We have been in the deep freeze for over a week now with random layers of snow added on occasion. Not much in the way of snow, an inch or two here and there, but the temperature has remained below freezing up until the last day or so. This weather, and some available time have allowed me to make some new photographs under these conditions. Most of this new work has been in Red Rock Canyon SP. I have either not had the time in the past when it did snow, or we received very little in the way of this precipitation.
And so, without further ado, here is one of the new work.
"The Dead Of Winter"
For the third time now, I have had the opportunity of photographing this place in another season. I had been hoping for some snow, and after a week of sub-freezing temps, there was enough snow and ice on the pond to create a dramatic image.
Nikon D700 / Tokina AT-X Pro SD 17-35/4 FX ASPH @ 26 mm. ISO 200 @ f22 @ 1/4 second. Processed entirely in Lightroom 5.
I wanted the image to retain the coldness of the day. We had fog for the better part of 2 days, so it was key that I didn't give the image too much of a bluish tint. A fine bit of tuning brought the sky into place by lowering the White Balance from the 'as shot' 5360 to 5050. Then, I adjusted the Tint to -7 which removed a slight magenta tint in the sky. From here, it was pretty straight forward to add a bit of Clarity (+15), and quite a bit of Vibrance (+55) to bring out the green a bit in the evergreens and cedars. I then began adjusting the colors to bring out the red in the sandstone. In Hue, I added Red (+31), then I reduced Orange (-16) and Yellow (-36) to keep the sandstone from looking too garishly vibrant. In Saturation, I added some Red (+18), then added some Orange (+63) back into the image. I know this contradicts what I did with Orange in the Hue section, but I have found that this works best under overcast conditions. I have played with various combinations in this area, moving both the Hue and Saturation sliders back and forth in both directions. The above mentioned trick seems to represent the color best, in my opinion. The last touch was in the Luminence panel, where I increased the Orange (+40) to make the sandstone glow a bit. A final bit of sharpening was done before export to both the website and Google+.
I had been eyeing this group of saplings for weeks. Each time I drove by them, I said to myself "There's a photograph here". The last day of November saw me down in the canyon in the early morning. Once again, I drove past these "trees". After creating a few other pieces, I was on my way back out and saw the golden color on the wall and the contrast created by the trees in front. I stopped and made a photograph.
Nikon D700 / Tokina AT-X Pro 80-200/2.8 SD MkIII @ 145 mm. ISO @ f22 @ 1/ second. Processed entirely in Lightroom 5.
There was so much chaos with all of the little branches and saplings that I really wasn't sure the image would work. I had originally made the image with the White Balance set in camera @ 4550 because I didn't want the trees to be too warm looking. This would have caused extra work in processing and the end result may have ended up in the trash. In LR, I lowered the WB to 4050 which really flattened the whole image. I set the Tint to (0), then reduced the Highlights (-52) to take the sheen off of the tree branches. This left me with the image still looking flat but there was now a slight bit of contrast between the trees and background. I then increased the Contrast (+25) and added some Clarity (+15), then Vibrance (+62). I now had an image that looked close to what I wanted but felt that it needed more detail in the background wall. To accomplish this was a juggling act. First, I added some Saturation via Red (+25), some Orange (+32), then reduced the Yellow (-51) to get rid of an unwanted brightness in this color, and finally reduced the Blue (-45) to remove a slight tint in the trees. I moved on to the Luminence panel where I increased the Orange (+18), reduced the Yellow (-41) to further reduce an unusual cast to the sandstone, then reduced the Green to remove the somewhat saturated leaves visible in the image. A final bit of output sharpening and I was done.
The weird thing about this image is how brilliantly lit the wall was, while the trees were still in shadow. All in all, I am happy with the end result and hope that you like it too.