Isteiner Schwellen

It's been a couple of weeks since the last post; I've had some trouble with motivation. I have taken pictures, although nothing seemed to work as I wanted it to and the images didn't inspire me. Last time I went out, I had more meticulously planned the location and equipment that I was going to need in particular, lenses and filters as I had a long hike in the snow and I wanted to watch the weigh in my backpack. When I got there I couldn't do what I had planned as I couldn't find the filter ring that I needed for the lenses that I had with me. When I got home and looked for the ring, I found it in the bag that it was meant to be in and the one that I had, had with all day. Motivation hasn't been on a high!

I needed to break the chain, instead of going through all that is required for planning a new location, or for that matter the planning for a known location, I decided to take it easy and go somewhere close to home and not plan anything at all.

I went to Isteiner Schwellen, it's just across the border in Germany and part of the original route of the Rhine. There are lots of small islands, waterfalls, rapids, wide open expanses of water and plenty of waterfowl.  By going here, I knew that I wasn't going to to be walking a long way, so I could take every piece of kit that I have with me. I know that it's really not down to the kit that you use, but there are situations where certain kit is needed.

  • For long exposure: filters and a tripod.
  • To get closer to a subject from a distance: a telephoto and a tripod.
  • To get closer to a subject that is close: a macro and a tripod make it easier.

So I packed everything I thought that I might need (including two tripods), and a few things that I didn't think that I would, just in case, into the car and set off.

It was dull and grey, which helped as I didn't expect much from the day, and that helped. The real point of the exercise was to get out and enjoy the location, sit and watch the river flow by, take time to wander around with no pressure to get to go anywhere in particular or to capture images.  

I chose these first two images to give an impression of the area, to show the many small islands, the waterfalls and the expanse of the river. 

f/8, 1sec, ISO-64, 16mm

f/8, 2sec, ISO-50, 25mm

The next two are close ups of one of the many waterfalls.

f/8, 1sec, ISO-64, 16mm - Cropped

f/8, 1sec, ISO-64, 20mm

I found a comfortable, slightly hidden spot and took the opportunity to stay there for a while to listen to the river and watch the birds; hoping that they would come closer. This heron didn't!

f/9, 1/1600sec, ISO-1000, 840mm

I used this gull to practise manual focusing at 840mm with a moving object. I wasn't always successful but I wasn't too bad either. The focus peaking on the Sony A7 is a great help. I was using a a Sigma 150-600mm with a 1.4x converter.

f/9, 1/800sec, ISO-1000, 840mm

Two swans came a lot closer and from what I could tell they were starting to build a nest on the river bank. Unfortunately they were building along my exit to get back to the footpath. I stayed for as long as I could but eventually I had no choice but to disturb them for a short time.

f/9, 1/800sec, ISO-1000, 840mm

This last image is the one that I spent most of my time on and for that reason It deserves a separate blog entry. In short this image or actually this moment shows me that it's not just the majestic landscapes, perfectly formed clouds over rolling hills or clear night skies that make a great image.

Sometimes it's the little things that we tend not to notice, sometimes it's the ripples from a tiniest of fallen twigs that encapsulate the peace of a moment.

f/8, 1/1250sec, ISO-3200, 421mm