The Unfathomable Lake Wakatipu

A PHOTOGRAPHER ALWAYS HAS A CAMERA AT HAND

ABOVE: A storm coming up the lake from the south just as the sun is setting.

Living in Kingston, at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu means that every time I head into town for work or to do the weekly shop could be an amazing photo opportunity. As I travelled from bank to supermarket, to department store, I watched clouds and mist roiling around the mountains and the sun lowering in the west.

On the way home, as I crested the hill at Jack’s Point the Lake came into view. A storm was blowing up from the south. Here, with a blue sky above, I could see that Kingston, in the distance was in near darkness. Squalls along the western side of the lake highlighted the ridges of the mountains, while golden sunlight streamed through the pass at Halfway Bay.

I shot this panorama, handheld at iso 400. Stitching in Adobe Lightroom wasn’t possible. The soft, misty areas in the centre of the image didn’t have the detail necessary for the software to match images to each other. In Photoshop I encountered the same problem, although the programme was able to stitch the images at the sides of the panorama that had more detailed landscape features.

The “soft” central images were overlaid manually and then matched to the already stitched sections at each end. Darker vignettes around the edges were removed in layer masks. Finally the images were merged and the whole corrected for distortion using the warp transform tool.

This scene was changing from moment to moment. Even as I searched for a vantage point to take the shot, it was losing impact. Having great software tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and Viveza from DXO’s NIK suite enabled me to adjust and rework the image to regain the feel of the scene as i saw it.




Martin Kohn
Martin Kohn

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