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!