Tag Archives: eastern sierras
Both the shots in this post were made along Luther Pass Rd (Hw89 connecting 50E and Hwy88). Visit this place at the right time of the year and you will see gorgeous colors all along this road.
(Click on the thumbnails on this post to view larger without leaving the page)
I wanted to show, the original color shot, a straight BW conversion (desaturate) and a careful BW conversion, meant to highlight the primary object in the frame. As you can see, my primary objective was to showcase the long Aspen limbs. The color version presents us with innumerable distractions that take the attention away from the tree trunks. There are different colors that we see, the clutter on the ground, some odd branches, all seek our attention. BW conversion is one way to emphasise only the thing that we want our viewers to see and feel. If we go about making a simple BW conversion (plain desaturation), along with the tree trunks being bright, the leaves are also comparatively bright, so again, the bright leaves distract us away from the trunk (this is more pronounced in the below example).
In these two frames, the distractions (leaves) are either green or derivatives of red and green(orange, yellow). So a BW conversion which is equivalent to using a Blue filter (block all but the blue component of light), darkens the leaves while emphasising and attracting our attention to the tree trunk.
“Rain and mist in Hope Valley, filled with beautiful Fall color.”
This was made at the junction of Hwy 89 (Luther Pass) and Hwy 88. The surrounding area is called Hope Valley, and it is one of the popular fall color viewing locations in California. This year (2010), fall colors appeared in 2 phases. In the first week of October there was beautiful color all along this valley. These leaves were blown away by heavy winds in the coming week, but later again there were good colors during the 3rd week of October. This image was made during my second visit on a cloudy and rainy day.
From the Hwy, I could see a patch of colored aspens on the hillside and I wanted to get close to it. Getting closer to those trees was harder than I thought. I had to drive along a dirt road for about a mile and then walk on a deserted field, what looked like a wild cattle feeding ground . It started raining the moment I set my tripod. Few exposures later it started pouring heavily. My wife was holding the umbrella while I made this one last exposure, the trees along the gentle slopes and the foreground brush, I think provided some rythmic pattern that I liked in this frame.
The whole world seems to have moved forward with some exciting winter landscape imges, while I’m still processing my Fall season photographs . I should be back in the field in a few weeks after a brief winter hibernation.
“#1 Brilliantly colored trees reflected in Lake Sabrina, California; #2 Bright orange colored aspens on Lake Sabrina’s shore; A small detail from the huge landscape singled out using a long lens”
I had posted a shot on Flickr earlier and wrote about my first visit to the Eastern Sierra’s and about the fine morinig here at Lake Sabrina, check it out. This shot that I have here was shot on the same day. I must have made 100′s of photos that day, changing lenses, picking details, changing orientation, shooting panorama’s. This is just split in half compared to my earlier post, here I have use two exposure, manually blended together, one exposure for the sky and the other for the hillside in the shadows.
As I always do, I focussed my long lens at the grove of orange aspens on the middle left of this frame. I stitched 3 vertically oriented shots to get this. By doing so I did increase the number of pixels I have in a frame with same aspect ratio as a single frame, not bad ah?
“A collection of impression photographs of Aspens, achieved by controlled camera motion.”
This is a very addictive technique that I learnt this fall. There are number of blogs/websites where they discuss this technique and the different ways to get good results, but none can give you the exact recipe for success. This is mainly because the technique itself depends on random camera motion and hence trying this out in the field and failing many number of times is the only way to get some decent results.
There are many names to this technique, “impressions”, “impression of light”, “in camera painting” etc. All of these refer to the end result, an abstract painting like finish to a photo. I know that something similar may be achieved using Photoshop, but what’s the fun in doing that?
There are two crucial ingredients, I think to a decent looking impression. The subject itself and the type of camera motion (this also involves the choice of shutter speed), either vertical,, horizontal or a simple shake. I have not extensively studied the wide variety of subject that could benefit from this technique, but I found tall aspens respond very well. All of the impressions in this post involve aspens and almost all of them have vertical camera motion.
Let me know which one you like the most.
“Mist rising from the lake surface at sunrise on a cold autumn morning in June Lake, Eastern Sierras, California”
This was shot during my second visit to the eastern sierras this fall. The first visit had generated some wonderful fall color viewing and photographing opportunities, so I kind of had high expectations from my second visit, but due to recent snows, most of the color was knocked down and the weather did not co-operate. I had set up camp at the June Lake Campground, but instead of waking early in the morning and driving a long distance to either South/North Lake or Lake Sabrina (a favourite fall color photographing location), I instead chose to sleep a little late and enjoy the sunrise from the banks of June Lake.
It was also my wife’s first camping out in the cold, well it was 35F – 40F in the night and for someone from the tropics, that’s a lot to tolerate. But the mood at the lake at sunrise with all the mist rising from the surface did compensate for all the cold she had to tolerate and she actually enjoyed being there.
There was sound from a light breeze, the thin layer of mist on the lake surface dancing around with it, but other than that it was completely silent. I noticed these long grass sticking out from the lake bed along with their reflection in the calm waters. Along with the mist and some muted colors, I think it conveys the silent and calm mood pretty well. With no color saturation, I did think about presenting this in BW, but I think there is not much contrast in the scene for that to be effective and also I like the muted colors.
I made this photograph with not much color, while my primary intention of this visit was to to capture vibrant fall colors. Sometimes a pre-conceived idea can completely blind you from seeing everything else that is interesting, but I’m glad that I was able to switch my mindset to adapt what lay before me. I think it is important to be flexible with our plans, when conditions do not co-operate for or original plan to work out.
Here is one from when the first light hit the snow covered peaks.
Comments and criticism welcomed.
”Layers of colorful aspen, adorn the hill sides in the Bishop Canyon, California on a beautiful overcast day”
My first visit to the eastern sierras on Oct 2nd 2010 and I was greeted with a carpet of colors. The carpets were laid out on the hill sides and all I had to do was compose and shoot. The entire stretch of the road leading to South Lake was just beautiful. The weather too cooperated and remained overcast and rainy throughout the day. Overcast weather helped because it provided soft diffused light all day long and the rains made the leaves look fresh and vibrant.
As in my previous post, I used my 70-200mm lens to pick out details in the distant hills to get this shot. Things can get pretty exciting when we see complete hill sides draped with exotic colors. The normal tendency would be to include everything in the frame, which can hide true patterns and we may end up not publishing those at all. Looking with a long lens can completely change your perspective and bring out some cool patterns for the viewers eyes to latch on to.