Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Modern Landscape Masters
Five top photographers describe how they took these inspiring scenic images
Mount Rainier and Cloud Formations, Washington State
I feel as if Mount Rainier were in my backyard. I go to the national park a few times every year to photograph the gorgeous Cascade landscape—the old-growth forests, summer wildflowers, waterfalls and, of course, the mountain, or rather volcano, itself. At over 14,000 feet, Rainier is by far the highest peak in the Cascade Range. Because of that, the cloud formations around it can be spectacular. I took this photo in 2009. It was during a warm July sunset, around 9 p.m., and the cirrus clouds were wispy, and they had a delicate blush. I used my Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with my EF 16-35mm ƒ/2.8L II USM lens set at 24mm. The exposure was ƒ/14 for 2 seconds at ISO 100.
Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
We had been camping for almost 10 days in Torres del Paine. On this morning, a rainy dawn led to one of the most impressive light conditions I've ever photographed. A storm was drifting over the mighty Cuernos del Paine when the sun nailed the clouds and spotlit the peaks. A double rainbow appeared, hovering in the sky, balancing the golden light on the rocks. I ran, remembering a famous Galen Rowell photo, and stopped not far from where the two rainbows seemed to converge over the two islands in the foreground, still in the shadows. I was shooting with my Nikon D300 and AF-S 24-70mm ƒ/2.8G ED with a polarizer to strengthen the colors of the rainbow, giving me an exposure of 1⁄60 sec. at ƒ/9 and ISO 200. I set up the tripod low to reduce vibrations due to the strong wind. I was lucky, as the rainbows stayed for a while. This was one of those rare moments when subject, light, timing and vision mix in the right proportions to create a memorable photograph of a remarkable landscape.
This image was made on the last evening of a nine-day photo tour I led in July 2012 to Iceland. We had been at this waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, in the afternoon under cloudy skies shooting for several hours. We got a reading on where the sun would be setting that evening and found that it would go down directly behind the falls. Although we were scheduled to spend the evening in Reykjavik, we decided it would be best to make the two-hour drive for sunset to take advantage of the weather and light. I positioned myself behind the falls and waited for the sun to drop low on the horizon. I set up my Nikon D800 and AF-S 14-24mm ƒ/2.8G ED AF lens with a circular polarizer. The rig was on a Gitzo tripod with an Arca-Swiss ballhead. The spray blowing into the grotto behind the falls was intense, and keeping my lens from getting soaked was nearly impossible. It took me almost 30+ shots to pull off a few frames free of water on the lens. It was worth every bit of effort.
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