“Afternoon Light at Radnor Lake” by Robin Conover
Shot on a Canon 6D using a 24-70 mm L series lens, ISO 100, ƒ22 at 1/4 sec.
Photographing nature combines two of my favorite things: photography and being outdoors. I’ve always enjoyed spending time outside riding horses, hiking and camping. When I took my first nature photography course in the early ’90s with David Duhl at Nashville Tech, now Nashville State Community College, I was hooked.
Back in those days, we shot on Velvia slide film, which could create some of the highest-quality images with vibrant colors. It was, however, terribly unforgiving. If the exposure wasn’t absolutely correct, getting a good print was almost impossible.
We usually shot on Saturday mornings, dropped the film off at Chromatics in Nashville on Monday and got the slides back the next day. Waiting to see what you had on the film was always a mix of anticipation and worry until you got to the light table to see how sharp the images were and if the exposure had been correct.
I miss film for some of its qualities, but I love the LCD screens on the back of my digital SLR cameras that provide an almost instantaneous image of what I capture through the lens.
I’ve found that after you learn the basics of how to operate your camera, most nature photography can be summed up by a well-known photographer’s adage: “ƒ8 and be there.”
Being there at the right time is how the image above happened. I was at Radnor Lake State Natural Area in Nashville to photograph an awards ceremony, and I noticed clouds were forming and that the reflection had potential.
I stayed after the event and waited for about 45 minutes for the sun to get a bit lower. There was barely any wind, so the surface of the lake was still, creating a perfect reflection.
To minimize any shake, I placed the camera on a tripod, locked the mirror up and used a cable release. To cut out glare, I used a circular polarizer on the lens.
The image was captured in RAW format and then minimally processed in Photoshop using levels, curves and sharpening.