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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Contender Franz Zihlmann

2014 Vista Contender Franz Zihlmann adapted quickly to the changing weather conditions to capture this image of Grand Teton National Park.

Photographer: Franz Zihlmann www.franzzihlmannphoto.com

Location: Willow Flats, Grand Teton National Park, WY.

Date: June 16, 2014.

Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, Gitzo Systematic Tripod, Really Right Stuff Ballhead.

The story behind the shot:
I believe the panoramic view presented from the Jackson Lake Lodge area with the Willow Flats, Jackson Lake and the Grand Tetons in the background is one of the grandest in the Park. I consider this image my "lucky shot" of an otherwise disappointing photography trip to the Grand Tetons in June of 2014. During my stay, I experienced mostly dark skies with snow and rain. One morning, when I went up for an early sunrise shoot, it was raining and windy. About fifteen minutes after the scheduled sunrise the dark sky cracked open a little bit to the east. Some sunrays lit up the Willow Flats and the Grand Tetons behind it, creating a spectacular display of the area. The scene changed by the second, with different areas being lit up, making it challenging to set a correct exposure. I captured less than twenty frames because the show was over in just a few minutes.

Special Techniques:
I used Manual Exposure with the ETTR technique, "overexposing" the image by 1/3 of a Stop. Exposure was optimized around the mountaintop and sky to avoid overexposure of that area of the frame. The image was shot as a one-frame picture with manual focus. I set the focus 1/3 into the scene to achieve a good depth of field. Initially I was hoping to capture the scene with multi-frame ranging focus images and use the Adobe Photoshop Auto-Blend Layers Stacking function in post-processing for optimal depth of field. But given the fast changing light and cloud formations I decided on single frame images.

I processed the RAW image with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Made selective tone adjustments to brighten up the foreground and slightly darken the snow covered mountains and skies using the LR Graduated Filter. Global adjustments were made to improve presence and detail.


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