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Joshua Tree - Stormy Desert Landscape



When dark, stormy clouds fill the sky, it creates a striking skyline, which produces a nice contrast between the light & shadows falling on the flora and fa...
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When dark, stormy clouds fill the sky, it creates a striking skyline, which produces a nice contrast between the light & shadows falling on the flora and fauna. Overcast skies create unique tonal qualities, as the diffused light enhances the colors that blanket the landscape. The hues of greens, yellows, and reds, for example, shift, slightly, and take on a greater brilliance. And foreground objects tend to appear as though they have more texture and clarity.

As someone who regrets having spent too much time indoors, over the years, consider taking my advice: jump at chances to see how the changes in seemingly less than ideal weather conditions can create unique photographic opportunities. Let's discover this side of the outdoor life!
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Camera: Canon EOS 6D
Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f-2.8L II USM
Filter: Formatt-Hitech Firecrest Grad ND 0.6
Aperture: f-16
ISO: 100
Shutter Speed: 1-80 sec
Focal Length: 22mm
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4 Comments | Report
Neckbone
 
Neckbone May 03, 2018
Beautiful scene and capture!
arcadephoto
arcadephoto May 03, 2018
Thank you very much, Neckbone! I appreciate the positive feedback. Cheers!
krismbeal
 
krismbeal May 09, 2018
Beautiful! Heading to Joshua Tree tomorrow - it will be new for me - so you're inspiring me :)
arcadephoto
arcadephoto May 09, 2018
Thank you so much, krisbeal! I hope you get some fantastic captures during your journey through Joshua Tree. It's a magical place! :-)
Neckbone
 
Neckbone June 21, 2018
Beautiful scene and capture!
arcadephoto
arcadephoto June 22, 2018
Thank you, again, @Neckbone! I appreciate the encouraging words. Good shooting
Byronfairphotography PRO+
 
Byronfairphotography June 24, 2018
Absolutely gorgeous

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken at Joshua Tree National Park, a couple miles in from the western entrance to the park. It is near Boy Scout Trail.
Time
This shot was taken just before sunset, as storm clouds were beginning to part and let the sun shine through.
Lighting
When dark, stormy clouds fill the sky, it creates a striking skyline, which produces a nice contrast between the light & shadows falling on the flora and fauna. Overcast skies contribute unique tonal qualities to a landscape, as the diffused light enhances the colors that blanket each element. The hues of greens, yellows, and reds, for example, shift, slightly, and take on a greater brilliance. And foreground objects tend to appear as though they have more texture and clarity. It is one of my favorite lighting conditions.
Equipment
Camera: Canon EOS 6D Mark I Lens: Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Filter Holder: Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 100mm Holder Filter: Formatt-Hitech Firecrest 100x150 Grad ND 0.6 Tripod: Manfrotto 3405B Junior tripod
Inspiration
The Joshua Tree desertscape is certainly inspiration enough. Beyond that, I wanted to create an image with depth, so I sought out a scene, in which there were different elements in the frame, at various distances. For example, the bone-like wood in the close foreground gives the viewer a starting point with texture. From the wood piece, the viewer is taken on a journey through the image, as they view the famous Joshua trees, bushes, and rock structures in the mid-foreground, the clouds that stretch the length from mid-foreground to the background, and ending at the point where mountains converge with the clouds, in the further distance. Additionally, I wanted the light to lead from the foreground to the background, as a sort of leading line, so I positioned the camera to capture that light path.
Editing
I planned ahead for the post-processing, by bracketing 3 shots of varying exposures, in-camera. I then merged the 2 shots that give me the most dynamic range in Lightroom CC, as an HDR image. After adjusting basic settings in Lightroom, I brought the image into Photoshop. In Photoshop, I used a NIK filter to enhance the contrast, used a dodge and burn layer to enhance the path of light, and created natural vignetting through the gradient tool.
In my camera bag
When I am shooting landscapes, I typically have my Canon 6D Mark I, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 II USM lens, Formatt-Hitech 100mm "Ken Kaminesky" Firecrest filter kit, and Vello Shutterboss Remote Switch.
Feedback
Embrace inclement weather, as it produces very unique lighting conditions. Take time to observe what the light is doing before you shoot. Be patient, but quick, as good lighting can be fleeting.

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