While out skiing I came across this scene and it stumped me. The mountains looked amazing and the clouds rolled back enough that it created a lot of drama but the light was so bright that I couldn’t see the great photo opp. While obviously I still tried to make the photo happen it still feels lacking. If this happens to you then you have to ask yourself, is the photo worth it or is it better to just soak in the moment?
The Rocky Mountains have a lot of great places to go take pictures and one of those areas is the dense forests that surround Gallatin Valley. Hyalite Canyon and Reservoir is a wonderful place to go for a walk or this time of year a ski. Being in a dense forest can lead to some amazing photos but the light options inside the forest can make it a challenge. Forests are a conglomerate of highlights and shadows which create a high dynamic range to work with. It can be easy to miss the photo by taking in too much so going small and focusing on a small area can lead to a more powerful image.
Photographers all know to take their cameras with them where ever they go because the moment when you don’t have one is the moment when you need one. Well, I don’t normally take my camera with me when I go skiing because let’s face it, I fall down at times which can be scary when you have a camera, but this time around Hyalite I made sure I had mine. Beautiful powder and some great light made for a fun afternoon outing.
I have always been a fan of using heavy dark’s when it comes to my landscape images. What’s light without dark? That contrast when applied to the natural world can tell pretty compelling stories. Now granted I shoot a lot at sunrise and sunset when these two forces meet with the most drama but regardless having that little pop of light just peeking out can make for some very meaningful scenery.
Rim light isn’t just used with people it can be used in landscapes. In these examples the only light that is coming through is a little bit from between the clouds layers just moments before the sun sets. Normally to capture you would either do an HDR to capture all that detail between the lights and dark’s or underexpose as to not have any blown out highlights. Obviously I went with underexposing. Why? Well the whole day was dark, clouds kept the sun away until these shafts popped through so why not express that.
Using the D4 and 70-200 VRII, the last bit of light brought a little warmth to the otherwise cold winter day. The subject in both of these images is truly the light and that’s all that really matters.