Well autumn is here. Sometimes we have beautiful leaves and other years, well they just aren’t the same. So what is it any way that makes for a pretty fall? I’ve always heard plenty of rain, and then the other day someone said a dryer season produces prettier leaves. I’m really not sure but I’m sticking with a more balanced season. That just seems right. This year started out very wet but has been dry since around July, and so far the leaves have turned out a little better than I expected.
Recently, I drove up to Cleveland, Alabama. There is absolutely no chance for anyone to confuse the quaint town with the more well-known city in Ohio. Cleveland is located in Blount County, which is known as the “Covered Bridge Capital of Alabama”.
The Swann Bridge is the longest surviving covered bridge in the state. It was built in 1933, and spans the Locust Fork of the Warrior River.
The three span bridge was built by Forrest and Zelmer C. Tidwell to connect the Blount County communities of Cleveland and Joy. Since it was located on property owned by Swann Farms, it became known as the Swann Bridge.
The total length of the bridge is 330 feet, and has a vertical clearance of 13 feet with a deck width of 16 feet. The bridge has been recently restored and was reopened to vehicular traffic in October 2012.
When I arrived, I mounted my camera onto my tripod and took the above picture at a typical speed. The water is frozen but the trees are nice. There are also two people in the distance who are looking at the photographer.
Then using used an adjustable ND filter when I took this photograph. A neutral density filter reduces the intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light equally. An adjustable ND begins with a clear setting and darkens several F-stops to a point where it is nearly impossible to see the subject through the lens. It is usually a dark gray filter and can be fairly expensive. This particular one is made by Neewer. Now I’m sure that Neewer isn’t know for the best optical quality, but you sure can’t argue with the price.
By using this filter I was able to take several images ranging from 1-30 seconds. Thus I was able to get this beautiful texture in the water. However, I had one problem, it was that it was also windy that day. Therefore, I also had movement in several trees a couple of sun flares and the clouds vanished from the sky.
What I needed was a little of both pictures. So I brought both images into Perfect Layers and masked the unwanted area in the photograph. I also painted out the two people on the left.
This resulted with a composite that was more of what I had in mind when I photographed the scene.