The Lone Aspen

•March 12, 2013 • 1 Comment

The Lone Aspen

I found this tree to be unusual in that Aspens usually grow in groves and that this one was all alone. That’s what initially grabbed my attention for this shot. Now all I had to do was wait for that perfect light and boy did the sky explode with color yesterday evening.

Did you know that a grove of Aspens is one single organism? The grove is connected by one single root system and in fact, is one of the largest living organisms on the planet. The largest known aspen grove is in Utah and is known as Pando. Not only is it one of the largest known organisms on earth; it is also one of the oldest living organisms on earth at 80,000 years old.

I found it unusual to find this one single aspen growing by itself. It seemed as if it were out of place. To me this is one element that helps make this an interesting and compelling image not to mention the awesome light.

So here are the technical details. The picture was taken around 6:45pm. That’s when the sky just went off and exploded with amazing hues of purple and pink. This image was taken with my Canon 1d mk iii with a 2x teleconverter connected to a Canon 70-200mm L lens.  So my focal length ended up being 226mm.  I had the lens stopped down to f/22 to allow for a long exposure of 30 seconds and my camera was set to ISO 100.  I wanted that long exposure to allow the clouds to move while the image was being exposed to soften them and create a wispy appearance.  I had scouted this tree out about an hour earlier and knew right away I was going to use it as an element in my composition.  I mentioned above as to why it caught my attention. There was a thin layer of clouds so I knew that there was going to be some color in the sky during sunset and that the tree would look nice silhouetted against the colorful sky.  While scouting for locations to shoot your images, pay attention to the direction you will be shooting them from and what the weather is doing.  Paying attention to these details and applying them to how you will compose your images will make a big difference in the images  you walk away with.

Until next time get out there and shoot!

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The Gronk Revisited

•March 8, 2013 • 1 Comment

Last night the conditions were perfect for me to go revisit The Gronk and get the type of shot I was looking for the other night.  Don’t get me wrong, the image in my previous post is a great image, I just thought that it was missing that umph that it needed to make it a really powerful image.  Last night there was not a cloud in the sky and the conditions were clear.  There was one other major difference however in the conditions last night from the night the image in my last post was taken and that was the absence of moonlight.  Which was good for letting the stars pop out of the sky but provided no light on the subject matter.  Now I could have set up my lighting and gotten really complex with how this scene was lit but instead I opted for a more resourceful and simplistic approach.  I used the parking lights on my vehicle!  My car was positioned behind the camera to the right.  I used the parking lights because I liked the funky colors that they give off and if I had used the headlights they would have been too overpowering.  I also repositioned the angle that the image was taken from in my last post.  This was primarily because the other angle faced towards town and I did not want the light pollution from town to affect the image.

I took the above image around 9:00pm.  My camera settings ended up being F/20 with a 20 min exposure at ISO 800 with my 24-105 mounted on my 5dmkiii again backed out to 24mm to get that wide angle of view.  I wanted a small aperture setting to widen my depth of field so that both the stars and the structure would be in focus and to allow for that long exposure time of 20 minutes so that I would get the stars streaking across the sky.  I also wanted to wait till there was no light from the sun still being reflected off the sky and have found that 9:00pm works well around here.  I am pretty happy with this image now but Im sure I will continue to revisit this scene and shoot it in different conditions.

Until next time get out there and shoot!

Back At It

•February 24, 2013 • Leave a Comment
Ruins From an Old Mine

The Gronk

Ok folks, so it’s been a while since I have last made a post on my blog, in fact I have cleared off all of my old posts. I have just recently relocated to the West and felt that my blog needed a fresh start.

So to start things back up I’m going to talk about the image above. This image is of a structure that is known as “The Gronk” here in Crested Butte. Most people that live here and many that have visited here have seen “The Gronk.” This structure is nothing more than a piece of old mining equipment left over from the mining days of Crested Butte long before it was known for its world class skiing. There is not a whole  lot of information about this structure in regards to what its purpose was, but none the less it’s a local land mark and makes for great subject matter in a photo.

This image was captured around 9:00 at night after the sun had completely set and the moon was high in the sky. Above the structure you can make out the constellation of Orion. I used a shutter speed of 30 seconds at f/8 and my ISO was set at 800 for this image. I was shooting with my Canon 24-105mm L lens backed all the way out to 24mm mounted on my Canon 5d MkIII. I wanted a wide angle perspective so that I could get a good portion of the night’s sky and, the main subject matter, The Gronk.

The conditions were not as ideal as I would have liked but I think the image still came out pretty stellar. There was a very thin cloud layer that was blowing over that night which reflected all the light from town causing the sky to overexpose just a hair and did not allow for the stars to pop as they would on a perfectly clear night. In addition to this shot I also wanted to get a really long exposure of 15 min or so where the stars would streak across the sky but due to the conditions was not able to make that happen. I will need a much clearer night for that type of image. So stay tuned as I will be revisiting this spot and will be working to dial this shot in and get it the way I want it.