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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Assignments: September 2013

The Best Of The Assignments Submissions From outdoorphotographer.com

Labels: Locations
This Article Features Photo Zoom

Winner, Shooting In The Dark Assignment
1) Photographer: Dustin Penman
Location: Near Folsom, California
Equipment: Nikon D7000, 10-24mm ƒ/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor
On July 22, 2012, I was awakened by my buddy calling, "We got lightning," and I was off like a flash (pun intended)! At 3 a.m., I was still outside, amazed by the constant lightning, the fast-moving storm clouds and the fact that the stars were visible through it all. This just blew my mind. I knew I also wanted to incorporate a strong foreground in the image, so I went looking for an oak tree that would fit the bill. At a local park, I found this scene.

I knew I wanted to capture just how crazy of a night it was. I figured that six 2-minute exposures would allow enough time to capture the lightning and show a small amount of star travel, as well as the quick-moving clouds. The grass near the tree was being lit by a street lamp hidden behind the tree, and I did a little light-painting of the tree with my flashlight on the last exposure. I then stacked the images in Photoshop CS6. I've been waiting for another electrical storm ever since.

Every week, the OP editors choose a winning image from the submissions to that week's Assignment on outdoorphotographer.com. That photo is highlighted on the OP homepage and in the OP Blog. In this issue of the magazine, instead of showing several top images from a single Assignment, I'm publishing recent winners from various spring Assignments here.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor

Winner, View From The Top Assignment
2) Photographer: Harry Lichtman
Location: White Mountains, New Hampshire
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 24-105mm ƒ/4L IS USM, Manfrotto carbon-fiber tripod
I've hiked along the Moat Mountain Trail in New Hampshire's White Mountains many times and made a mental note of the great views. Since the ridge runs south to north, sunrise and sunset possibilities make for good photo opportunities from the same location. Generally, the area isn't great for camping, as there's no running water and the ledges are exposed. I hiked down the exposed ledges near Middle Moat, away from the trail in June 2013, and found a relatively flat area where I could set up my ultralight tent and be in a good position should the light cooperate. I prefer the spring and fall for these grand views as the varying shades of green foliage provide some differentiation between leaves and the evergreens. Midsummer greens tend to be overwhelming in this kind of photo. I packed extra water and brought only dry food so as not to need a stove above treeline and minimize impact.

I previsualized the scene so I could be in the right place at the right time if weather conditions worked out. The weather always comes into play. I had intended to shoot pure landscape images, but found the inclusion of the tent and me (using the self-timer) a more powerful image.

I bracketed exposures and manually blended two exposures to maintain detail in the highlights and shadows. The distant cloud bank acted as a natural diffuser, making the lighting a little softer and more uniform.


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