JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages

Sunset Over Sleeping Bear



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Legendary Award
Contest Finalist in Driftwood Photo Contest
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19 Comments | Report
Lucciano
 
Lucciano August 19, 2015
Welcome to Viewbug!
Enjoy!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages August 21, 2015
Thank you very much!
Mauro_Mendula
 
Mauro_Mendula September 07, 2015
Great light & composition!!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages September 10, 2015
Thank you!
MichelleBGood18
 
MichelleBGood18 October 06, 2015
Perfect
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages October 06, 2015
Thank you very much!
pearsaab
 
pearsaab October 09, 2015
A beautful shot John!!!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages October 19, 2015
Thank you Pearsaab!
gek1701
 
gek1701 October 14, 2015
Stunning shot
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages October 19, 2015
Thank you! I appreciate the compliment very much!
doubleplay PRO+
 
doubleplay October 15, 2015
Great image, well done!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages October 19, 2015
Thank you very much doubleplay!
KathileePhotography
 
KathileePhotography October 21, 2015
Just beautiful
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages October 22, 2015
Thank you Kathilee!
mtybumpo
 
mtybumpo October 29, 2015
What a gorgeous shot! it was so hard to choose the winner for my photo challenge. I wish I could have chosen two!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thank you Mtybumpo! I'm sure the winner's photo you chose was well deserved!
nandicmb PRO
 
nandicmb November 04, 2015
Congratulations on your Contest Finalist win in Pretty Everyday Things Photo Contest!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages November 04, 2015
Thank you very much nandicmb!
MisterW
 
MisterW November 05, 2015
John I love this shot, absolutely stunning.
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thank you so much!
TessaGonzales
 
TessaGonzales November 06, 2015
what a stunning shot!!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thanks Tessa!
nornots PRO
 
nornots November 08, 2015
Beautiful.
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thank you very much!
SorenMoorePhotography
 
SorenMoorePhotography November 09, 2015
Gorgeous light and sky, foreground works well too.
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thank you SorenMoore!
wanderlustsoulsphoto
 
wanderlustsoulsphoto November 11, 2015
Beautiful shot!
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages July 08, 2016
Thank you Kristen!
Merbert
 
Merbert August 18, 2016
Beautiful!!!
Norbert
JohnWaldronImages
JohnWaldronImages September 01, 2016
Thank you so much Merbert!
CWphotos5
 
CWphotos5 November 03, 2016
Especially love your choice of a foreground...excellent exposure and composition of a beautiful sunset!
zaidibrahim
 
zaidibrahim February 03, 2017
wow great image
FlorenceDinah
 
FlorenceDinah February 06, 2017
Magnificent!
Neckbone
 
Neckbone June 17, 2017
Great shot!

Behind The Lens

Location
To date, this is my favorite image that I've captured. It was taken at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park in Michigan, my home state.
Time
This image was taken just before sunset. This was my third day in a row that I had spent wandering the dunes. The skies were perfectly clear all day, not a good situation for a landscape photo. I wasn't actually expecting to capture a good picture, but I kept walking the shore just to soak up the beauty of the Great Lakes. I came to a point where I realized I was miles from the trail that led to my car, and I probably had less than an hour before sunset. But I saw something interesting up ahead, it looked like a dead forest of driftwood. I hadn't seen anything like it up to that point in my trip. As I got closer, I quickly realized it was a very beautiful area. There were large dead trees shooting out of the sand at various odd angles that led to some very interesting compositions, but nothing I was terribly satisfied with. I wandered closer to the shore, and realized that for the first time that day, the sky was full of clouds that were backlit by the setting sun. I saw the small tree seen in the photo from a distance, and I really hoped that it would compose right with the sun. As I started to set up my camera I noticed that it was exactly what I had hoped for. I sat there for about 30-45 minutes, and in my excitement I took a picture every 30 seconds or so until the sun had totally disappeared. I can't explain why, but for some reason this capture is vastly different from the many other pictures I took sitting there. Somehow this one image is far more vibrant and contrasty compared to the ones captured just 30 seconds apart. It's my theory that I was extremely lucky capturing this photo at the perfect moment for lighting.
Lighting
Back lighting is an extremely powerful tool. I always prefer capturing images where the lighting is naturally full of contrast and saturation. This makes for a far better product rather than adding it all in post. That said, I of course process my images to make them "pop" more.
Equipment
I used a Canon 6D, and a 16-35mm f/2.8 USM II. I can't remember what tripod I used, but it was a cheap one bought at a local store.
Inspiration
I love The Great Lakes, and really wanted to capture an image that shows how beautiful they can be. There's something fantastic about the gradient of warm colors and flowing clouds at sunset that I haven't seen anywhere else. Even growing up there, I get chills when I see them today.
Editing
I process my images quite a bit, but for the most part I try to keep it simple, this photo is probably one of my least processed photos. I used rgb curves to boost contrast, increase warm colors in the highlights, and add cool colors to the shadows. I also used the Vibrancy/saturation editor in Photoshop to add punch. I used these tools as layers in Photoshop and actually adjusted the opacity to my desired effect. I did this because I had very finely tuned the tones with rgb curves, and didn't wan't to risk changing what I already liked, but it was just too much. Lowering the opacity to roughly 85% made it perfect.
In my camera bag
I usually have a Canon 6d, a 16-35mm f/2.8 USM II, some filters such as ND and Polarizers, and thats it for camera equipment. I also carry with me various camping equipment and emergency supplies since I almost exclusively do landscape photography and want to be prepared. I carry water purifying tablets, (never had to use them), an emergency blanket, paracord, a multitool, a reliable flashlight, waterproof matches and a flint striker. I also carry with me a map of the local area, which is usually a national park, and a compass.
Feedback
The five most important things in landscape photography are as follows, #1. Patience. #2. Patience. #3. Patience. Most of the time I can go for days without capturing an image I'm happy with, and numerous times I've finished entire trips without one image that I love. Other times I step out of the car the first day of the trip and take an image that I fall in love in with. Landscape photography requires a little bit of skill, and a whole lot of luck. #4. A true love for nature, I find that if you head out specifically with the hope of capturing a beautiful a landscape picture, you are often left disappointed. I usually head out with the hopes of getting away from the city, breathing some fresh air, and relaxing. Any image I capture to me is a gift. That said, I take pictures of EVERYTHING, it's not at all unusual for me to fill a 64Gb card on one trip. Which leads me into my final "important thing". #5. Take pictures of everything, no matter how confident you are that you got what you wanted. The majority of my favorite pictures are ones I almost didn't take. Ironically, "Sunset Over Sleeping Bear", is one of the very few images I've captured, and knew for sure that it was exactly what I wanted. Most of the time I take hundreds of pictures that I'm sure are going to look beautiful when I get home and review them. But more often than not, I find that it's the opposite. The few pictures I end up loving are the ones that I didn't think were going to translate on camera, so I moved on before perfecting the image. I always wish I could go back, now knowing how great an image it could have been, to change fine details in the composition or camera settings. I'm sure this is because I'm a young, inexperienced photographer who learns more every time I go on a trip. I'm sure with time I'll better understand what images I'm really gonna love. But for now, I make sure I take that extra effort, and capture that image that may or may not be great, and capture it as well as I can.

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