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Tag Archives: hdr
I’ve put a lot of miles on the Jeeps this fall color season. In peak week, I was spoiled with sunshine every evening. Since then, it’s been spotty. But that only enhances the challenge and gets you to think a little harder.
Snake Creek Canyon, west of Midway, Utah, has always been a great go-to spot for photography (and Jeeping). Sadly, we missed the bright sky morning and headed out with afternoon clouds rolling in. As we began the approach up to the ridgeline, the sun was dancing through some holes here and there, but never in the appropriate place.
As a photographer, you need to always be watching the light – where is the sun in the sky, where are the holes in the clouds, what’s dancing on the mountain tops?
We came around a corner and I saw a potential scene. The rocky mountaintops overlooking Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons on the other side were shrouded in fog, with new fallen snow on the rocks. A quarter mile or so in the foreground was a hillside of yellow aspens and red oak, mixed with some dark evergreens – a typical Wasatch scene.
Framing the shot with the colors on the diagonal was easy – the composition simply screamed out. But there was little or no sun.
There’s an amazing brilliance to fall leaves when they are backlit. But even without that enhancement, their rainbow tones still shine through. I waited, waited and waited. But the sun never really came. But the colors of the hillside still struck a stark contrast to the windswept, snowy mountainside behind.
The key to this shot technically is a seven-shot HDR spaced .7 stops each.
While it didn’t have the backlit pop of some of my earlier aspen shots in Guardsman Pass, this Snake Creek Canyon scene will rank as one of my favorites for the fall season.
We love hiking around Silver Lake in Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s a short, wimpy boardwalk hike (so anyone can do it). But what’s so fantastic is that it’s just a myriad of photographic opportunities ever time!
This morning we were looking for a short hike with son Chris before he headed to the airport. We hit the trail around 8 a.m. and saw the lake in a totally different light.
The early morning light, combined with overnight rain and dew, gives you a totally different perspective. From the north side of the lake we had amazing reflections in the water. Along the western shore there was a backlit scene with a fisherman casting.
But my favorite spot of the day was the dense pine forest on the southern shore. It’s an amazing stand of pine with a darkened path meandering through the trees.
We hit it just as the sun’s rays began streaming through the trees. With so little light in the forest, it’s a photo op that’s often missed. But there’s plenty of light in there – especially with this five-shot (1 stop increment) HDR.
The sun’s rays do present some challenges, but most are a relative easy fix in Photoshop after processing the images for HDR in Photomatix.
The result is a dramatic photograph of a forest pathway leading directly into the morning sun.
Deer Valley is magical place. And in this time exposure the nighttime lights paint a festive scene of Snow Park after dark. The use of HDR technique helps to bring out some of the detail in the shadows.
It’s always a challenge an hour before sunrise figuring out whether or not it’s worth shooting and what location is going to produce some wonderful photographs. It was cloudy today – very cloudy, with a good chance of socked in overcast. But there was enough of a break that I felt it was worthwhile. It turned out to be a bonanza of opportunities!
It’s just a short drive up through Deer Valley Resort to Empire Pass and on to Guardsman. This time of year sunset is late – around 7:30 a.m. So there are always bike being unloaded from cars for the ridge ride.
Today I started at Empire Pass, scaring away a pair of deer hunters in a pickup. Shooting was good – very good. But it would get even better. Leaving Empire I passed another photographer with two tripods setup shooting south. The sky to the west over Guardsman looked especially inviting.
I stopped at four or five different locations, all producing great shots. But all of a sudden I turned around and looked east. The sun was piercing through the clouds shooting a bullet of light to Earth.
After shooting some closeup verticals of a single ray, the sky all of a sudden lit up with a series of sun rays.
The key to the photographs, though, is HDR – high dynamic range. This photograph is actually a series of three shots, each one exposure stop apart. It’s a simple HDR, processed with Photomatix, that worked very well – capturing the brilliance of unlit golden leaves with the menacing dark sky.