Selection of July 2020: Flow III by Lionel Fellay

Flow III by Lionel Fellay

This shot was taken during my summer holidays; luckily in this covid year I had no travel plans due to other projects, so I simply decided to explore my homeland (Switzerland), as we have enough places to photograph. The day before I tried to catch the Milky Way in Uri in front of a lake, but it ended in a total failure, so I was really upset. The day after, I decided to call my dear friend Lionel Favre (also in Terra Quantum) and asked him to go with me. I said : “Lionel I want a shot from Ferpecle, this time it will be the right one, failure will not be tolerated!!!“ Lionel was a bit surprised, as he knows that Ferpecle was my nightmare photography spot (I was there lots of time, without a good result). To be precise, I was there 6 times; I stayed there in a bivouacs to catch sunsets and sunrises. The place is beautiful, with lots of subjects (trees, glacier, rocks, rivers etc.) but I never managed to find the right composition to render the wilderness and beauty of the place.

But this time was going to be different … I had already a complex idea in mind.

When we came to the site, I decided to wear my waders – my friend immediately understood what I wanted to achieve. I managed to compose the shot relatively quickly. When I finished composing the shot, I though … what if the tripod is going to move too much in this flowing river, what about vibrations with long exposure during the night, what about moving rocks underwater, moving sand … finally I decided “we will see, let’s risk it, anyway I have no backup plan“.

I took shots from the start of the blue hour to the end, to be sure to get the best results for the foreground, with this flowing water; later in the night I started to shoot the Milky Way. The moon was more powerful than expected and I really needed to wait until late night to have the milky way at the right place with the darkest sky.

After a night in this cold water (my waders are not neoprene waders) we finally headed back home. I have to say that I was not very optimistic seeing my results on the back screen of my camera. I thought “this milky way was poor, I can’t see details, it’s not gonna make it … “ After a night of good sleep, I uploaded the images to my computer, and I was much more disappointed, no details in water, no milky way, light pollution … it’s yet another failure. I got upset and closed capture one in anger.

Three weeks later, my friend Lionel asked, “where is your image !?”. On that day, the weather outside was poor and I finally decided to really take a good look at my raw images; this time, I was in a totally different mood. This was the right time to start processing. I first started to work on the foreground image (the easiest) and the day after, I processed the Milky Way (painful process). The problem with the Milky Way was, that I needed to remove the heavy light pollution, to reveal the most details of the sky. On the third day, I blended the images together, so that the blue hour and the night sky were blended correctly. I waited a few days, made some more adjustments and decided to publish the image.

This shot proved to me again two things: never to work on a complex image directly after taking the shot, (take time to carefully select the raw images to post process) and that I don’t need to travel far away from home to catch some beautiful landscapes scenes. I simply have to get into my car and drive 40 min.   

Back to list