Back to the Beginnings: Sunset and Twilight at Great Falls National Park

Looking back through my archives, I stumbled upon a set of images from late 2010 at Great Falls National Park. Upon first sight of the images from this evening, I instantly recalled that THIS was the night that I truly become passionate about landscape photography and was thus the beginning of my career in the craft.

Though I had been shooting in a more whimsical way for about 4 years prior, this night at Great Falls, as the sunset faded away and twilight took over the scene, I found myself enthralled at the images I was capturing of this magnificent landscape.

When I first came to Great Falls National Park, I did not look deeply at the flow of water or the passing clouds. My eyes were on the main subject of the falls themselves. But as I began photographing the scene, experimenting with longer exposures and allowing myself time into the night, I was immediately struck by how dynamic the scene could be represented through a lens.

I had not even realized that an enormous eddy constantly spun water in circles until I had captured an exposure that showed this motion. It was truly awestriking moment. As I continued shooting into the night, I watched in amazement as clouds streaked over me in amazing form and as stars crept onto the scene. It became apparent to me that if I look at the world and our environment in a different way, allowing myself to embrace the landscape and soak in the scene from 360 degrees, I could perhaps create or capture some compelling scenes.

I did end up sharing images from that night on my facebook page, but just today was able to apply some new techniques to create some different imagery than I could 4 years ago.

This image is a two exposure high dynamic range (HDR) shot; one image for the landscape at f/11, 2 min and one for the sky at f/4 and 4 min 20 sec. This allowed me to capture quality light in both the landscape and sky with optimal depth. While I didn’t plan for this final image to be the result of these two exposures, I am glad that I was able to make it work!


Water and clouds create shapes as they move through the scene at Great Falls National Park

Water and clouds create shapes as they move through the scene at Great Falls National Park

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