A Little Black and White Action

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.

Barns in Snow

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.

Long Lens Black and White

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.

 

Black and White and Clouds

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.

Winter Weather

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.

Playing With Boundary Warp

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.

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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.

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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.

Holiday Projects

I love the holiday season! It’s just a great time to be with friends and family, eat a lot, play games and generally do nothing of importance. When there’s snow of course there is skiing. Afterward coming back inside to a nice warm fire, makes the whole day worthwhile. The other nice thing about this time of the year is that you can work on those projects that you’ve always set aside on the back burner saying, “I’ll eventually get to them.” On that cold winter day when nothing is going on, it doesn’t hurt to pop open the notebook and play with a few images.

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How a Long Lens Can Help With Landscapes

I do a lot of landscape work and often it’s with a wide angle lens. The reason for that is usually because of great light or great skies. But when neither of those two things show up then it’s great to go tight and take out little chunks of the landscape. While waiting for the birds on the pond to cooperate, I pointed the D4 and 600f4 towards the freshly snow covered mountains that surround Bozeman. Now that might seem a little much, but when you go wide with a mountain side covered in pine trees and snow, then it just looks like black streaks and white dots. When you go tight you can actually see the pine branches. In this case it becomes more about the patterns of the land instead of the overall tone of the land.

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Why go black and white? Well the light sucked for landscape at that moment, so with flat light the mountains just screamed monochrome.

Random Image for Random Weather

Well we’ve had a rather unusual spell of odd weather the last couple of weeks here in Bozeman. I’ve always considered Bozeman to have odd weather in general because of its location between the Bridger and Gallatin Mountains, but this year seems to be pretty odd even for that. Last fall we had a lot of really cold and snowy days. I mean down in the negatives cold. Right now it should be that cold but lately it has been up in the forties and even in the fifties the last couple of weeks. Well that doesn’t help with winter photography since a lot of the best shots come from those ice cold days around the geothermals. Hopefully with this new storm coming through we’ll get those cold temps again.

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