It’s that time of the year again when the afternoon thunderstorms come rolling in at 2 pm and last for a few hours. The Gallatin Mountains get covered with these black streaks as the rain and hail come down. It’s really fun to watch these systems pass through the valley and then disappear over to the east. The best part is that tiny sliver of light that pops up on the western horizon letting in just enough to light up the underbelly of the clouds before disappearing entirely. With the Z50 and 16-50mm there wasn’t much needed to make a good capture of this previous afternoon.
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.
I haven’t done much aerial photography in my life but the view from above can sure be pretty at times. From the ground, everything always seems so big and open but from above everything seems so perfectly placed. Either way, working with landscapes is the same. The way the light carries you through an image then back out is extremely important in your composition. The way the earth moves needs to correlate with the light. Flying in a Travel Air 5000 with the Nikon D5 and 24-70 AF-S, it wasn’t hard to sit back and enjoy the scenery.
This is a question that I think about every time I go out with the camera. It’s an important question to ask when you’re working with landscapes and dealing with a sunset or a sunrise. In those scenarios there are two things to look for, where is the light hitting and is it better then looking at the sun itself. In this example the Bridger Mountains are behind me and the light hitting the mountains wasn’t as dramatic as the sun itself going through the clouds. Looking in a 360 is a very important lesson in photography, just as knowing your surroundings is.
Photography is a great way to see how the world changes around us as time moves forward. You take a photo, wait a few years and then go back to that same spot and see the difference. I hiked up this trail many years ago just outside Bozeman and it looked the same then as it does now, just a few more buildings down below. While I went with a different camera and lens, D5 and 18-35, history repeated itself and there wasn’t much to shoot, but plenty to enjoy.
I had this topic come up in conversation this past week and at the end we were both having to take a look at our own photography and wondering how much it applied. So think about this for a second. The Perfect Exposure what is it, how is it captured, how will affect the final image? Exposure is how we deal with light and the absence of light in every photograph. As a photographer our job is to capture the best possible exposure in order to tell the best story. So exposure is important but can it even be perfect?
When I think of perfection what comes to mind is a perfect photograph. That long sought after image that is constantly eluding us so we chase it over and over again. But does it really even exist? If it does what do you do when you get it? Perfection is such a subjective thing that it’s a wonder we even try to make it possible. But when it comes to perfection how can you even know if there isn’t another person taking a similar photo to compare? Each photo is unique and with no way to compare then perfection will always be changing. Exposure is the same way. It’s always changing and how we capture that exposure is also changing. There is no mathematical formula that if you use in every photo you will always get perfection. Perfection isn’t the same as making things easier. Only with practice can you make things easier but never perfect. Why would you ever seek perfection I wouldn’t know but that’s for each person to decide on their own.
Well it’s starting to feel like winter already which is kind of amazing considering how short fall was. With this last big storm that swept across Montana, a blanket of snow was dropped and it was a pretty good size blanket. We got a good foot here in the valley which is actually typical for November as we always seem to get at least one big storm before Thanksgiving.
When big storms come through I watch the weather carefully never knowing when the whole will come in the clouds letting in just enough light to really make that fresh powder shine. Sunday we had a few hours before the next storm cell would bring in more snow I went out looking at all that great powder. Sadly I returned with nothing. That’s how it goes sometimes. You get all ready to find that image only to return empty handed. Then looking out the window in a brief moment there was the image. This is why it’s important to have a camera on your desk for you never know when it’s going to be needed. This was a simple click with the D5 and 70-200 VRII out my window towards the neighbors horse ranch. A little bit of finishing in ACR and there ya go.
What an amazing day for Nikon! The camera company with a humble beginning turned 100. I have shot with Nikon products for years and have never been disappointed. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring. Nikon has gone ahead and made that possible by revealing the D850. You can read about all that’s going on at Nikon here. Thanks for all the memories!
There are certain elements that exist within the areas you live that symbolize where you live. The connotation with Montana is of course the old west, cowboys, open space, etc. Well one element that I don’t incorporate as often are cows. Cattle is a big part of what makes Montana but in landscape shots they aren’t the easiest to incorporate. A big part of this is because they are big black animals that without light they look like black dots. The good thing is everyone knows what a cow is and they are easy to recognize.
Driving around one afternoon we had some immaculate light over the valley thanks to a recently departed thunderstorm. While there was numerous ways to showcase that evening I went wide with the 24-70 AF-S captured as much as I could. Even the cows are in there because they are a part of the story.