Osprey, Long Exposures and ND Filters…

Oh my!!! 

I have to say that sometimes life gives you lemons!  You go out to capture a great shot, then the skies open up.  So, toss in a splash of vodka into your lemonade and you might be surprised what can come of things.

Just outside of Colonial Beach, VA you will find some of the gnarliest pylons and some with Osprey nests. 

It turns out the Osprey have just recently arrived back from South America, so you can be assured I will be capturing some other shots, soon.  After waiting out the rain I was watching these 2 osprey hanging out and hoping they would stay long enough and sure enough.  They did!

Now, what you are seeing in this photo is 3 distinct images! 

  1. When I first arrived, I think the 2 Osprey that were there were acting more normally.  The one you see flexing its wings was right after another tried landing on him/her.
  2. Now that I was “present” they seemed to settle down.  So the flexed wings was from the first few shots at a much higher shutter speed.  In the range of 1/250th of a second.
  3. Then I set the tripod and 10 stop ND filter for a longer exposure to smooth out the water and hopefully the clouds.
  4. In post editing, I did a few things.  1. I edited out the power plant in the background.  2. I edited in the Osprey with its wing spread.  3. I cleaned up the overall imaged, cropped in quite a bit.

So, in this brief 20-30 minute window, I stopped and shot some of the Osprey at about 1/250th of a second.  This is where I caught the shot with wings spread!

Then I set-up my tripod, added on the 10 stop ND filter.  This slowed down the water at sunset to create the smooth as silk look you see.

Then I opened those 2 layers in Photoshop and blended them together, creating the final image you see.

 

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