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Melodic Inversion
Photo By Joseph Thomas

  • Title: Melodic Inversion
  • State/Province/Region: Colorado
  • Country: United States
  • Nearest Area: Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area
  • Nearest Town: Aspen
  • Description: I stubbornly avoid iconic locations. They're crowded and way over-photographed, and as a result, it can be daunting to try and come up with an original image. Nevertheless, a photo of Maroon Bells from Maroon Lake is a requisite shot for any Colorado landscape photographer's portfolio. My hope on this day was to come away with a distinctive picture that would stand apart from the countless great images made by other photographers. Shooting the Bells at sunset is one way to get a different look while avoiding the throngs who come at sunrise to catch the morning alpenglow. But because I belatedly arrived at the lake only 20 minutes before peak sunset light, scouting a unique vantage point was out of the question. What I did do was to employ newer technologies that many of those who came here before me didn't have: HDR and panoramic stitching software. This image is made up of two vertical frames with bracketed exposures. In post-processing, I first did HDR on each frame using HDR Efex Pro 2, and then stitched the two HDR frames together in Photoshop. Not being a fan of the Norman Rockwell illustration appearance of many HDR images, I was careful to maintain a completely realistic look. Finally, I choose a square crop in order to emphasize the striking symmetry of the scene. My sincerest thanks go to the atmosphere for obligingly throwing in the perfect mix of clouds to compliment this already perfect setting.
  • Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 16-35 f/2.8L II USM, Cokin graduated ND, Really Right Stuff Panoramic head
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