more than 30 tons and has the unusual design feature of three — rather than two — six-wheel trucks, presumably to increase passenger comfort.

an early invitation to winter

One week I’m out dashing around tying to capture the glorious Vermont Autumn and the next - snow!

I had planned to take time with a friend to go shoot remaining autumn foliage images featuring Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s highest peak) as a backdrop. Although the weather was not great for photography (clear skies) I found the thought of shooting in reasonable temperatures appealing (after freezing taking pictures the night before). I always look at the opportunity to feel my fingers when shooting as a bonus:-)

As we headed toward our target location it quickly became evident that a passing storm had dumped snow on the higher elevations. This led us to rethink a little and after hiking our intended spot we headed to the hills. Sometimes the best laid plans need to be changed to make the most of the prevailing conditions. All in all a fun afternoon spent with good company in beautiful surroundings.

—click on an image to enlarge —



a fall morning in Belvidere

Fall/Autumn in New England is such a spectacular time of year - the eyes are delighted by a feast of color as deciduous foliage turns red and gold. During peak season I prefer to stay away from the iconic fall sites in Vermont (and the chance of crowds of ‘leaf-peepers’) , opting for locations that are a bit less traveled and peaceful.

Thus I found myself at Belvidere Pond, a secluded spot a little north of Cambridge Vermont. Having left home before daybreak my hope was to capture peak foliage lit by early morning sun. As is so often the case however, Mother nature had a plan of her own. Working under a cloudy and flat sky all I could do was to scout compositions and awaiting improved lighting conditions.

On the plus side there was absolutely no wind, resulting in a glass-like pond and the chance to capture some stunning reflections. In the end my patience paid off, my quiet time waiting for light interrupted only by the sound of Loons on the pond and a flock of Canada Geese rising from their rest as they head south for the winter.

From the images presented you will see my journey , from the early morning atmosphere of rustic colors under rising clouds, through to images with sun breaking through clouds and spotlighting bands of foliage

All in all it was a very relaxing and tranquil morning, and images aside the beauty and stillness of nature left me feeling refreshed and ready to face the world.

— click on an image to enlarge and see details —

seeing in black and white

I love the rich monochromatic creations of the old master photographers; their work has an unsurpassed quality, their techniques continue to be replicated across generations. But in a modern world where color is so so readily available why do black and white images continue to excite? The fact is that restricting a view to black and white provides certain advantages. Removing the distraction of color results in texture, contrast and composition becoming more pronounced, enhancing the underlying character of the image. Monochrome images also present an alternative and often interestingly new view of our familiar world, in fact many photographers are so enamored that color is not an option for them.

One of the more abstract skills in photography is the ability to 'see' in black and white. Scenes with high contrast/bold lines may make it a little easier to imagine a monochromatic result but as the human eye/brain is more sensitive to certain colors (red, orange, yellow) others can produce results that are much harder to predict. The advent of digital images and processing presents the modern photographer with infinitely more flexibility than those who shoot film (with film type & speed fixed for each roll, filters planned and added in advance) but nonetheless creating interest in black and white from what we see in color remains a challenge.

That is not to say that B&W images should be valued in any way above their colorful counterparts but the next time you view such work do so with an appreciation of the effort and skill involved to reach that result.

I would be interested to hear the views of  fellow photographers - do you have any tips & tricks to share on your process for producing black & white artwork?

see my artwork at the Darkroom Gallery

As mentioned elsewhere my image 'Lady of the Woods' is now on display at the juried ‘Trees’ exhibition hosted by the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont.

The gallery is displaying all finalists through 28 October 2018, with an artist's reception on the 13th October at 4pm.

I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. Click HERE for a link to the Darkroom Gallery

Click on image to open full size in a lightbox

the story behind - 'Hestitant Step'

This is a story of a marriage between 'lady' luck and 'master' planning. The intent of the image below was simple - to capture an interesting rock jutting out of the lake, with a long exposure softening distracting details in both water and sky.

Unfortunately, as I set up I found the rock occupied by a group of boys using the rock as a jumping point. No problem - I set up and fired off some test shots to ensure settings were optimal prior to the installation of a 10 stop ND filter.

Then it was a matter of waiting............, and once the boys drifted off to their next exciting adventure I had the rock to myself.

It was only after reviewing the images at home that I realized that I had captured a young lad as he was hesitant, seemingly pondering the jump ahead. Whether the timing was dumb luck or an innate sense I can't say, but I feel that merging both fast and slow images produces a result that is far greater than the sum of each individually.

BTW - each time I look at this I see a face in the rock, almost squinting toward the boy. If you see the same please contact me and let me know that I'm not going crazy (or at least not alone....)

The Hesitant Step