This is a picture that seemed a lot more interesting in my mind, and while the final result doesn’t stand up when too well when compared against some of my other images, it’s not bad and at the very least it does remind me of a fun family trip. And if that’s all it does, then it has accomplished its mission. I shot this after a day of driving and hiking near Denver with my wife, our kids, my cousin, and her husband and despite our general sense of exhaustion near the tail end of a busy but enjoyable day, I wanted to take one last opportunity to get a picture of the scenery. This small river was near the road we took down a mountain and after catching a few glimpses of it over the course of 10 or 15 minutes I asked if anyone would mind stopping for a quick photo opportunity. We pulled over near a trailhead and I hopped out, grabbed my Fuji X100F and tripod, and ran down to the river to take a few pictures.
The first mistake I made is neglecting to shoot in RAW. Normally I use JPEG on the Fuji because the results almost always come out looking fantastic, but this time was one of the exceptions. I wish I had more latitude to recover the blown-out highlights in the sky and warm up the foreground a bit, but as is the case with many things in life, you live and learn. The next mistake I made, which maybe wasn’t a mistake but more of an example of my inexperience, was not knowing how to compose the shot. I wasted about ten minutes taking pictures of the river that just didn’t look all that great, and then I found the spot you see here with some rocks jutting out on the right-hand side. That gave me the focal point I didn’t realize I needed, and I used that to basically anchor the viewer’s attention and give people something to catch their amidst the chaos of the rushing water. Had I thought about that sooner I would have taken greater care to compose more images like this one, but in the end this is what I got so this will have to do.
It’s not that this is an awful picture, just that I see it as more of an example of unused potential: there’s a much better image waiting to be uncovered here, and if I’m ever in the position to shoot a scene like this again I’ll have a better sense of what to do. And as for the answer to that question–what to do–I did take a few steps to at least ensure that the rushing water appeared as you see it. I activated my camera’s 3-stop ND filter, set the ISO to 200, and the aperture to f/16 in order to limit the light as much as possible. I also used a two-second self-timer to make sure any vibrations I might have made when pressing the shutter button did not affect the image. Finally, I didn’t spend any time at all thinking about what would happen if I got my tripod wet :) It dried out just fine! I’m glad we pulled over to get this shot and, as I often do here on Weekly Fifty, I’m using it as a fun learning opportunity.