Can a photograph be just a cloud or is that not strong enough? I never really had a good answer to it but I always wondered. There are plenty of times where a cloud is not enough but there are certainly times when the clouds are so dramatic that yea, why not just take a photo of it?
Fence lines or no fence lines? It’s somewhat cliche in photographs to have fences but I’ve always found that they have a time and a place. A fence is a man-made barrier that can make a photograph seem limited by a boundary but in some ways, it can also feel like there is something better on the other side. Sadly, there are a lot of fences in Montana and it’s hard to take a photo without a fence in it but it is possible. Since they feel like they belong out here I never mind including them, especially if there is something else amazing going on.
Technically this is just the inlet, the lake is way down yonder! I’ve been to this inlet a couple of times now and it just amazes me. You walk along the river, through the trees, and eventually, you come out at the inlet where it just opens up to this. The first time I made the trek there was nothing but sunshine, this time there was nothing but clouds. Both times were beautiful but this time was far more dramatic. Taken with the D5 and 24-70 AF-S, closed down to bring out more detail knowing that it would be converted to black and white in post.
Low hanging clouds can make for some pretty amazing photo opportunities. In the Gallatin Valley the weather systems always come in from the West and hang in the valley before exiting out over the mountains to the east. Since the Gallatin valley only sits at 4200ft in elevation those storms often are too high overhead to do much of interest, but down towards West Yellowstone at the Hebgen Lake where the elevation is 6500ft, the storms that move through can be pretty impressive.
I looked behind me on Saturday to this massive cloud bank move through the Pines. It was a thermal hole that had opened up enough for a brief moment in the rainstorm to allow a little light to make those clouds sing. When I saw it, it was like a storm of flames dancing on the other side of the trees. With the D5 and 24-70 AF-S, I took a couple of clicks and finished in Silver Efex Pro.
The warm weather has come in time to be outside. While Montana springs are still unpredictable and snowstorms are still possible the 60 degree days sure do feel nice. Over the next couple of months, we’ll see the beginning of the wildflower bloom, the grasses turn green, the trees leaf out and the skies filled with puffy storm clouds. It’s a fun time to be in the mountains with the camera as the possibilities can be limitless.
I’ve been shooting with the Nikon Z50 for about five months now and I am pretty impressed with the results of that little camera. I always have it with me when I’m out fishing in case it’s needed for that quick capture of a beautiful fish but it’s great for that occasional landscape. I was out on the Yellowstone River this past weekend when a Spring shower rolled through leaving some beautiful clouds in its wake. The cliffs of Sheep Mountain were looking great as they still had a little bit of snow left on them.
With the current state of travel, many have been affected and photographers are starting to feel it as well. Workshops being canceled or postponed, large venues being shut down, travel restrictions, unfortunate realities to the lifestyle we choose to work in. There are somethings we can change and others we can’t. The best we can do is not add to the problem and focus on that backlog of work that always seems to pile up while being gone. To everyone who is still traveling, please be safe out there.
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.