|1) Summer Storms Assignment Winner
Photographer: Bryan Snider
Equipment: Nikon D610, Rokinon 14mm Ultra Wide-Angle ƒ/2.8 IF ED UMC
I spend most of my summer in Arizona chasing storms all over the state. During the past couple of years, I’ve chased 10,000-plus miles each year in search of beautiful landscapes and storms. In fact, as a photographer and storm chaser, my goal isn’t simply photographing weather. Instead, I want to find a beautiful landscape and let the weather enhance the landscape. I want to show my audience that Arizona is a very beautiful state, and during our monsoon season, our landscapes come to life thanks to the breathtaking thunderstorms. On this particular day, I noticed a strong storm approaching Winslow from the east. I decided to position myself just west of Winslow. I love the landscape in that area, and I knew that if the storm made it to me, I could have some really cool images. I mainly used Lightroom to process the RAW file. I also used Nik Color Efex Pro just a tad to help bring out some of the detail.
As the November issue of OP was going to press, we were wrapping up our late summer Assignments on outdoorphotographer.com. The winners of the Summer Storms, Into The Sun and Summer Travel Assignments are showcased on these pages. Congratulations to Bryan Snider, Bob Larson and Doug Croft. A new weekly Assignment is posted every Wednesday. You can get your photos into the running by going to the Assignments section of outdoorphotographer.com.
—Christopher Robinson, Editor
2) Into The Sun Assignment Winner
Photographer: Bob Larson
Equipment: Canon EOS Rebel T2i, Sigma 10-20mm ƒ/4-5.6 EX DC HSM, Manfrotto tripod and ballhead
I first discovered this area of the Granite Dells in Prescott, Arizona, by accident while chasing a rainbow shot during the monsoon season in 2011. I climbed and hiked and sweated my way to the top of a huge granite shelf and got my shot. I looked behind me and saw this small rock outcropping way down below. I hiked down there and loved what I was seeing, but the light had left the area. I was shooting at Watson Lake less than a mile away when I saw the clouds line up right, packed up my stuff and headed to this spot. It takes some tough hiking and climbing, but it’s almost always worth it. The sun sets behind this formation, and when there are scattered clouds, the sky just bursts with color, sometimes so much so that converting to black-and-white tones down the “busy-ness” and focuses the view. This is a single RAW file developed twice—once for the sky, and once for the foreground and center formation. Both exposures were blended manually in Photoshop and then converted to black-and-white in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.
3) Summer Travel Assignment Winner
Photographer: Doug Croft
Equipment: Nikon D7000, AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6G ED VR
We took a tour through the Alps in June 2014 and had only a very short time in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Thunderstorms were expected for the afternoon, so we were on the lifts early to get to the Panorama Trail from Männlichen to Kleine Scheidegg. The main draw on this trail is spectacular views of Jungfrau, Mönch and the Eiger, but they were hidden by clouds for the most part during our hike. We were a bit disappointed as we neared the train station at Kleine Scheidegg, but the clouds in the valley parted for a few minutes, leaving us with this amazing view. I’d love to say that I planned this shot, but it was most definitely a gift. I ran around like a lunatic, firing away before the clouds converged again. This has been one of my favorite shots from the trip because the clouds that “ruined” our view of the Jungfrau made the scene so dramatic.