Living where I do, on an island in SW Florida, surrounded by mangroves, I have become fascinated with the role they play in the cycle of aquatic life here. These walking trees, as they are sometimes called, are photographically interesting to me. But photographing them is a challenge. For starters, it is impossible to walk through or across a mangrove forest so they have to be approached by boat. Hence, I have to climb out of the boat and set up my carbon fiber (somewhat impervious to the saltwater environment) tripod in waist deep water, mount the camera, and frame the intended shot. All rather scary considering I am working with several thousand dollars worth of camera and lens just inches from the saltwater. Did I mention the bottom is very soft and I often sink up to mid calf in the ooze? Most of the shots have been made with an ultra wide angle lens and polarizing filter. To compensate for the high dynamic range of the setting- deep shadows among the roots and bright sky above – I take a sequence of seven images: one, two, and three stops over and under plus the correct exposure. Back in the studio, after importing the RAW files into Lightroom, I process the seven images with Photomatix Pro to obtain a single best HDR file. That photo is then imported into Topaz B&W Effects plugin to be converted to B&W and tweaked with some local adjustments. Finally, back in Lightroom, I make the final adjustments. While I am pleased with the results, thus far, I will likely try some other processes.
The project is challenging, to say the least, and I really don’t know where it will lead, but I intend to follow along.
For great travel writing and musing be sure to visit On the Go with Lynne.