New on 500px : Glow Cave by MAPhoto by MAPhoto

I have been working on this image for a long while now. About 6 years, actually, I have figured this must be possible. Last year, I even posted an image from here but ultimately wasn’t happy with it. This year, I am still not 100% happy with it but I think I’ll have to concede this was my best effort.

What you are looking at here is a 180-degree field of view. It is a 1 second exposure where I managed to get some nice splash action as well as some water streaking thanks to the splashes occurring in darker areas and showing up well.

To take the shot, I am wedged up against a giant rock and cannot do anything more than hand-hold my tripod against it, dangling off the top. I am getting splashed big-time every third wave, to the extent that Nikon just repaired my salt-water damaged LCD last week. I am shooting 2 shots down for water action and rock details followed by 1 shot up to include the entire background rock stack and another 2 shots further up for sunset light and more interior details. I need to take the whole setup down off the rock every 3 shots because I’m getting splashed and put fresh water onto the lens element to wash the salt off, because flare will kill almost everything in this lighting condition because of that salty film on one’s lens. I cannot actually reach the front of my lens though, so…… After a repeat of this process through the course of an hour, I have about 20 sets of 5 shots to put together.

To stitch a 180-degree 14mm blend plus exposure blends I put all the details together around the periphery first. I need to manually use warps to get them as close as I can to aligning so I am in control of perspective, not a program. For this reason alone, no 14mm stitches are ever going to look the same, but it does do a realistic job of portraying the actual shape the cave here. After stitching the periphery by hand, I then warp the sky to fit also, and paint it in. I then follow it up with some of those luscious glowy effects (accentuated by sea spray that was already on my lens) that are so in vogue today, and there it is.

All and all, I think the shot is good, maybe worth the effort (about 2 hours in PS) but ultimately lacks some of the depth of my best coastal work. At issue is the lack of mid-ground transition to the background elements. It all feels very ‘near’ to me, as everything is within 15ft of my lens. Ah well….figured I’d share it anyway. Thanks for your thoughts.

via 500px

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