Tag: Mackinac Bridge
From the moment I knew we were going to stay at Straits State Park in St. Ignace, and that we would have a campsite right on the water, I knew that I wanted to take a photo of my illuminated tent with the Mackinac Bridge in the background. This post will walk through the process I took to come out with this image.
I took the photo during late blue hour because I wanted a relatively even exposure between the lights on the bridge and the illuminated tent. I considered using my speedlight in the tent, and that may have yielded a better illumination, but in the end I decided to use a few LED flashlights, as I didn’t want to be obnoxious in the campsite with a flashing tent. I walked around the site to get the best composition, and then set up my tripod.
It would be very easy to get all of this (and more) in frame with a lens on the wider end of the spectrum. This was my first instinct; however, my first peek in the viewfinder reminded me of a very real issue: when shooting below approximately 50 mm, background objects appear increasingly smaller as compared to how they are viewed by the human eye. In other words, at 18mm, everything is in frame, but there is a huge tent and a tiny bridge. This is no good.
The solution to this problem is to go telephoto. Above 50mm or so, objects in the background appear larger than they do to the human eye, and the greater the focal length, the closer one will get to a point where background and foreground are nearly identical in perceived size.
The telephoto presents a second issue though, and that is that I could not back up far enough to get everything in frame. We have a technological solution to this though, and a relatively easy one to execute since I was on a tripod. I started on the left and took an exposure, then I panned until I had about 2/3 of the frame as new stuff and I took another exposure. I repeated this process until I had everything covered, with a decent amount on either side in case I had to crop due to my technique not being perfect.
My exposures were at f/11, ISO 400, for 30 seconds.
The Lightroom Editing:
The first step was to stitch everything together, which is easily accomplished in Lightroom. Then I cropped, and made simple exposure and contrast adjustments, as well as some color corrections.
The Photoshop Edit:
This was the time consuming bit of the edit. I’m just going to list everything that I did.
- Using content aware fill, I removed the branding from the tent
- Using luminosity masks, I did the following
- Corrected some exposure issues in the bridge and water
- Brushed noise reduction into the shadows
- Using a high pass filter, cloned and emphasized texture in the tent
- Using the camera raw filter, I added vignette and other minor finishing touches
So that’s how I got the shot. It’s not perfect, but I think it tells a great story and I learned a lot. I am confident that the next time I am in this kind of situation I can come out with something even better.
June 26, 2016
Straits State Park was the first major stop of the trip and it was my favorite campground. The park has three campgrounds the upper campground and two lower campgrounds. The lower campgrounds have a view of the Mackinac Bridge. If you are a tent camper, they have about 6 sites right on the water with a completely unobstructed view of the bridge, but no electricity. These sites do fill up fast, we were only able to be on the water on a Sunday night, so if you’re interested, I recommend booking as close to that 6 month window as possible. If you are not a tent camper, or you can’t do without electricity, there are some spots just on the other side of the road that have a good view and there is a small park, which was right next to our site, where you could set up your tripod. Chris has an awesome shot of our tent lit up at night with the bridge in the distance. That photo will be up on the site on Friday.
Straits State Park also has a bridge viewing area away from the campground if you’re not looking to camp. The park is also home to the Father Marquette Memorial which is on the other side of I-75 and also features a bridge viewing area. The bridge is definitely the biggest attraction at this park.
About the Photo:
This photo was taken during sunset from our tent site on the water. It was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom. I also used a graduated filter in Lightroom to darken the sky.
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm kit lens on a tripod
June 26, 2016
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To book your stay at Straits State Park, visit the Michigan DNR.
I have just returned from my Epic Michigan Road Trip and I am excited to begin recapping my trip with you! It was a long trip and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to organize my posts, but let me give you a brief overview of my trip! We camped this trip after and setting up and taking down camp 8 times, we can now do it so efficiently; its awesome! I can’t wait to go camping again!
Day 1: Hartwick Pines Campground
Days 2 & 3: Straits State Park, visiting Mackinac Island
Days 4 & 5: McLain State Park, visiting the Keewenaw
Day 5: Bay Furnace Campground, visiting Munising
Day 6: Aune Osborne Campground, visiting Sault Ste. Marie
Day 7: Hoeft State Park, visiting the Lake Huron Coast
Day 8: Rifle River Recreation Area
I want to give my review of Hartwick Pines Campground now because we got in late and left early so I don’t have a photo of it, but I don’t want to neglect it. I had visited Hartwick Pines once before but I had never been to the campground. Hartwick Pines is a large state park located off of I-75 in Grayling, Michigan. It features the largest old growth White Pine forest in the lower peninsula. One of the biggest draws to the park is the logging museum. The campground is small and we got the last available site for Friday night. I was pleasantly surprised that the site was secluded, wooded, and quiet (until the guys in the site next to us came back at 1 am, but I don’t think that’s indicative of the park). Of all the parks we stayed at, they had the nicest, most updated bathroom facilities. I would highly recommend this campground to anyone and I have a feeling we will be back for a longer stay!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your visit to Hartwick Pines, visit the Michigan DNR.