Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Big Landscapes & Intimate Details
The towering peaks and abstract close-ups of Colorado photographer Tad Bowman
Bowman's process as a photographer is simply to backpack through both familiar and unfamiliar areas until he finds a location that calls to him. There, he'll generally wait out the changing lighting conditions for the best color or atmospherics, often finding that he gets his best shots during the magic hours of sunset or sunrise. If he feels he wasn't successful with an image, he keeps a mental catalogue of areas and shots that he would like to add to his portfolio or improve upon, and he'll often return later to shoot in different conditions. He explains that in Utah, for example, he learned to plan for working with shadowy slot canyons while there was an intense midday glow. The same direct sunlight gives him far too much contrast for working successfully with exterior landscapes, so after he has finished with the canyons and light conditions have changed, he'll move back to shooting landscapes.
Bowman processes his images in Photoshop, mostly adding a bit of contrast, saturation and sharpening while addressing hot spots. But he says that he tries very hard not to push it to the edge so his results remain a natural representation of the scene. "I don't consider myself a 100% purist, probably not too far off. I like to enhance the photo a bit for sensory appeal without taking it to any extremes so that image still looks close to how it was viewed."
He shoots with Canon, recently upgrading his EOS-1DS Mark II to an EOS 5D Mark III. He has been unsurprisingly overwhelmed at what eight years in advancing technology can bring to a camera system, and he's especially keen on the extra resolution and sharpness that the new camera brings to his landscapes. He says that Live View, a new feature to him, has been very helpful with his landscape photography, especially as you can zoom in.
"Being able to zoom in 10 times and actually focus the lens down to a micro level is just fantastic!" he says. "It's pretty amazing, and I'll say the camera is a lot lighter. That last one was a tank, and especially when you have about 50 pounds on your back and your backpacking around, it's super-nice to cut down on the load."
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