The heart never waits

I am leaving for this location in a little bit, but this was from yesterday. In my Prairie River project I needed some fall shots. Peak color only lasts so long so I headed out in a light rain yesterday. This shot called to me because of those gorgeous boulders and how they line up. I know this is looking down river, but looking up with this line of rocks didn’t work because of the tangled mess of logs and branches behind me. Wearing my knee-high boots means I can get into the river and compose more interesting and dynamic shots and I think this works pretty well.

Specific Feedback Requested

Useful CC welcome.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Tripod in water, photographer in water, CPL on lens to cut water reflections so you can see the leaves down there


Lr processed for wb and some lens and geometry changes since it’s such a wide angle. Also played with the brushes to manage the highlights on the boulders and also the green color slider got a tweak or two. The greens are vivid, but I didn’t want them cartoonish. Ps to clone some branches in the canopy where it was thin and showing the flat white sky.


Downriver works so well here, with the wonderful light on the arrangement of boulders. The slow ss renders the water dreamy and fits with the soft light and peaceful location. Well done!

Several years ago I tried to find hightop boots and never found anything between normal height and chest waders. Any advice?

1 Like

Thanks much!

I have a pair of these -

And they serve, but are kind of floppy to hike in for any distance. Luckily when I’m going into the river I don’t have to walk far. They come to the knee and are ok for what I do. If I want to do serious walking or go deeper I’ll probably get some hip waders. I went on a paddling trip with a guy who had some and they went right over his jeans. Like very tall boots.

I enjoy this image very much. Very tranquil and peaceful. Choice of shutter speed works very well. Love the color palette and the composition. Very nice.

1 Like

Have you considered hip waders? They tie to your belt and reach up to your lower pelvis.

Love this image Kristen. Yes the moss looks great and may be the greatest feature but the scattered leaves and the comp is great. Basically there are some really neat colors here. Also the tonal range.

1 Like

This is a learning question rather than a critique:

When I take out the yellow color cast, the image takes on a quite different look but I like the color cast (perhaps not so intense). So, how did you come by the yellow as you don’t mention using a filter or layer blend in your dialogue. Inquiring minds want to know :slight_smile:

A great image, the colors work very well. Also like how dark and bright areas lead you downstream into the image. Also great to see a downstream image, I have myself started to try to photograph streams and not-so-.high waterfalls from other positions than shooting upstream.

1 Like

Down river is great idea especially with the beautiful lineup of rocks. When buying boots for in-the- river photography, ask someone who fly fishes. They usually have the info especially about non-slip (or at least less slippery) soles.

1 Like

Hey Chris - the overall white balance is toward the warm side and so the intense yellows, oranges and browns. In my mind it isn’t a cast as you mean it, but a factor of white balance. When I’m in the field I’ll usually try to match what I see to what my screens show me. Sometimes a standard setting like Sunny or Cloudy will do it, other times I’ll adjust it in camera. That way I know I got as true to what I saw as possible. It was raining, too, so bear that in mind. Everything was literally saturated. Including me.

ETA - to me a cast is a strange color that comes up in the white areas of a photo. To my eye the white in the distant water looks right.

Thanks @Igor_Doncov, @Ola_Jovall & @Jim_Gavin - downstream isn’t as popular, but sometimes I like the compositions better so I’m flexible that way. I’m glad the colors don’t seem out of control to anyone. It was so wet and rich it’s hard to finesse in post sometimes.

If the time ever comes for hip waders, a fly fishing site will be my first stop. As a matter of fact, the river up there is a prime trout stream. The DNR protects most of its course and has removed dams so it flows on its own without restrictions from humans. A huge spruce came down right through my favorite cascade so mother nature will restrict and block it on her own. I’ll show some shots of before and after since I’ve shot from the same vantage points several times. I’m bummed, but at least I got a few in before the spruce fell.

Really liking this image a lot Kristen. I love the soft and dreamy almost Orton like affect with the glow of the trees in the middle background. The colors you’ve rendered are just right to me. What really captivates me though are the scattered leaves. This just has fall written all over it. Nice job! Just food for thought, you may want to try a square crop eliminating the large tree and one rock on the right side and coming in a little tighter on the left side so that the focus is right down the row of rocks straight into that beautiful, glowing set of trees in the background. I dodged that far right tree trunk on the edge of the frame which is pretty dark and matched it to the rest of the scene.

This just shouts fall color! without being too intense. The fact that the stream is flowing away didn’t really register until I read your description. I think the way those main rocks appear to be coming towards us counteracts the stream flowing away (if that’s even a thing). Lovely.

1 Like

I should have noticed the whites immediately…I gave thought to your warming the scene in camera, so now that I know, I can apply the same processes in some landscapes to come. thanks for your response.

Thanks, @Bonnie_Lampley - fall is so fleeting here, even compared to New Hampshire, so I try to go out a lot and find cool stuff.

No problem, @chris10 - it’s hard to notice everything. Mostly I try for realistic white balance either in camera or in post. Not always, but usually.

A beautiful, engaging image. I want to go wading through that creek and feel the cold. (Living in sunny Queensland gives you the want to get really cold sometimes!)

You’ve seen the line of boulders very well. The colours are gorgeous.

1 Like

Thanks, @glennie - it’s a favorite bit of this river and luckily so accessible. And boy does it get cold, check this out - one of the first images I posted here on NPN -

Kristen, I’m really enjoying this image! Wonderful composition and I love the color and feel it has. Beautifully photographed.

1 Like

Thanks for sending through the link to your first NPN post. I can truly appreciate what you are doing for the Prairie River.

1 Like

@Diane_Miller, I also enjoy getting out into streams to achieve the very dynamic mid-stream compositions that @Kris_Smith did so well in here in here image. About 90% of the time I use a pair of waterproof knee high Muck Boots similar to what Kris showed. I also own a pair of hip wader boots, but frankly they weigh a lot more and are a pain to carry around. And if you are in water deep enough to need hip or chest waders, then you are usually taking significantly more risks with your camera gear than I like to do.

Kris, I love the in-your-face angle of view you achieved by getting close and low. Kudos to you, to me this is a much more created and dynamic perspective than just shooting from the shore of the river. I also find the warm processing works very well here, I especially like what it does to the greens. Nice work…