Finding the Photo in the Forest

The Rocky Mountains have a lot of great places to go take pictures and one of those areas is the dense forests that surround Gallatin Valley. Hyalite Canyon and Reservoir is a wonderful place to go for a walk or this time of year a ski. Being in a dense forest can lead to some amazing photos but the light options inside the forest can make it a challenge. Forests are a  conglomerate of highlights and shadows which create a high dynamic range to work with. It can be easy to miss the photo by taking in too much so going small and focusing on a small area can lead to a more powerful image.

Afternoon In the Snow

Photographers all know to take their cameras with them where ever they go because the moment when you don’t have one is the moment when you need one. Well, I don’t normally take my camera with me when I go skiing because let’s face it, I fall down at times which can be scary when you have a camera, but this time around Hyalite I made sure I had mine. Beautiful powder and some great light made for a fun afternoon outing.

Black and White and Snow

I’ve talked about this multiple times in the past but the fact remains the same, wintertime is one of the best times to shoot in black and white. Now I say that but I always do my conversions in post-processing just to be clear. Snow has lots of natural gradients to it and when combined with light the drama can really pop within the landscape to make for some great images. This is one of the few times I like finding an anchor to put in the landscape like a dark object to add some contrast to the overall picture.

Spot Light on Fish Works Too!

Yep, spotlighting works with fish as well as just about anything else you can point a camera at. It can be difficult to get the lighting right with a subject that is flopping all over the place but if you take a second and look around you for the right light then odds are your photograph will end up stronger. I wanted the light only on this male Brown Trout’s head, specifically the eye. In this case, the sun was behind me and I used my legs to block out the light in the areas where I wanted the shadow. A simple click with the Z50 to preserve the memory of a really good day.

Ice Caps!

There is an actual name to these things but I can’t remember what it is. When rocks in rivers and lakes are sticking up above the waterline they sometimes will get covered with snow and form these little white bubbles which look really cool! In a fast-moving river, the rocks act like anchor points in the photo. The eyes will stop on these rocks and be a place to rest. If you go to black and white, then these rocks are a great contrast to the rest of the river.

Snow Patterns

Every snowflake is different which makes every snowfall different. As the blanket of snow covers everything it falls on, the areas that remain uncovered add contrast with different shapes and colors. It’s easy with landscapes to use a wide-angle and try and capture everything but with these patterns, it often is best to use a mid-range lens, like the 70-200, to only capture a section of the landscape. Ultimately it can be a stronger composition by removing unwanted spots.

Pearl Harbor 79 Years Later

Early in the predawn, light swarms of Japanese Zeroes and torpedo bombers flew over Honolulu to deliver a tremendous blow to the United States. Mistaken as a group of B-17’s by radar the Japanese planes went untouched as they made their surprise attack. A flew P-40’s were able to get off the ground and engage the enemy during the raid but the damage was done and 5 battleships and thousands of men were dead and wounded. This was the opening to the greatest conflict the United States would ever be apart of.

Having talked with veterans and heard their stories, when approached about the subject of the Pearl Harbor raid, each of them had a note of sadness in their voice. Even though most were not there in person, they all heard about the raid and knew what it meant for the country. Many of them agreed that there was anger initially, after time it went away to feelings of remorse. Today we celebrate these brave men for what they did after the attack, like the Doolittle Raiders, who made a surprise raid in 16 B-25’s launched from the carrier Hornet against Tokyo. Today is a day we remember not only for those that we lost but for what it meant during the years that followed Pearl Harbor.

Not a Trout but Still Worthwhile

I hear this a lot and see a lot of bad behavior as a result but often times species get lumped into categories of being better than one another to the point where some are considered trash. Nonnative introduced species such as Carp or Small Mouth Bass in the rivers of Montana I can understand some not liking them but native species like the Mountain Whitefish get a bad rap for no good reason. All waters have natural biodiversity and Whitefish make up part of the diversity found in Montana Rivers. They aren’t the prettiest at times but still part of the ecosystem and sometimes, like this big one, they can look pretty darn good.

Minimal Lighting

This time of the year we get a lot of days where the skies are blad or the skies are filled with clouds so dense the light doesn’t pop through. Some say it can be really depressing and arguably they are right, too much time looking at nothing but grey can get dull. Now and then the sun pops out and lets in just enough light to make it worthwhile. Truthfully, these nights where just enough comes through are great times to be watching the west and seeing what happens in the east.

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