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on May 29, 2012 in Landscape Photography

The Worst Weather…


This past weekend was our first Mono Lake Weekend and the luck was with us! We had a freak winter storm come through the Sierra on Memorial Weekend leaving not only snow on the ground but great clouds floating past. To say Mono Lake has been photographed a few times is an understatement. The goal is to make the uncommon of the common and when you have nasty weather, you have an opportunity to do just that. If nothing else with such weather, you sure not going to be bored! Typical Moose style, we were at the lake at 04:30 to greet the day. It was a mighty dark and gray day at the beginning with a wind putting the waves to work on Mono Lake. With that mix, early morning, clouds and wind, I dialed in some settings into the camera. On the hope we’d have some sun for color at sunrise, I set the WB to Cloudy. With the dramatic clouds, I put the 18AF on the D4 and with the wind, I closed the lens down to f/22 and ISO to L1 for the slowest possibly shutter speed. The sun never appeared so the Cloudy WB was a bust. The 18AF definitely brought a drama to the dynamics of the scene and the slow shutter speed captured a flow to the lake’s surface that I like.

With everything working so well except for WB, processing was pretty clear cut. One thing I do in processing a file is follow the same logic that I made the photo by. The subject was the storm, a rather all encompassing subject but has certain elements heightening it. Opening the file in ACR, the first thing I did was remove the blue color cast caused by no sun. Simply grabbed the White Balance tool in ACR and clicked on a white. Then while in ACR, I used the Graduated tool to bring the drama in the clouds to the forefront so the eye is pushed down in the frame. Then in PS CS-6 I ran Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 > Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor. It was cold, it was windy, it was windy and it was spectacular!