I had no idea how little rainfall we had in New Jersey this summer until I took a trip out to Rock Brook in Skillman. I wanted to get some long-exposure images of the water I normally see flowing in the brook, but my wife wanted to pick up our produce from the Honey Brook CSA. I promised her we could get my photography done, stop in at 365 Grandview for the Montgomery Friends of Open Space sponsored "Hike for Kids", and still make it to the CSA. We headed out to Hollow Road with our daughter, who decided at the last moment to come along.
No long exposure photography at the Rock Brook on this occasion. The brook was dry and filled with leaves. But I love the colour of the leaves. I had left my Nikon in my car, but this was fortunate. I didn't get to do any long exposures, but I made good use of the available light offered by the day.
Normally, my daughter doesn't like posing for photos. Especially when I'm the photographer. But she seemed willing, yet not eager, to pose for a few photos on the rocks.
The little bit of water in the brook was filled with leaves.
I drove to 360 Grandview around 8:30 AM and walked around for an hour enjoying the peace and quiet. The recent rains added some "life" to the stream so I used my Neutral Density filter and a trip to get some "white water" photos. But these photos were not taken at the Rock Mill Preserve. These were taken along Hollow Road just north of Camp Meeting Avenue. I pulled the car over, grab my camera, ND filter, and tripod, and walked down to the stream.
I spent about 30 minutes working on composition and lighting. At first, I used my Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 but realized that the Nikkor 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 would give me more choices. I had to run back to the car and get it.
Computing the exposure values for the use of an ND filter can be complicated. The Hoya NDx400 is a 9 stop -- "Big Stopper" -- ND filter. It's nearly impossible to focus once the filter is on the lens. Ed Velez told me about the PhotoPills app. This was my first time using it.
The app helped me easily calculate equivalent exposures with the filter in the available light. For example, without the filter, the exposure for the camera setting for correct exposure was at 1/13s at f/16. With the Hoya filter, the equivalent exposure was 17 seconds at f/16. I couldn't get 17 seconds on my D5100 I used 15 seconds or 20 seconds.
NOTE: The D5100 is a crop sensor -- APS-C -- camera. The full-frame equivalent of f/16 on APS-C is roughly f/10.33 which is approximately f/11. So I used an aperture of f/11 for these shots.