good heavens!

Good Heavens!
2012/09/08 07:43 – NIKON D7000 + 20.0 mm f/2.8 lens at 30 mm 35mm eq., f/11, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

“Good heavens! What a surprise, finding that photographer here in the grass.”

I saw these two stragglers while the small herd of Exmoor ponies had already moved further down the road (to my left). I had a wide-angle lens and wanted to get them in the foreground of the photo, against the beautiful morning sky.

I knelt down in the grass, with an angle finder in place, so I would not be looking directly at my subject (unobtrusive, “bowing to your subject”, Rolleiflex style) and could hopefully get some good shots from a very low viewpoint. I waited while they were slowly coming closer. I expected them to be a bit curious, so they might want to look me over and pause a bit.

When they were in front of me, I started to make some exposures with the lens pre-focussed at the hyperfocal distance (using a small aperture for enough depth of field), because I only could see the silhouettes of their heads against the sun, and I knew the camera wouldn’t autofocus well under these circumstances.

I’m not sure whether I should have exposed manually for the foreground and let the sky take care of itself. In this case, anyway, I used auto exposure, and then a heavy (but precisely adjusted) dose of HDR control in DxO Optics Pro (in combination with post-processing in NIK Color Efex Pro) brought just enough detail back in the shadows, while the sky was already near to perfect.

This is what the unprocessed shot looked like:

2012/09/08 07:43 - + lens at 30 mm 35mm eq., f/ , 10/600 sec, ISO 100

Early morning in the dunes near Egmond Binnen (just visible at the horizon).