View Full Version : Ithaca Falls in B&W

Rachel Hollander
07-27-2013, 09:49 AM
I spent last weekend in Ithaca, New York with friends attempting to relive some of our college years. We also visited several of the waterfalls and parks in the area. This is Ithaca Falls near the bottom of one of the gorges that cuts through the Cornell campus and one of my favorites.

This is a 5D3 in camera HDR and then converted to B&W in Nik. Taken at dusk.

Canon 5D3
16-35 II @ 25mm
3 exposure HDR (2 sec, 0.5 sec and 8 sec)
ISO 100
Tripod, remote release, 2 stop GND filter, levels, curves, selective color adjustments, slight crop to level, sharpened in CS6.

C&C welcome and appreciated. Thanks,


Roman Kurywczak
07-27-2013, 03:29 PM
Hey Rachel,
Have a few questions for you mostly comp and then some others....did you explore other comps? I am looking at what you presented and am curious as to why you didn't go wider to include the tops of the trees on the left.....or crop down tighter to eliminate the 3 whitish areas at the 11 o'clock position? I am not familiar with the area so not sure if something was in the way.

I also see you did an in camera HDR...again....not familiar with the camera HDR, I feel the sky is still a bit hot....even with the GND. Did you bracket this as well? A manual exposure blend may have given more definition in the sky....as usually the FG in these situations is a good 6-9 stops difference in light......just something to keep in mind when heading out next time. I also think this would have worked as a vert (unless there was ugly stuff in the sky above) using the curve of the shoreline as a leading S.

The flow works for me although some may say that a slower SS would give more definition.....I always recommend bracket, bracket, bracket....you paid for the card and you can determine which flow you like best when you get home!

Looking forward to your responses as that will help many when faced with a similar scenario!

07-27-2013, 05:11 PM
The SS is almost perfect for me and I agree with Roman about the comp.
I too, would like a wider view.
I think the B & W works (maybe a bit less contrast?), I would like to see a color version.
You probably went with the B & W because of the cloudy white sky, tough to get a Long exposure for the water with a white sky.

Rachel Hollander
07-27-2013, 05:24 PM
Hi Roman - I am generally not an HDR fan but the 5D3 has this in camera HDR setting and I decided to give it a try. I had it set for 3 shots bracketed, I think you can also choose 5 and possibly 7 (not at home now so can't look at the camera or manual). The camera then processes the 3 raw files into an HDR JPEG. You also still have the raw files.

I did play around with different comps, including verticals but the sky wasn't very interesting and even stopped down all the way and with the GND, any long ss resulted in blown sky. At times I did go a bit wider to include the tops of the trees but I also had to avoid other people who were walking around the area and while bracketing would wind up in my shot plus 2 kids illegally swimming in the fg. I did try a vertical comp but felt that I somehow lost the size of the falls with it.

Hopefully this answers your questions.


Rachel Hollander
07-27-2013, 05:28 PM
Thanks Dan, I was composing my response to Roman when you posted. Here's a color version.

Thanks again,

07-27-2013, 05:36 PM
Rachel, I much prefer the color version, the sky has some blue to it and is not bad.
I would brighten it a tad and saturate the color a tad.
The water pops much better to me in the color version.

Don Railton
07-27-2013, 11:30 PM
Hello Rachel. Nice to relive old times, I say get it done while you still remember them..! I like both the colour and b&W options. The appeal for me with the B&W especially is the layering of the falls which carries through to the layers in the foreground rocks. Given this, IMHO, a small crop from the top to eliminate LHS sky would work. Even better option may have been to get a little lower and bring in more foreground at the expense of the sky. Understand you did have the rouge swimmer to deal with however which may have prevented this. I think the shutter speed is about right however I have made a mental note (based on Romans advice from his Iceland waterfall image) to bracket shots like this a lot more, something I have not done in the past...I hope you enjoyed your trip and did not get too much pressure to 'move on' when you were photographing.. regards DON

Rachel Hollander
07-28-2013, 08:41 AM
Thanks Gents. Here's a rp of the b&w with a slight crop from the top to remove the bright area above the trees. Dan- I'll have to play with the color a bit more but so far I prefer the b&w.

Thanks again,

Andrew McLachlan
07-28-2013, 07:41 PM
Hi Rachel, good call on the B&W, I think it suits this image very well. I prefer the repost with bits of sky cropped off. I'd would prefer the tree tops not peeking out in the middle of the top of the cascade and a little lower perspective would have hidden them from view. Shutter speed is perfect for the water movement and I love the details in the rock wall.

Rachel Hollander
07-28-2013, 08:06 PM
Thanks Andrew, much appreciated. I hadn't even noticed those treetops until you mentioned it. Now, they bother me.:e3 I'll have to see if I have other images without them.

Thanks again,

Steve Kaluski
07-29-2013, 02:38 AM
Rachel, apply a Lumin adjustment layer and apply to the water & sky, pulls back more detail and helps reduce the brighter whites. Might want to reduce it on the sky based on this, but you will get a better result on the hi res image.


Rachel Hollander
07-29-2013, 06:44 AM
Thanks Steve:wave:

Morkel Erasmus
07-30-2013, 02:28 PM
Roman's proper critique with thoughtful questions went a long way in laying down my initial thoughts. I especially agree with cropping a bit off the top to lose the white spots top LHS and to play around with various SS settings for the water.
I do like the contrasty monochrome more than the colour, and Steve has pulled some more detail from the darks as well (nice repost :5).