Autumn on the River Frio

Now that summer has come to Texas in full force (we topped 98F last week), here’s a look back to a cool fall day in the Texas Hill Country.

Autumn on the Frio River

Autumn on the Frio – Leakey, Texas
Copyright © 2013 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/16 for 1/50th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Frio River Cypress

Autumn Cypress

Autumn Cypress – Rio Frio, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 100mm, f/16 for 1/6th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

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Autumn on the Frio River

Frio River in Autumn

Autumn on the Frio River – Leakey, Texas
Copyright © 2012 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 47mm, f/14 for 1/3rd of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.

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Beside Still Waters

Beside Still Waters

Still Waters – Frio River near Concan, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Frio River Sunset

Speaking of beautiful Texas rivers, I’m heading for a quick weekend trip to central Texas to photograph the four main rivers that run through the Hill Country; the Nueces, the Frio, the Sabinal and the Medina rivers. All four of these small rivers eventually meet up and flow out into the Gulf of Mexico but in the dry Hill Country they are the lifeline for ranchers and farmers alike.

Central Texas Rivers

Each river has its own character but all have one thing in common; the wonderful Cypress trees lining the river banks. These majestic trees offer much needed cover for the river dwellers in the hot summer and provide a beautiful backdrop for wildlife and nature photography. Add the crystal clear waters running in these four rivers and you’ve got a great place to spend a few warm spring days.

Frio River Sunset

Frio River Sunset – Concan, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 40mm, f/16 for 1/5th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer and two-stop, soft graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done entirely in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Why You Need a Good Circular Polarizer

A circular polarizer filters out light that has been polarized perpendicularly to the axis of the filter. This has three effects in digital photography; it reduces unwanted reflections from most surfaces, it darkens the blue sky adding contrast and it saturates the bright colors in the image by eliminating unwanted glare. A circular polarizer is the one filter a landscape photographer should never be without.

Take this shot of the Frio River for example. The overall exposure looks fine but the glare from the water makes this look more like a snapshot rather than the great shot I wanted it to be.

Frio River Stones No Polarizer

Frio River Stones (No Polarizer) – Leakey, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 17mm, f/16 for 1/25th of a second at ISO 100. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Adding a circular polarizer as shown in the second shot makes all the difference in the world. The shallow water is almost crystal clear and you can see the river stones clearly beneath the surface. The leaves on the tall Cypress trees look more crisp and better defined and the overall contrast of the shot is much improved. All from a simple turn of the circular polarizer.

Frio River Stones

Frio River Stones – Leakey, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 17mm, f/16 for 1/30th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB Warming polarizer. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

When I added the LB Warming Polarizer to the Canon 17-40mm lens, it immediately cut through the glare on the water and brought out the beautiful yellows and greens in the scene. By adjusting the degree of polarization, I was able to make the water almost perfectly transparent in the foreground but gradually becoming reflective in the middle-ground. This allowed the river stones to dominate the image without losing the beautiful reflections of the trees. It also added some much needed contrast between the white clouds and blue sky in the background.

The trees and bushes here in Texas really reflect a lot of light causing severe problems when shooting digital images. Even in the early morning or late evening, the reflected light can overwhelm the camera’s sensor, resulting in blown-out highlights and washed out color. That’s where the Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer really comes in handy, by reducing the glare and adding much needed color saturation. The final shot was much closer to what I remembered seeing that day and all the heavy lifting was done “in camera” using the Singh-Ray polarizer, rather than in “post” using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.

Singh-Ray filters are not cheap but they do offer the best quality and performance I’ve seen in a filter. I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t use my Singh-Ray polarizer for landscape work.

Those Texas Hills

Garner State Park is on of the busiest state parks in Texas. Folks come from across Texas and the other 49 states to swim and fish in the Frio river and hike the steep limestone cliffs surrounding the park. From the top you can see the Texas Hill Country in all its glory!

Those Texas Hills

Those Texas Hills – Concan, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 28mm, f/13 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray LB warming polarizer. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

Landscape Photography – Just Add Water

Happy Monday everyone!

I just returned from a three day trip to west Texas in search of water. The entire state of Texas has been under an incredibly harsh drought for the past year but last week we finally began to receive some much needed rain. Not a lot mind you, but just enough to satisfy a landscape photographer on a mission.

Frio River in Concan, Texas

Frio River in Concan, Texas
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture priority (Av) using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/15th of a second using a Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and a 4-stop, graduated neutral density filter at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional digital film. Post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2 and Photoshop CS4 using Nik Software’s Viveza filter. Click on the image above for a larger version.