Waterfall and rushing stream, Alaska

When I was in Alaska working with great waterfalls and rushing streams, I experimented with rushing water and HDR. Everything I had read basically said that if you have too much movement you won’t be able to align anything. But, I thought, what if it’s only the water that is moving? So I figured I have nothing to lose by trying. And the results were great! I wanted to open up some of the shadows in the dark wet rock areas, and bring out the foreground more, and all of that worked really well although it might be hard still to see the detail in the dark areas this small on the web. The water just blended together really well and I was happy I had tried it because now I know that I can use HDR for situations like this again. I used Nik’s HDR Efex Pro to process this series of three exposures. The one thing you need to watch out for is the water or any moving highlights in your scene. White on white on white can cause a blow-out area, a section that clips on the histogram and you get a strange ‘blob-like’ shape and banding where there’s no data. It doesn’t look good on a print either with no ink going down on the paper. I normally make my darkest exposure the one that is bright enough to bring up the shadow details without any clipping. But in this case I stayed more clear of the right side, just to be sure that the white build-up didn’t happen. It’s all about experimenting but it sure is fun to be out there doing that!


This is just one of similar scenes you can see on our Alaska Tour in 2011. We’ll be visiting Glacier Bay and Icy Straits, an area rich with marine life in the form of sea lions, sea otters humpbacks and Orcas, along with Tufted puffins, Kittiwakes, and a host of other birds. Combined with the dramatic scenery of Glacier Bay with tidal glaciers and clear blue icebergs, it’s a not-to-be missed place. This will be my 10th trip there and I still find new things to see and have new experiences.