Road Trip Assignment Winner Michael Ryan

“Dichotomy” by Michael Ryan

Congratulations to Michael Ryan for winning the Road Trip assignment with his image, “Dichotomy.”

“I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area and quite often my last minute ‘close-to-home’ photography sessions are fueled by quick scans of satellite imagery and local webcams for promising conditions,” explains Ryan. “Like many landscape photographers, I’ve found this technology to be indispensable, but on this particular evening, for whatever reason, I did none of these things. I simply decided to go out and shoot. About an hour later, I found myself on the edge of Ridgecrest Road in Mount Tamalpais State Park taking in an amazing scene of pre-sunset fog barreling east over Bolinas Ridge before me to the south, while behind me, a rare summer thunderhead approached in the north. Completely amazed by what I stumbled upon and pleasantly unsure about what to shoot first, I decided to climb a small hill to achieve a higher vantage point. Determining that the fog was my first priority, I quickly framed both the plunging fog and a portion of Ridgecrest road as I felt that together they formed a beautifully unique scene of two totally opposite entities. The soon-to-be-setting sun also illuminated much of the scene, so I used a 6-stop ND filter and low ISO to increase my exposure time, resulting in a smoother flow of fog. The entire experience was magical and taught me that just getting out there was the most important thing because you never know what you may find.”

Equipment: Nikon D800, Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, Hoya 6-Stop Neutral Density Filter, Gitzo Mountaineer Tripod, Really Right Stuff BH-40 LR Mid-sized ballhead with B2-40 LR clamp