The American Landscape Photo Contest Winners
Grand Prize Bill Tuttle
Maroon Bells and Maroon Lake
• Deardorff 4×5 Special view camera
• Fujichrome Velvia
• Zone 6 wooden tripod and light meter
• Nikkor-W 135mm. lens
• B&W polarizer
• B&W KR3 warming filter
I arrived at Maroon Lake well before sunrise and selected a location at the lake’s shore for a shot. It is important to note that about 8:00 a.m. all traffic into the park may be limited to buses, so if one wishes to capture sunrise light or spend the day hiking the area, it is vital to arrive early.
The skies were disappointingly cloudy as sunrise came and passed without any good light. After a couple hours of waiting I began looking around for other possible subjects and found one opposite the Bells, so I changed lenses and was composing the image when I sensed something was happening behind me. Turning toward the Bells I saw an oval break in the clouds with the peaks poking through and a beam of sunlight striking the western slopes and moving downward towards the lake. Immediately I turned the camera around, changed the lens, and refocused on the Bells and their reflection in the lake. The shaft of light had now passed to the foreground aspen below the peaks. I quickly took a reading and made the shot just as sunlight highlighted the aspen directly beneath the Bells. This amazing moment gained double intensity by being reflected in the dark waters of Maroon Lake! I inserted another film holder to get a second shot, but the light faded before I could release the shutter and so the magic moment was gone.
The incident caused me to reflect on two important principles. First, how important it is, especially using a view camera, to know one’s equipment so well that rapid changes can successfully be made in crisis moments. And second, to condition one’s mind to be constantly alert to fortuitous moments that may arise spontaneously and give only brief opportunity for capturing special images!
Second Prize Matt Anderson
Grand Teton Twilight Afterglow
Having seen the magnificent Grand Teton range in photos for many years, I decided to plan a trip and capture my own version of this monumental place.
This is a multiple exposure of the Grand Tetons with a pre-dawn glow, light painting, and the Milky Way above; a long exposure for the sky and stars (25 seconds), a second exposure with light painting (bulb mode), and a third exposure of the first light bathing the mountaintops (1/8 second), all taken hours apart. Below you can see the Snake River twisting through the scene. Some distant smoke and fog layers the hillside and mountain bases. If you’re meticulous with your execution and processing, I think you’ll find amazing star captures can be obtained without using an AstroTrac.
Processed in Lightroom and blended in Photoshop. The combination of a Nikon D800E and the 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S with cable release makes a formidable combination that can obtain superior results with good technique, careful planning, and at times, some luck! – Matt Anderson
Equipment and settings: Nikon D800E, Nikkor AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED zoom lens, MC-36 Multi-Function Remote Cord (cable release), Carbon tripod with Really Right Stuff BH-55 ballhead with PCL-1 panning clamp. And a very warm coat! – Multiple exposure: 25 second exposure (sky and stars), 1/8th second (mountaintop glow), Bulb mode open exposure (light painting for foreground) – aperture N/AHere’s what you need. This image is quite special. Meticulous in planning and execution.
I really like the foreground trees with the remains of some golden leaves. It looked like Christmas trees with glowing yellow lights. Even though the Milky Way is the main draw, the contrasting branches to the darker trees behind is what catches my eyes. I’m a sucker for intricate branches and detailed contrasting elements.
Third Prize Jacek Borkowski
At daybreak, the first rays of sunlight expose a chilly March morning. The slowly meandering fog reflects the golden light mystifying the landscape. This was a moment where one can only dream to freeze it in time. Driving through the tiny town of Cromwell, Connecticut, I was lucky to witness and capture this spectacle.
In terms of the technical side of things, I took this photograph using a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 24 – 105mm f4.0 lens on manual with an aperture of 8.0 and shutter speed of 1/125s.