Taken with a FujiFilm GFX 50s and 32-64 lens, ISO 200 hand held 5 part horizontal panorama.
Calico Rock has to be one of the best places in Arkansas to go and grab a panorama and feature both wonderful scenery and the White River. Just down stream on the White River you will find the town of Calico Rock and in this photograph the town is visible just off in the distance. You can spend the whole day here and the scene is always changing. On this day, I was there around 5:00 p.m. and there were no clouds in the sky at all. Many times I have been there and just had a huge blue sky with no clouds. For such a shot, clouds to me make it much more interesting, period. However on this day just as sun was starting to go down, a line of clouds rolled in and the moon rose over them. I could not have asked for a better scene.
On this evening I was shooting the Fujifilm GFX 50S, which is Fuji’s new entry into the Medium Format range of cameras. Fuji is using the same 50Mp sensor from Sony that has been used by Phase One, Pentax and Hasselblad. But this is the first large format camera from Fuji ever, as before all of their cameras have been APS-C. More about the camera in later reviews, but I have to say I am totally impressed with what can be done with this camera. I knew that the sensor had a lot of range since I used the Phase One versions, but never hand held. The Fuji GFX is both considerably lighter than the Phase One XF and the 120mm lens has image stabilization something that no Phase One lens has. Normally I have taken this in 15 exposures, 3 for each segment but with the GFX, I just took an exposure for the middle of the exposure range and pushed up the shadows and pulled down the highlights. Neither of the extremes were blown out. In fact the shadow recovery rivals the Nikon D810 and in fact may be just 1/2 a stop better. But the real amazing facet was just how sharp the 120mm lens was, outstanding optic.
This image has shadow push in several areas, the entire lower half of the left and right sides were pushed at least 2 stops and the middle of the image which was not in the sun was push at least 1 stop. The sky on the far left was pulled down 1 1/2 stops and the sky on the far right was pulled down 1 stop.
I took these Fuji Raw files straight to a panorama in Lightroom first, and then worked on the image in both Lightroom and Photoshop with several Topaz tools.
Overall the color and clarity is excellent throughout, and I have attached a couple of full sized crops below to show this. The first is the lower right side featuring the bluff and the trees along the river. This part of the image was pushed as much as 2 stops and I still have a nice green color in the trees that are just starting to leaf out. The other crop is from the center of the image where the sun was shinning and again you can see that the amount of fine details is very impressive.
Written for PhotosofArkansas by Paul F Caldwell
Taken with a Phase One IQ100 back and Phase One XF camera @ 35mm LS lens, @ ISO 100 Single frame with a lot of push in the shadows.
The view of the White River from Calico Rock is one of the best in the state. Here you have a huge sweeping bend in the river and a beautiful valley that is full of deciduous trees that can produce a wonderful fall color display (however this did not happen in 2016). This spot on the river is just above the town of Calico Rock and you can easily see the town from this spot. I prefer to work this spot in the early morning or late evening. In the late summer to early fall the sun will set just off to the left of the frame and allows for a wonderful afterglow. In the winter and later fall the sun will be too far to the left to be really much of a part of the shot.
If you come to this spot in late May to the end of June the sun will set right over the lone pine tree and will give you a lot more illumination on the river and trees below the bluff. Calico Rock is also a great spot for night photography as there is not very much local light pollution that will effect your shot. However be warned that during most nights, the river fog will quickly rise over the top of the bluff and start to block out your view of the sky. It’s a great thing to watch as the fog starts to build up upstream and then starts to roll down the valley, eventually filling everything up. You will have to continuously watch the front of your lens as it’s very easy for the outer element to fog up.
Just another great spot to spend an afternoon in Arkansas.
Taken with a Fuji X-Pro2, ISO 400, 35mm F2.0 lens, at F9, Panorama taken in 4 vertical images, each segment 3 exposures for a total of 12. Worked up in Adobe LR
Calico Rock, is one of the more interesting spots on the White River in Arkansas. You can drive right to it and when you arrive, you have a sweeping view of one of the larger bends of the White River. The bluff is about 150 feet above the river and you really cannot see much of the bluff itself. However there is one vantage spot where you can look to the west an there is a small out cropping that adds a lot to the photograph. Many call this “little Hawksbill Craig” after the larger feature up on the Buffalo River. However I just like to photograph the valley. If you look downstream, you will see the town of Calico Rock on the left hand bank of the river.
This shot was taken in a series of vertical segments, 4 total and for each segment I exposed 3 images. I then worked each of the 3 shots into a HDR balanced image in Lightroom. After that, I took the final 4 images and created a panorama. It’s very important to realize that you do not want to do any work on the individual HDR segments before the panorama merge. I prefer to use the boundary warp feature of Lightroom also as most of panoramas in taken like this will only work in a spherical format and thus your top and bottom edges will have some problems.
The Fuji X-Pro2 makes this very easy with it’s automatic bracketing shutter, where you only have to press the shutter once to fire all 3 brackets.
I have found that Fuji made some very good positive changes to the dynamic range of the X-Pro2 as can be seen in this image. Also Adobe must have done a bit of tweaking to their X-trans conversion for the X-Pro2.
You can get to Calico Rock from Little Rock, in about 3 hours and the drive is quite beautiful.