Spring is around the corner and these sixty degrees March days are really starting to get addictive but if you’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains for any period of time then you know not to get hooked on them. The weather can change awfully fast going into April and become very unpredictable so it’s important to get and enjoy while you can. I think that advice is good for anyone. After a long week of work, it’s good to get out for a drive with the camera and enjoy the scenery.
Well, I did say some, unfortunately, I was too slow to get to a good spot in time before the light was completely gone. I have always liked going out to shoot in between storms because that’s usually when the most dramatic skies appear. The other was no different. I got the camera as quickly as I could, drove out to a local spot, and photographed what was left of the light. the results, a nice evening, and a couple of quick clicks.
I do love winter in Montana. The Bridger Mountains really come to life with a good snowfall and you get to see this entirely different side to the slopes. Even better when you get on a pair of skies and go back into some remote place and see the peaks that otherwise you just don’t get to. As always I had my Z50 with me and I couldn’t help but stop at this clearing and take a quick click of the peaks as the sun came out from the clouds. Naturally, the scenario screamed for a black and white conversion because all that contrast just made the scene pop.
Montana is very blessed right now because the number of people to the size of the state is dramatically different. With a fewer number of people, the more places you can go by yourself. Small road trips are fun because you can see a different part of the world then you are used to without having to go real far. Thunderstorms are a common thing this time of the year so finding good clouds to work with isn’t very hard. I quick trip to the ponds on a good afternoon was all it took.
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.
With the increasing number of snowstorms throughout the state comes the multiple opportunities to make great black and white photographs. Snow acts as a wonderful element to add contrast to any image. Using a long lens is a great way to isolate any small pockets of light on the mountainside.
Apparently Dad and myself think on similar wavelengths because right before the holiday he had a similar post. If you’ve spent much time with landscapes in the summer, then you know it’s not just us. Summer time is a great time to be doing landscapes because the afternoon can lead to some amazing cloud formations. As I posted about on Monday, those clouds can be great for sunset but they can also be great by themselves. All clouds have a texture, a shape, a dynamic to them and each shot should reflect that.
Black and white is a great way to go with just clouds because it really brings out the depth and drama to them. When it comes to this style the emphasis has to be on the clouds and not the landscape. Notice these images have very little foreground because the subject is the cloud formation in both and I wanted to emphasize that. Both were taken with the same setup, D5 and 24-70 AF-S. Yes I use that combo a lot. It’s just a good general setup. Then again that’s just me. This area of landscape photography is really fun and it really challenges you to break away from the rule of thirds and look at landscapes another way.
Despite the fact that it is spring right now, we are getting snow. While this is great for water content, we need as much as we can get, for photography it’s a little boring. Grey skies never make for really interesting subject matter but the key thing to remember is that they don’t always last. If you’re patient, between snow showers comes small openings that let in light and drama in the clouds. That’s when it’s best to be ready to shoot.
Ever since the new boundary warp came out in ACR a couple weeks ago, I’ve been wanting to play with it. I really enjoy making Panos because they tell so much. The story is just so expansive with a Pano and at the same time you can really be specific when choosing what to add. With the Merge to Panorama in ACR it’s become very easy and enjoyable to make Panos and thus capture the world around us.
I was out Saturday doing the one thing I enjoy the most when not working on a specific project, cruising. I’ve found more great photographs by driving around, with a camera on my lap, watching the sky and the light then anywhere else. That’s the best part of being a photographer is discovering new places. This place I knew about but hadn’t shot there because I needed the right sky. I didn’t quite have it that day but there was one great cloud and that’s all it took.
To see the pano bigger click on the Image.
Now the top shot was the first image I took but I knew the moment I stopped this was a Pano opp. Using the D4 and 24-70 AF-S, I closed all the way down to capture as much detail as I could because when you’re doing a Pano, it’s going to end up really big! You want that detail if you are ever going to print it out. This was six frames that I then merged in ACR and converted with SilverEfex Pro. Now on this image I tried boundary warp to fill in the edges that weren’t there when the images were merged together. Normally I use Auto Crop which normally makes the Pano narrower, one of the disadvantages of that method. That didn’t happen with Boundary Warp. Now I was wondering if it would look off anywhere but it didn’t. Perhaps that’s because this was a landscape and there were no definitive lines, like with a building, but it’s definitely something I’m going to have to keep playing with and studying.