Friday, February 21, 2014

Drama Queen

Mother Nature can play the role of a Drama Queen very well. Storms, both approaching and clearing, can create fantastic conditions. This was an approaching storm over Lake Powell in Arizona. We were standing on a high promontory and the wind nearly blew our tripods over at one point.

As the clouds blew across the brilliant blue sky, the sun’s rays put on a spectacular show. These conditions often provide extreme contrast that makes proper exposure difficult. The white in the clouds was extremely bright, and the shadowed ground was getting quite dark.

I chose an exposure that held some detail in the dark areas, and kept the blown out whites to a minimum. I knew that Lightroom would be able to return detail in both areas.

When shooting in these conditions, it is important to keep a wary eye out for lightning. In the desert southwest conditions can change very quickly, and lightning even miles away can travel rapidly in your direction. No shot is worth putting yourself in danger.

We were fortunate that our cars were close by and as the wind escalated and the sky became more threatening we retreated to the cars and took the last few shots from an open window.

Notice the composition. The cloud at the top right is not cropped at the top, and the one on the left edge is also fully visible. Small details like that can improve the overall composition and add to a feeling of completeness to the image.

The dark ground along the bottom acts as a base, supporting the entire weight of the image.

Shutter Speed 1/250 sec.  Aperture f/22.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set to 17mm.  Camera: Canon 40D.  Gitzo tripod with ballhead. 

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Everything can have drama if it’s done right. Even a pancake.”  --Julia Child

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