It Takes Just the Slightest Wisp

Moose Creek captured by Z 9 / Z14-24f2.8

I’m up in beautiful Alaska chasing Northern Lights and part of that process is scouting during the day for where you want to park at night. I went to Moose Creek yesterday (no relation) to find the tiniest of wisp of clouds and I knew I had to make a click. How do you talk about big skies when the viewer is not standing next to you to experience them themselves? I instantly went to black and white because the “gray” background makes the white pops. You’ve gotta know you have the killer tool in ACR, B&W Mixer where you can take the blue slider and move it just a bit to the right and makes those clouds pop. You have Sky Masking where AI selects all the sky so you can move the Clarity slider a tad to the right and with that, those wisps now are working so show expanse. With these tools in your pocket, it takes just the slightest wisp.

The Kiss of Hoar

Hayden Valley Tree captured by  Z 9 / Z70-200f2.8

The tree is not new to me been looking at it for decades. Not as a possible subject but for what critters but be using it. So yesterday as we were approaching it I did as always, checked for critters. Last critter I saw in its shade were coyotes. This day, nothin. But then I saw the glint of sparkle on it from the hoar frost. Then I saw the slope, then I saw its shadow. By the time my mind processed it all I had to yell STOP! The snowcoach pulled over, I grabbed the gear and walked back the could of hundred yards to make the click. The making of the photo was pretty straight forward. But the Z 9 into monochorme, focus and click. Done. In the end, it because one of my favorite winter tree photo from Yellowstone. And I’ll never think of this tree the same way except for with its kiss of hoar.

B&W a Natural for Snow?

Powerline Trail captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

When to use B&W, that’s a great question that is asked so often. In the most technical sense, you need a clean black and a clean white as the starting point to a successful B&W print. The print only comes from time in the field with a camera. In this pursuit, the white is the harder of the two to find. But not in winter as much as snow in the right region abounds. We often though want to bring “warmth” to the winter scene. The juxtaposition easily works within the bounds of the viewfinder. This mean typically a color versus a B&W photo. On the other hand the drama and romance that B&W brings to a snowed covered landscape can tell a more powerful story. This brings us back to the question, when to shoot B&W? I’m so confused … not really but then I live in snow country and I think that’s the key. Not living in snow but rather your emotional response to snow, snow covered landscape, cold and telling its story visually. The one time I know I’ll go B&W is when the drama in the sky screams snow storm coming! The white of the snow against that landscape is power and that power comes out dramatically in B&W. But with all of this said, it still begs the question, B&W a natural for snow?

The View is Grand!

Yellowstone North Entrance, 2 image pano captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

Yellowstone in winter is spectacular, and the new North Entrance road provides grand perches to take it all in! I just love the new road (the old road is at the bottom of the image) and they built some pullouts with me in mind it would seem. The storm was just on its way out when we pulled over bringing more drama to an already perfect location. It’s just wow, the view is grand!

Oh The Power!

Two Image pano of Philmont Scout Ranch captured by Z 9 / Z24-120

While we were high and dry, someone was going to get really drenched this evening! Standing out on the point, the view looking over Philmont Scout Ranch is simply gorgeous! It is never, ever the same to the point that, we went up there three times to shoot over five days. The pano does a good job expressing the vast and gorgeous view and a pano I’ve taken a number of times over the years. On this evening though, the power that was before us truly caught my imagination. While the Z 9 was still set in B&W, I switched out the Z24-120 (love this lens!) to the Z400f4.5 w/Z1.4x (just love this combo) to capture the power in that thunderhead. I simply love that raw, natural power!


Big City Landscape

Sydney Skyline captured by Z 9 / Z24-120, B&W out of the camera (A Gallery of image here click on arrow to see them all)

There was a time back in the ’70s when I flirted with the idea of going into architecture photography. It’s probably because of the math, all the lines, engineering, and symmetry that grabbed my imagination. While I didn’t pursue it, when I’m in a big city (they are all big compared to where we live) I tend to indulge those old flames by pointing my lens up. So was the case when we were in Sydney a few weeks back. There is no doubt the clouds are what made me look up and after that, it was just fun. I’ve already posted some of my photos of the Opera House, but I saved a couple for here because the Sydney skyline wouldn’t be complete without including them. Is there a “trick” to this stuff? I think that if you don’t feel it, it won’t come out in the photo. The it? A bit of passion for the lines, I think it’s all about the lines. A couple of the shots, the lines were squared up in ACR, otherwise they are as they lead. And after this, where did I go to shoot? Why, back to the forest of course. It would seem I can only take a few days of the big city landscape.

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