Nixon creek view

It isn’t often I get moody clouds while kayaking, so when these hung around I did my best to find something to put in the foreground. This is Nixon Creek. Hard to tell that right? That’s because there is a dam on it to make a rather large flowage as we call them in Wisconsin. Depending on the terrain, the creek widens and narrows as you paddle from the dam to its source. In this case, Nixon lake which I think is spring fed. To get there you have to paddle for a couple hours (at least, with no dawdling) and then go under the road in a huge culvert. The lake is undeveloped and has campsites similar to the ones on the flowage itself. On this trip I didn’t make it to the lake because the creek narrows and fills with lilypads from many species. They are thick and difficult to paddle through so I called it quits and went back. By then the clouds burned off and I was doubly glad I stopped for shots like this and a few others before it became all bluebird skies.

Specific Feedback Requested

How does this work as a sense of place? Is it at all interesting or just kind of meh?

Kayaking photos are often about immersion for me and I was going for a feel of that here. Surrounded by water, snags, plants, dragonflies and birds. I have one with the beaver dam as a foreground element, but it dominates quite a bit, rather than showing the atmosphere of the place. The sky especially. Bah…I’m rambling.

Technical Details

Handheld with CPL


Lightroom for everything - basic management of tonalities and taming some highlights. I’ve begun using the blue saturation slider in the Calibration panel to get a vivid separation of colors and a lot of pop - +30 in this case. I also moved the green luminance slider in HSL up to +38 to get a lot of light into the treeline. 3 masks - sky overall, sky center, immediate foreground. Sky overall got a little dehaze, clarity & texture, noise reduction to keep things silky. Sky center was a radial gradient to pick up some warmth and add a touch of exposure. Foreground linear gradient got some dehaze to remove reflections further. A little sharpening and texture but no clarity since it already has plenty of contrast. A slight vignette.

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I really like this, Kris. There is a definite sense of space and place. I think it works as is, no changes that I can think of.

This looks like a painting to me. It’s just wonderful. Those clouds are fantastic. The composition with the layers from the lilypads to the trees is perfectly balanced. Nice work!

I think that this looks wonderful. I love the layers with those fantastic lily pads in the foreground and those interesting clouds in the sky. I also like the natural and appealing colours here.

I really like the lily pads, broken trees and the distant beaver dam/house. I wish the beaver dam were a little closer, maybe not as close as you said with it dominating in the foreground but like a third or half of the way back. You could probably get some really beautiful closeup lily pad photos against that beautiful blue water. Great capture!

Thanks @David_Bostock, @David_Mullin, @Tom_Nevesely & @Vanessa_Hill - glad it’s doing what I wanted it to do. And that the layers came through since I had a bit of trouble positioning the boat to get them. The wind was persistent, though not strong, and it pushed me around a bit. It tries my patience sometimes to do photography from a kayak, but it rewards in the end.

I have a ton of lilypads on blue water shots, Vanessa, maybe I’ll post one for this week’s theme. A lilypad is a leaf!

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