The Missouri River has become one of my favorite places in Montana to travel to. Over the years I have spent many outings along the river enjoying the breathtaking scenery as the river cuts through the mountains creating some amazing gorges. I often stop to go fishing along the river but every now and then I stop just to take a photo. This one was with the Nikon Z50. It’s become my handy go-to mirrorless camera lately for these simple outings.
Wintertime is a fun time to take the camera and play around with black and whites. It’s easy to see why as all the snow makes for the perfect white element so that just leaves the black element. This old barn outside of town made for that perfect element. Since I’ve photographed this barn in the past, I knew it would be a good subject for the afternoon. The white paint job makes it blend in more with the snow which is a unique element compared to most barns that are red and stick out more.
There are many ways to capture a great black and white image when it comes to landscapes, but one of my favorites has always been to use a long lens. Trying to capture everything you see in the viewfinder can lead to extra elements that might not be worth having but using a long lens can isolate good elements that are stronger. The treelines on the mountainside were far more important to me than the mountain itself which is why I used the 600f4 to isolate the trees.
There isn’t always a great deal of light showing, sometimes it’s just a spotlight. In the years I’ve lived in Bozeman I’ve noticed that there are plenty of times when we get cloud banks out to the west and you wouldn’t think there would be any light at sunset but then a hole opens up and just a sliver comes through and that’s enough to add some drama to the Bridger Mountains. This was one of those moments that I captured with the 200-400 VRII.
Looking back certainly was dramatic but looking forward was even more so! I’ve driven the road up through the Horseshoe Hills towards Helena many times on my way to the Missouri River but I have never seen the skies as dramatic as this past weekend. When high winds are gusting, the storm clouds are moving about like crazy and can lead to some really amazing photo opps.
It’s always important to have a camera with you when you’re out and about. I always carry one when I go out fishing not just because I take pictures of fish but in case something comes up where I really need to stop and take a picture. Driving home the other day from the river the storm clouds were amazing! With the high gusts, the clouds were moving fast revealing pockets of light in between sessions of pure darkness. It was really cool! I pulled over, grabbed the Z50 and took a couple of clicks.
It still amazes me how some evenings in Bozeman the skies just erupt in color and after all the years I’ve lived here, those same skies can surprise me. I saw the little bit of light coming through to the east and figured it would be a dramatic night but you just never know by how much. With the Z50 and 16-50 f/3.5-f6.3, I walked up the lane towards the Bridgers and to my great surprise, the mountains were lit likely nothing else. This was just a simple click and then finished in Adobe Camera Raw.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the winter, both indoors and outdoors, and I know that going out with the camera gear can be a little daunting. I mean you have to go out in the cold, leave the nice warm indoors, potentially get all your camera gear wet and who wants to do that? Well, there are some great opportunities in the snow but one of my favorite ones comes in between the storms. Snowstorms tend to have really dramatic clouds but then it’s also really dark so the drama can get lost. In between the storms can bring in new light which can make those storm clouds just pop not to mention the landscape.
That’s right I have a mirrorless camera now and it is the Nikon Z50 with a 16-35mm lens. I will admit at first I really wasn’t sure about this little camera, it felt small, it had an electronic viewfinder, it sounds waaaaay different, so many things are just different. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it came to the ease of taking photos and the quality that resulted from the photos. I still have more testing to do but I’ll be sure to keep talking about the camera as weeks go on.
Eastern Montana has a real beauty to it. Before the snowstorm that came through the next day, the skies were lit up with a fiery orange that made the landscape glow. I grabbed the D5 and 24-70 AF-S and ran up the hill as quick as I could before the light disappeared.