Behind The Shot: ‘Contrast’ by Tad Bowman – Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

Aspen trees against rock pinnacles Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Ridgway, Colorado composition

Contrast by Tad Bowman

In October 2007, I was driving in the Uncompahgre National Forest outside of Ridgway, Colorado and spotted this scene. I saw three parts to this scene that really interested me. First, the aspen trunks extending up in unison. Second, the gold aspen trees were in peak condition radiating color from the sun. The tree tops resembled feathers to me. Lastly, nice rock pinnacles extending at the top. I felt all three aspects would go well. However, noticing that there were clouds above, I felt that I could get special conditions with the clouds casting shadows on this scene. My goal (or hope) was that I could get the foreground aspens lit up portraying a vibrant gold while the clouds blocked the sun casting a shadow on the rock pinnacles. I really wanted to emphasize the contrast between bright colors and dark shadows. I set up my equipment and began shooting the scene to get a feel for the composition. Once I had the composition locked down I proceeded to photograph for the next two and a half hours. I took 238 shots of this scene trying to get the end product. I came away with two photographs with the conditions closest to what I wanted. This was the better of the two. I learned a lesson in patience that day. – Tad Bowman

Equipment and settings: Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS telephoto zoom lens, tripod – 1/13th at f/14, ISO 100 – Focal length of 200mm

This image is available as a print here. You can read a long form article that I wrote on Bowman’s photography, ‘Big Landscapes & Intimate Details’, here. You can see Bowman’s work at his website, Follow him on Facebook, 500px and Flickr.