Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grand Teton Pinnacle Sunset

Last week I spent four days photographing in Grand Teton National Park. This area always rejuvenates and lifts my spirits, so I wanted to illustrate that feeling in a photo (click on image to see larger).

In this photo the rays and shafts of light are dancing behind the peak of the Grand Teton mountain (13,775 ft (4,199 m) as the sun begins to set directly behind it. This was photographed just as the sun dropped behind the peak. Because the mountains rise almost 7,000 feet above the valley floor, it will be another 30 - 40 minutes before the setting sun starts to cast its orange and red colors in the sky. This is why the sky is still blue near the corners of the photo.

Technical Stuff: When the sun is starting to set behind a peak, you can often run or drive to a position that will put you in the shadow of the peak. Just a few feet or a few seconds can really make a difference. Here's an example of the lens flare that happens if the sun isn't completely covered by the peak:

Although this can be pretty in its own right, it's not exactly what I had planned--but I like experimenting anyway, just to see what I can create.

Controlling Lens Flare: In this photo of the grazing horses, the sun was just above the mountains. Lens flare would have greatly degraded this image if I hadn't used a gobo to keep the sun from glaring into the lens. Lens hoods are not enough when you are aiming the camera this close to the sun. Gobos are like the visor that you drop down behind the windshield in your car when you are driving into the sun. Click on this photo and read the "Technical Stuff" under the Flickr photo if you want to learn more about gobos and French flags.

You are invited to see my "Most Interesting" images on Flickr (based on popularity stats).

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