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Headed out to the Frances Walter Dam one evening a few weeks back with the idea that I’d be on the water through sunset and could grab some really great shots.  The geology around the dam is unique in this area, a lot of rocky bluffs and boulders, a much more rugged appearance than the usual.  I figured that the rocky shore, some warm sunset light, hopefully some good cloud formations, and I’d come home with photos I’d be happy with.

Guess again…

Well, at least partially.  Turns out the conditions were all against me.  By the time I even got on the water I was already pissed off, thanks to the fact that I had to deal with other people and their vile lack of consideration for anyone but themselves.  It’s a waste of energy, letting yourself stay in a bad frame of mind, and usually time on the water cures it.  But this time, even paddling hard couldn’t dislodge it, and it soured the rest of my evening.

It didn’t help that the clouds moved in too heavy and my sunset dreams fizzled.

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So plans changed.  Back in the spring I’d explored the southern branch of the lake; this time I paddled out to the northern end, where Bear Creek flows into it amid a field of dead, partially submerged trees.  Cool area, even in funky, mostly flat light.  And conducive to black and white (although not for all of them).  I paddled up the Bear Creek channel and then over through the dead forest before heading back, shooting a few photos here and there in a pretty aimless manner.

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140718_FrancesWalter06 140718_FrancesWalter05As for the processing, what can I say?  I was bored with the usual methods and felt like the few keepers I had needed something extra.  And what they heck, they’re just pixels, images made for myself, and sometimes it’s fun to go off-track, to play a little.  So I ran them through the VSCO emulations then cranked up the vignette pretty high, threw in a little more dodge/burn than usual, and in the end…was pretty pleased with the results.

So it was a good paddle.  Not the light I wanted – I still need to go back for that sometime and see if I can get the sunset I envisioned.  Or maybe a sunrise.

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Shooting info: E-M5 + Lumix 35-100mm, ISO 200, shot handheld from the kayak.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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