Snowmelt

Flooded Swamp

Well, it’s not one of my best, but at least it’s current.  I was passing this swamp on Saturday, after spending a number of hours out with the camera and having nothing catch my eye, and I thought it looked rather interesting. There’s normally much more land, and less water, but the melting snow has resulted in small streams overflowing their banks, particularly in wetlands. That’s actually one of the functions of wetlands: to store sudden surges of water, directing some of it into the groundwater, and releasing the rest of it downstream at a measured pace.

There’s a stream here: that open water running left to right is normally about two feet lower and has banks, although water extends in patches over a wide area. Apparently normal water levels were lower at some past time, as those dead trees tell of risen water levels. But even today, there’s normally be more land than water in this view.

Here you can see that the winter hasn’t entirely released its grip: there are still white patches of unmelted snow on some of the grassy spots, and there appears to be a sheen of ice on the water in the foreground, although it has been above freezing for most of the week so that is a bit surprising.

What I like about this image are the stark trunks outlined against the brighter water, and the gradation of color from the treeline up into the sky, mirrored on the water. The house visible in the trees in the back also provides a sense of scale and a human element. It’s another characteristically early-spring image, before the trees and shrubs have begun to put out their leaves.

This image is from and HDR bracket, but I tried something a little different.  It was well past sunset when I took it, and getting a bit on the dim side.  I left off the polarizing filter, which wouldn’t have much effect shooting towards the sun anyway. And I used fairly high ISOs to try to capture detail. I’d taken several of my usual sets of five exposures at 1 EV offsets.  And I should have used a wider spread, as the ones that showed the sky well didn’t show any detail in the trees.  So what I did was use one bracket of five centered at 1/80th-second, ISO 3200, f/11 with the lens at 50 mm, and add one photo from a second bracket, this one taken at ISO 1600 and 1/500th-second, and with the lens at 55 mm.  It really shouldn’t have worked, but it did.  There’s a bit of  ghosting in a couple of places if you look at 100%, but even at a reasonable size for a printed image that isn’t really noticeable. The final image was cropped rather significantly, as there was a lot of open water in the foreground which didn’t add anything compositionally.

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One thought on “Snowmelt

  1. Reminds me of how we used to ice skate in swampy, frozen wooded areas a little like that. The other kinds wanted clear ice hockey areas, but loved having access through the little twisty frozen trails to land that was inw arm months just a bug-ridden inaccessiable swamp.

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