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.
Taken with a Pentax K1 in three vertical segments of 4 exposures each, LR used for HDR conversion to 3 vertical segemnts, Stitched in Lightroom into single 3 part panorama, ISO 100, F11 Pentax 15-30mm Lens @ 17mm.
In the late summertime of September, the Arkansas skies can surprise you. Many times you will find a pure blue sky about 1 hour before sunset, only to see some light cloud cover roll right as the sun sets. On this evening, I was able to catch some of this at Sam’s Throne. I had hoped to have clear skies as I was going to stay for a while after dark and work the Milky Way with the Pentax Astrotracer feature, but the sunset was a added bonus for sure.
Sam’s Throne is one of the premier climbing spots in Arkansas due to the bluffs that run for over 1 mile. The rock is a type of sand stone and and during the sunset will take on an orange color. The rocks are also covered with a bright orange lichen, one that I have really only found in this part of Arkansas. So at the times of bright and intense light, the rock of the bluffs can really stand out. I like to work from a spot where you can catch both the true throne (the smaller peak in the center of the image) and pick up the bluff line. During the late summertime the sun will set just off the bluff through the trees and can add a wonderful effect as it will accent the pines at the top of the bluff line.
This photograph, is quite a composition as it was taken in 12 frames, 4 from each station in a short panorama. I then blended each segment with Lightroom’s HDR tool into a 3 dng files, that were then combined into a 3 part panorama. This allowed me to capture both the brightest highlights in the shot and keep the noise out of my shadows. The green of the trees was just perfect on this evening, just a bit of yellow starting to show up in the tops. There were a few trees already starting to go into a full color display, but these were more towards the top of the bluff.
You can pick any of hundreds of spots to work at Sam’s. In this shot, you can see on the left side the same bluff line as it has worked around the hillside. I sometimes like to work from that spot also as you can still capture the sunset and you have a different perspective of Sam’s.
It takes about 2.5 hours to get to this part of Arkansas from Little Rock, and the drive north from Russellville is well worth it, especially in the Spring and Fall when the trees take on very unique colors.
Taken with a Canon 1ds MKII (16MP), multishot bracket for exposure, Canon 24-70 @ 24mm F 11 iso 200
This an example where it pays to work with older files, in this case, way back 2004, with more modern software. I have taken a lot of sunsets at Sam’s Throne, however this is still one of my all time favorites. When I purchased my Canon 1ds MKII, which had 16MP, I started retracing many of trips to places I loved to go as I felt that 16MP would be about the maximum in resolution for a long time to come. We all know that changed pretty quickly. However on this evening, I found the best shot was after the sun set as it painted a wonderful afterglow in the sky. Sam’s Throne was just starting to change for fall but there was plenty of color around. To make the shot perfect, the couple of clouds that rolled into the frame helped to breakup the solid sky.
Sam’s Throne is one of premier climbing spots in Arkansas but it’s also one of the best for photography. You have a huge bluff line that runs at least 1/2 mile or longer and allows for wonderful views of the Big Creek valley. In this view you can see the Throne itself and all the rolling hilss that work their way off into the distance. The forest here is a good mix of both pine and deciduous trees, mainly Oak, and Gum but there are also some nice Maples scattered though the valley. One of the best aspects of Sam’s Throne is the fact that you can drive very close to the bluffline and you only have about a 1/8 of a mile walk to get started. Sam’s Throne is a great place to camp also as there is now a primitive campground with about 10 sites.
As this series of shots was taken with an older Canon Digital camera, the noise in the shadows was excessive. The 1ds MKII was not noted for extreme dynamic range. Back in the day, I shot almost everything in brackets knowing I would need multiple shots to get the exposure coverage I needed without excessive noise even at base iso or one step up. I had worked this image many times with various HDR software toolsets, but never really received the output I was looking for. Now that Adobe Lightroom has an excellent HDR tool, I decided to go back and try this shot again. The result was impressive and I found a much better overall image. The big advantage to HDR in LR is that Lightroom leaves that output as an .dng, in essence a raw file. This means you have all the flexibility of a raw file but with the added exposure blend, and you can still use the excellent Lightroom Toolset. I have started going back to a lot of my early Canon photography and working it back in LR and the results have been impressive.
Taken with a Canon 1D MK IV, Canon 24-70 Lens @F11, iso 250, Multiple exposure technique used to create photo. In the summer months it’s often very easy to catch a late afternoon thunderstorm rolling in behind Pinnacle mountain. On this evening the light had started out with just a bright sun with very few clouds, but as the evening approached, bank of thunderheads rolled in to the left of Pinnacle. The wind seemed to die down quite a bit, so since I was using older Canon equipment with a very limited dynamic range, I went ahead and shot a 4 shot bracketed exposure. I was able to catch the sun just as it was starting to roll down behind the ridge behind Pinnacle. The contrast between the dark thunderhead and the high cirrus clouds was impressive and I stayed around for as long as could before it got too dark.