With gray clouds moving in, I took my first trip to Walnut Woods Metro Park looking for something very specific. The park did not disappoint.
I wanted to take a long exposure of a lone tree with the clouds moving behind it. Parts of Walnut Woods used to be a tree farm. There are stands of perfectly aligned rows of trees scattered around the park. These could make some interesting photos, but it wasn’t what I was looking for. After crossing under the road that divides the park, I immediately saw a great old sycamore tree. It was perfect. It sat by itself in a small clearing and there were no other trees behind it. It had already lost all its leaves too.
I setup low to the ground and at an angle that put the vanishing point of the moving clouds behind the tree. After metering for the brightest part of the sky I added a 10 stop ND filter and a circular polarizer and set the ISO, aperture and shutter speed to get a shot 2 stops down. Adjusting the aperture, I took 60 second, 80 second, 100 second and 140 second long exposures. I also took a shot exposed for the tree without any filters.
The 80 second shot turned out the best and I combined that with the unfiltered shot and adjusted the white balance and contrast. Unfortunately the finished photo did not survive Instagram’s compression very well – most of the subtle detail was lost. Click the image below to enlarge.
Now that I know it’s there, I’m eager to return to see it in other seasons too. Happy Halloween!