Drama conditions (with color variation & 2nd B&W)

With exposure in the foliage reduced -

and in color, with some stylized treatment -

OK, one more whirlpool. This one a little different.

When I saw this whirlpool from the other side of Ripley creek I got myself right over there to shoot it. Careful polarizer management and processing keeps the log visible under the surface while keeping the drama of the whirling bubbles, but also the brook itself. It’s 15-seconds so not a super long exposure.

The challenge is the obvious surrounding chaos. I took this in October a few years ago and decided to experiment with stylized black and white as a way of simplifying a chaotic image. I increased the gray value of yellow and orange channels and reduced it for greens. Not much of the other colors were present and the sliders aren’t moved much. Does it work?

Specific Feedback Requested

This location is 8 minutes from my house and if the flow is back up in spring, I can try this again. Right now it’s pretty low. Processing suggestions welcome. I may have other compositions in the catalog, too.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Tripod, CPL & ND filters


Lightroom for all the processing - lots of management of tones with global and local adjustments. Lots of water sculpting, too. Photoshop to remove some very bright branches that annoyed me.


Excellent, Kris. I think B&W works quite well here. I might tone down the foliage some but that’s really just a nit. Excellent all around.

I really have enjoyed all of these whirlpool images. I agree with David that a bit less oomph in the vegetation would be useful. I like that bright contrast against the dark water, of course, but I’d like it to be a bit more subtle so that I can really focus on the flow lines in the water.

Sure looks like some snow and ice in there?? I love the processing, however it started out. The river is so pretty that the surrounding bright woods don’t bother me, but maybe worth some alternative presentations?

Really nice scene, Kris. What I like about it is the black and white and probably the ss and whatever else you did in post, makes it look like there’s frost on the ground and trees. And the water actually looks like it’s frozen. With different cracks in it. Just from my perspective. Beautiful!

Thanks @David_Bostock, @jefflafrenierre, @Diane_Miller & @Vanessa_Hill - I admit it’s a little odd, but mostly it just came out that way with a standard monochrome conversion. Then I pushed it just to see how it would work. I can play with the pushing - basically the color gray value sliders - and I can also show a color version.

And it has snowed now, @Vanessa_Hill - so today I wouldn’t have to fake it, lol. We got about 3 inches so it won’t last, but it’s pretty for now.

1 Like

OK, I’ve put up two new shots in the OP for comparision/consideration.

I like your first one best. Maybe it’s not what it really was, as the color and other black and white shows. But I like the snowy icy feel to the original presentation even though it’s not realistic.

Thanks, @Vanessa_Hill - it’s a little extreme, but I think it’s at least interesting.

1 Like