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Monday, May 21, 2012

Contender Michael Gilliam


The American Landscape Contest Contender Michael Gilliam worked in thick pre-dawn fog to get this shot.

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Photographer: Michael Gilliam

Location: Sulphur River Wildlife Management Area, Arkansas

When did you take the photograph?
November 2010

What equipment did you use?
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 50mm ƒ/1.8 lens, Tiffen 52mm Color Graduated Neutral Density filter, Manfrotto 324RC2 ballhead and Bogen 3205LC tripod

Please describe how you got this photo?
I'd been to this location many times before to take wildlife photographs of beavers, hawks, eagles and alligators. This morning was different. It had rained just a few hours earlier. I set up my tripod in the dark with help from a red-filtered pin light to illuminate my gear. The pre-dawn fog was so thick that I actually thought about taking a 'rain check' and coming back when I could see more than 10 feet in front of me.

Just then a cool breeze came in from the north and the fog began to break up. I knew twilight was approaching so I mounted my camera on the tripod. I had estimated the approximate manual focal distance the day before so I was able to make a series of long exposures in relative darkness.

Did you use any special techniques?
I used lessons learned from astrophotography such as pre-setting the camera settings before venturing out. Also, seeing fine detail is possible in low light if you protect your night vision by using a low-output, red-filtered flashlight.

Why is this scene of the American Landscape special to you?
This scene is special to me because of the contrasting lines of the cypress trees against the smooth texture and rich color depth of the cool November morning light.

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