Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Contender Ben Babusis

Multiple photo submissions by American Landscape contest Contender Ben Babusis are tied together by powerful personal memories connected to each scene

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Photographer: Ben Babusis

Sierra Sunrise

Location: Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California

When did you take this photograph? Jan 9, 2007

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L lens Hoya circular polarizing filter, Gitzo mountaineer tripod, external shutter release cable

Describe how you got this photo.
I captured this image in the Alabama Hills, just outside Lone Pine, California on a very cold clear winter morning. I had scouted the area the night before and found this beautiful arch, but the evening lightning wasn't ideal, so decided to come back out the next morning. I awoke well before dawn, driving along dirt roads previously used during filming numerous John Wayne westerns, and hiked to the location with headlamp. Then I set up waiting for the first light.  It did not disappoint!  Shortly after sunrise, and only for a few minutes, spectacular magic light bathed the arch in warm color with a backdrop of deep blue sky. The moon was just icing on the cake.

Did you use any special techniques?
I used a small aperture to maximize depth of field, and lowest possible ISO, but kept the shutter speed under 1/2 a second to prevent blurring of the moon.  Tripod setup was the most challenging aspect of this image as there was very little room to set up on a sloping nearby rock while keeping Mt. Whitney centered in the frame of the arch. I had to be creative with tripod leg positioning and spent a lot of time getting the camera in the perfect position.

Why is this scene of the American Landscape special to you?
The Sierra, especially the Owens Valley, brings back some of the best memories for me as a kid as I spent so much time backpacking and camping here with my brother while growing up.  The famous rock formations of the Alabama Hills and the highest point, Mt. Whitney, are both icons of the Sierra and areas I know well. Having these subjects come together in such beautiful light, creating a striking mixture of rich orange and dark blue tones, is what makes this image special to me.


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