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Photographer: Stephen Blanchard
Location: Owens Valley, near Bishop, Eastern Sierra, California
Equipment: Canon S90, lens set at 23mm equivalent, handheld, image stabilization enabled
A few days before Christmas 2009, on the way to a day of skiing at Mammoth, Stephen Blanchard noticed the clouds on the Sierra crest during a clearing snowstorm. He pulled off the highway and waited, hoping for some alpenglow on the peaks at sunrise, and was rewarded with this scene. Blanchard didn’t have his DSLR with him, but he always carries the S90 just in case he encounters scenes like this. Luck favors the prepared!
In this issue’s Assignments department, we’re looking at three dramatic mountain scenes. Each image was submitted to a different Assignment, but I find that all of them are excellent examples of majestic mountainscapes. Each one demonstrates that being in the right place at the right time is just about the single most important thing for a nature photographer. It also proves that when you have your camera and you keep an open mind about the possibilities, good things can happen. Go online to see the current Assignment and submit your photos. I’ll be looking for the best of the galleries to publish in each issue of the magazine.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor
Photographer: Nicole Haghighi
Location: Los Glaciares National Park, El Chaltén, Argentina
Equipment: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EF 70-200mm ƒ/4L IS USM
Nicole Haghighi went to Patagonia to see the stunning peaks of Cerro Torre and Mt. Fitz Roy. She arrived in the middle of a snowstorm, unfortunately, and the jagged mountains that make Southern Patagonia so unique were hidden by the weather for three days. During a final hike to Laguna Torre, the thick clouds started to move away and, finally, after a few hours of patience, she was ecstatic to see Cerro Torre emerge. This being Patagonia, with its unpredictable weather and knowing that Cerro Torre might close back into the clouds again, Haghighi started shooting and kept at it until, as predicted, the clouds rolled back in. The clouds add an element of increased mystery to these iconic peaks.
Photographer: Tom Lussier
Location: Schwabacher’s Landing, the Grand Tetons, Wyoming
Equipment: Nikon D300, AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-200mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G IF-ED, 2-stop grad ND filter, carbon-fiber tripod
This is one of the most popular locations for photographers in Grand Teton National Park, and it’s usually one of the most crowded because of the limited shooting area. Tom Lussier arrived about two hours before sunset to stake out a good location. He had expected a crowd of photographers, but on this evening there was only a couple from the Netherlands to keep Lussier and his brother company as they watched and photographed the show before them.