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.
As the whole country is engulfed in bad weather, up here in Montana we certainly have had our share with over a foot of snow just over this past weekend. We had a huge storm come through Friday-Saturday and finally it let up a little bit on Sunday. It’s great getting the snow we certainly do need it when Summer roles around but why does it always come in on the weekends? Well Sunday I was tired of being cooped up inside so with the break in weather I grabbed the gear and headed up into the Birdgers.
This is what I found. It was great! I love finding trees that are just covered. There’s nothing like that fresh snow fall. Everything is clean, no tracks or footprints and the trees are all covered. The possibilities seem to just pop out at you as you can go from extreme closeups to abstracts. My favorites are often when the light falls so softly that you can’t tell if it’s a black and white or not.
One thing I often look for is that one tree or that one clump of trees that just pop out. With the D3 and 70-200 VRII I just isolate that area and go for just the detail, not the whole scene. I was taught when working with snow is that it can be not only seductive but also overpowering at times. When you try and encompass everything in one image often times it’s hard to focus because of all the whites and blacks. That’s why it’s important to go with snippets here and there to compliment everything else.
One very powerful tool to use when working with snow is a vignette. It’s a simple old school trick to bringing the eye down to one selective point. Personally I like using the darken and lighten tool in Color Efex Pro 4 to do this. By using that filter it’s much easier to isolate that one tree that originally caught your attention and you’re trying to bring out in your image.
There are those moments of course when you just have to stop and look. This is one of those shots that I just had to do. On the middle of this snow covered mountain was a lone cabin. Everything else seems like a painting except that one orange dot. What a view that person must have.
As i said the other day i was up in the mountains chasing the clouds. Nothing like going up in altitude to get the brain a moving. That thinner oxygen really does help. I decided to drive up somewhere i had never gone before and frankly probably wasn’t the smartest decision considering it was a 4 wheel drive road, but it was kind of fun exploring nonetheless.
I finally stopped and looked out over the east to the rolling hills that surround the Bridger’s. It always amazed me how different the landscape looks after going just 30 minutes out of town. If you ever look at a topographic map of Montana then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
There was one thing that really caught my attention from the otherwise rather boring flat light. It was this low cloud that was coming over the treeline beneath the ceiling. While everything was moving east it kept creeping towards the west and eventually right into the mountainside covering up the Bridger’s. It was fun to watch but eventually it got cold and dark. With the light gone it was time to head back in for some processing.
With the flat, moody light black and white just seemed to fit the evening. Besides the conversion there really wasn’t anything else needed. Those are the shots that i always look for, the ones where you don’t have to do much with them in the computer.
Images captured with Nikon D3, AF-S 24-70, AF-S 70-200 VRII, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film