Congratulations to Anthony Bonafede, whose image “Winter’s Twilight” is the winner of the Your Best Photo Of 2015 Assignment!
“During the last week of December, my son Vincent and I had planned to photograph the Three Brothers in Yosemite with the recently fallen snow,” explained Bonafede. “A classic shot and a sought-after image for the both of us, we were excited to get the chance. Like most photographically planned trips, they don’t always go to plan, and this was no exception. The Brothers stayed tightly surrounded by a wall of clouds just as the perfect moment of light was reaching its peak. Needless to say we were disappointed, again, as this shot continues to elude us. We decided to abandon the original plan and allow the moment to show us what to capture. Turning around, we recomposed a shot that was far more striking. I know this to be true, for me, yet it is easy to forget, a forced image rarely meets expectations while a shot that happens by enjoying the moment and letting mother nature unfold is far more interesting. I think this was an excellent lesson for my son to learn, and for me to remember. The exposures were made during the last minutes of twilight, I choose to blend bracketed exposures to maximize the detail of the image. I generally prefer to use one shot, but considering the available light, I felt this process would be the best way to bring my image together. I used a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon 16-35L lens set up vertically on a Really Right Stuff pano rail. Two images were stitched in Photoshop CC 2015 after blending, a total of six images were used to create the shot. No filters were used at the time because the light was so dim; I chose ISO 800 with a median exposure of 15 seconds at ƒ/10. The camera support was from Really Right Stuff, TVC-33 with foot spikes and a BH-55 ball head, and this was my first time to use a LensCoat cover on my tripod legs. It was very cold at the time and the pads made it comfortable to carry the tripod despite forgetting my gloves. Ironically, this image was from my last adventure in 2015 and it became my favorite shot of the year.”