Last week I mentioned on Facebook that I’d like to take a spherical panorama of a brook covered in ice and surrounded by snow covered trees. A friend in my town replied back a few minutes later and invited me right over. He had a perfect location behind his house in a forest of cedar trees. I snowshoed the camera gear in, trying to carefully choose my path so it wouldn’t show much in the panorama. The snow dripping off the trees all around me turned out to be quite a challenge. I had to keep cleaning the lens between HDR brackets when I was shooting the top half of the scene. I chose to shoot 5 brackets of 1.6 EV stops instead of 7 or 9 brackets of 1 to 1.3 EV stops to cut down on the amount of water droplets on the lens. This presented an even bigger challenge in post-processing to reproduce the entire dynamic range in so few brackets. In the end I had to make the compromise of overexposing the sky and snow a little to get enough shadow detail in the brook and trees. Overall I’m happy with the results because it looks about as natural as it did to my eye when I shot it. Click on the photo below to explore the entire panorama full screen.
Camera settings: Nikon D700 & Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 24mm, f/16, ISO 200, and 1/80 to 1.3 second shutter speeds. I chose the small aperture, low ISO, and longer shutter speeds to capture smooth, flowing water.
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