The Grand Vista - smoothing out the flow

June 06, 2020  •  2 Comments

Grand VistaGrand VistaWise River, Grand Vista Overlook. Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Wise River Montana. June 4, 2020. Mary and I traveled the Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway (south from Wise River to Montana Highway 278 west of Dillon). Our goal was to check out the high parks and meadows in hopes of finding alpine flowers. The drive is one of the best that southwest Montana has to offer and in many ways reminds you of driving through a national park, except that you are alone on the road!

Into the TurnInto the TurnWise River, Grand Vista Overlook. Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Wise River Montana. June 4, 2020. We stopped at the Grand Vista parking area about 19 miles south of Wise River and walked down to the river. The weather was warm and dry, there were no mosquitoes, and there was just a little breeze.

I have been waiting for a chance to use my 10-stop neutral density filter that allows long exposures in strong light. The benefit is that you can capture smooth images of stream flow. Here are a couple of photos. The upper image is a 5 second and the lower image is a 10-second exposure. Both images were shot at f 7.1. The ISO was 100. As you can see the images are of normal brightness for a late-afternoon capture.

I was really happy with how the slow shutter speed smoothed out the stream surface. Under the silky smooth surfaces, I was surprised at the water's clarity and how far into the stream I could see.

I also learned a few things. That gentle breeze I mentioned earlier? Even the small wind caused most of the willows and trees to move and become blurred. The clouds are soft, as, of course, they were moving. The distant mountains should have been more crisp. I suspect that the camera might have had difficulty focusing through the filter, or the tripod vibrated while the shutter was open. 

I will have to practice more with the filter to improve my results. I will seek wind-free scenes, triple check the focus on objects that are not expected to move, and really make sure that I have weighted my tripod to minimize any motion.

Oh... the high alpine meadows were most green, with only a few flowers. I suspect that summer up that high is still en route.

Thanks for reading!


Twpatt Photos
Thank's Mary -- I am glad that you enjoyed the posts.
Mary Engebrecht
Hi Tom, So far I have just read & enjoyed this blog & the
Sandhill Crane blog. Sandhills are amazing.
For years Doc & I took our annual wildflower drive. It was always a day of excitement & wonder at what sights we might see.
On my trips back & forth to the hospital this week I was blessed to see a great blue heron as he landed
In the field just off Elizabeth Warren across from the airport.
To see the upper side of that wide wing span...quite an amazing view
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