Amami Superman Photography

A Place to Share My Photos

Jan 20, 2009

When you got to go...

Posted by Amami Superman

What's up with me? I woke up early, AGAIN, today and decided to go take some pictures. It was a little after 6:00AM and the morning sky was starting to brighten and you could tell it was going to be a beautiful day. I wanted to take some photos of a waterfall I know of to the south of where I live. Back when I used to race my bikes I would always practice on the off roads in the mountains. One of the roads I used to take home long time ago was only accessible by bike due to landslides. That road had a pretty big waterfall and I thought I would hike up the road and go see what it was like.

I was surprised to find that they sorta fixed the road and I was able to get all the way up to the waterfall in my 4WD. Well, needless to say, the waterfall wasn't as grand as I remembered it. Maybe it was just that time of year and the amount of water coming off the falls was very little. I don't know. I just remember it being bigger.

"Well," I thought, "I guess I'll take a few since I'm here." I don't know, it didn't feel right taking a picture of a dinky little waterfall. It's kind of like when you go to the garden and go to pull up a carrot to eat only to find the carrot you pulled up is way too small from what you were looking for. Oh well.

I started at the bottom way down no where near the waterfall. Every angle I chose didn't seem right. I would take a few shots and move to a new spot. Take a few more and move to a new spot. This went on for a bit until I was almost at the top just under the waterfall. I wasn't satisfied with any of the pictures I took. I did chose one, however, to retouch in Photoshop and show you. The only reason I'm proud of this picture is, I took it with completely manual settings. No auto anything.

Here is the original untouched photo.

Shutter Speed: 3.0 sec
Exposure Program: Manual
F-Stop: f/32.0
Aperture Value: f/32
Max Aperture Value: f/5.1
ISO Speed Ratings: 100
Focal Length: 38.0mm
Lens: 18.0-55.0mm f/3.5-5.6

As you can see, it's not much to talk about. I did try to make it look a little more interesting with Photoshop. Here's that picture.

Didn't do a super whole lot to it. Just messed with the variable settings and gave it a soft glow. Giving a photo in Photoshop a soft glow is pretty easy. There are loads of different techniques but I use one that's pretty simple and looks nice.

1. Duplicate layer.
2. Select duplicate layer and add a Gaussian blur of about 20 pixels.
3. Duplicate this layer
4. Select top most duplicate layer and change the blending mode to Soft Light.
5. Select the middle duplicate layer and change the blending mode to Lighten.
6. Adjust the opacity of these two layers until you feel comfortable with the amount of glow you have.

Something to note about this method, the amount of blur you give for the Gaussian blur may vary depending on the quality of your photo.

When I was leaving to go take these pictures this morning, Hikari's older brother, Kazuhito was strapping his surfboard to his friend's car and I told them I was going out to take some photos. They told me they were going to the same area to go surfing so I thought I would stop by and take some photos. It was pretty tough taking pictures like this. I had to keep it on manual focus because the camera kept wanting to focus on the waves in the foreground. So that with the zoom kept me busy taking these pictures. I think the guy in front is Kazuhito, my wife's older brother.

I don't know who this guy is. He was getting in the water about where I was taking photos so I took a few of him.

I think this is a shot of Daigo, the guy who runs a surf shop with Kazuhito.

It was about this time that I could feel some pressure building and I knew it was time to head home. I don't want to sound disgusting or anything but, how does your butt now when it's close to a toilet? Seriously! I can't count how many close calls I've had making it home in the nick of time. How does your butt know when you open the bathroom door and you're going for your button and zipper to lay on the pressure? Sorry if I came across in a gross kind of way. But it is something that makes me wonder...

So I was at home and it was such a nice day, I asked Hikari if she wanted to go for a drive. I told her we were going to the mountains to look for waterfalls. I had heard of one waterfall that was pretty hard to get to. You have to walk up the river quite a ways after leaving your car and then do a bit of rock climbing.

We got to the spot where we leave the car and started to hike up the river. As we got farther into the mountains, the rocks grew into boulders. Now I know what they meant by "rock climbing". We got as far as Hikari could go and after that was impassable unless you wanted to wade across the water. I had come prepared for this. I put my camera and lenses in big Zip-lock bags and brought a big heavy duty trash back to put my camera case in. I took my shoes and socks off along with my shirt.

So there I was in shorts and a t-shirts getting ready to wade across this river. Now mind you, even though I live on a sub-tropical island, river water is still COLD. I got my feet wet moving to the rock where I planned on getting in and I cringed at how cold it was. I got down to easy my self in the water, all along Hikari is telling me to be careful and wouldn't you know it, I slipped onto my butt and slid down the rock into the water. Petrified of getting my camera wet, all I could do was hold my trash bag as high over my head as I could and fell into the water. I completely went under and part of my trash bag. I didn't realize how deep it was were I was getting in. I thought it was only waist deep or so. As I surface I let out some kind of howling noise and then all I could hear was Hikari rolling around on the ground laughing at me. As we were going home later on she said something along the lines of you couldn't see it funnier even if it was in a movie. And then she mentioned it being funnier than Jack Black or something like that.

So my wade turned into a swim and I made it across the river and climbed up the bank. The river was so mind-numbing cold I had to take a few minutes and try to get some feeling back in my extremities.

It was a really neat water fall but, I couldn't find any good angles that I liked. There was one that I wanted to try to get but it would require some rock climbing and didn't have my shoes. So I took a few and climbed up a bit higher and took a few more then climbed back down. I'll show you one photo of where I was shooting but it's not that great. You can't even see half of this waterfall from this angle. I climbed up about 3/4 of the way with no shoes but I turned back when it really got hairy. I want to take a photo but from the other direction at the top of all these rocks.

The other thing I didn't like about this area wasn't so much the bad angles but the lighting. It was too bright for my liking. If I do come back here to take more photos, it's going to have to be early in the morning or late evening. I'm thinking early morning so I don't get stuck in the dark on the way back.

Speaking of the way back, swimming back across the river was worst than the first crossing. I picked a different spot to cross and it ended up being deeper than the first spot. Hikari just laughed at me the whole time I was swimming back.


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Keep the language clean please. I have family that see this. Tell us what part of the world you're in.