Golden Larch Sunrise II





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3 Comments | Report
bobbytaylor71 Premium
bobbytaylor71 November 27, 2019
A skillfully well crafted image/scene ... Congrats on your award.
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visusfrontis November 27, 2019
CB-Images PRO
CB-Images December 18, 2019
nice tones and the trees just light the image up

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Behind The Lens

This shot was taken October 2019 in the Enchantments, Washington state. The permits needed to visit this area are difficult to attain, but in a turn of luck I got a place just in time for start of larch season. I was extremely excited for a chance to see this unique landscape, even knowing it would be a very cold and grueling 5 days in the wilderness. Over the whole trip I hiked roughly 35 miles, mostly in fresh snow.
A cold, early wakeup was required to see this composition in it's best lighting. I took this shot just after sunrise, during a break from the storm that had dusted the landscape with new snowfall the previous night. High winds had prevented any snow from sticking to the trees, so their colors shined brightly.
This was a lucky moment of light. Much of the trip was overcast and stormy, so this brief minute of sunlight was well loved. The light remained very soft and ambient, shining through the rising clouds.
In this shot I'm using the Sony a7r with the Zeiss 16-35mm lens.
I've always been impressed with mountainous, rugged landscapes, and shooting in this area lends a great chance of producing beautiful images. Visiting the Enchantments had been a dream of mine for years, so I was excited to go during the start of the fall color. Between the fresh snow, amazing lighting, and mind blowing landscapes abound, it's hard to be disappointed. Even enduring constant below-freezing temperatures and sore muscles for many days was worth it.
My editing workflow was fairly straight forward with this shot. This shot is derived from just a single raw image; every detail I wanted to feature was exposed fairly well. Before beginning an edit I always ask myself one question: "What story does the composition tell?" In this case, I wanted to showcase the larch trees that had begun turning yellow, and give them a dynamic contrast against those that remained green. After, I used gradients to bring the color out in the foreground and sky.
In my camera bag
For my wilderness trips I usually keep my camera equipment to a minimum. Being here for several days and living in a tent meant I needed camping equipment and warm clothing, so I only brought two lenses: the Zeiss 16-35 and the Zeiss 24-70. I also have a lightweight and sturdy tripod that is well worth bringing along in case of clear nights. The milky way is quite bright far from lights of the city.
Taking shots like this definitely requires a high level of motivation! During this trip I was challenged by the difficult hike in, the cold miserable nights, and the relentless icy wind. I recall one night where I had to continually remove falling snow from my tent, which became a tiring task to manage in the freezing cold. The next morning I woke an hour before sunrise and marched through the ever-deepening snow in hopes of catching the first light at my favored compositions. If I had any advice to give to anyone who wants to shoot in rugged locations, it's be prepared for the conditions! Another thing I try to do on a trip like this is keep a memory log of potential shots. During unideal weather and lighting I wander quite a distance and take a few reference photos. Then, when the light pops, I know where to return. When working with spotty light conditions and poor weather its also important to be patient. During this trip the light came and went so fast throughout the day that it was difficult to be in the right spot at the right time, but I think its a great lesson in patience and reward. At the end of the day focus not on what was left on the table, but the experience as a whole.

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