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Thread: Glorious Mountain Morning

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Glorious Mountain Morning

    Woke well before dawn today, and while the coffee was still brewing I got to thinking that with the warm days and cold, clear nights we've been having that the upper valley would likely be filled with low-lying fog.

    Been looking for an opportunity to work on the techniques learned from studying the tutorials here on CiC, and this seemed like a perfect morning for it. Told the wife I was headed up to the ridge, poured a cup of coffee while the Tundra warmed up, and then headed up to a remote mountain road that leads to a peak with spectacular views of the entire valley. Arrived there and set-up just in time.

    I don't have any filters yet, and the quickly brightening sky was making it difficult to get a long enough exposure for the fog and detail in the still dark valley while not blowing out the sky. There is about an 8000' difference in elevation between the peaks and the valley floor below, so although the sky was bright with the pending sunrise, the deep valley was still quite dark.

    There is much more that was all part of this mornings shoot, but I often feel as if I write/share to much of the story that goes with my images, so, for now I'll simply post the images and hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

    Taken only a minute before sunrise:

    Glorious Mountain Morning
    Best viewed at full size by pressing F11 and then a mouse click on the image


    Just after sunrise I looked to the South and saw this incredible sight, as the Sun had energized the fog into a golden blanket covering the landscape. Took the shot through the only opening in the trees I had available, and wasn't about to pass up the chance to try and capture the moment (which is all it lasted):

    Glorious Mountain Morning


    Comments and suggestions are always welcome.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 29th August 2011 at 06:55 AM.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Hi Mike,

    Amazing shot with #1
    and #2 looks worth another visit to find a better viewpoint to catch another day.

    Well done,

  3. #3
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    I'd just agree with Dave's comments.

    You set yourself up beautifully for #1. It's an excellent composition. The river at the bottom just lifts the image up wonderfully. I think I know exactly how you must have been feeling - working hard and fast as you see that the sun is about to come up and getting the shot before the moment is over.

    The only thing that would maybe stand a bit of attention is that blown piece of white cloud. Given a very light (low percentage) clone would just put a bit of the sky colour onto it and tone down the brightness.

    Oh, and just at the 2 o'clock position up from that white cloud, you've got a dust bunny.

    A tremendous image though. Well done.

    #2 would really have jumped without those branches in the upper half on the left hand side. If you think the same conditions might exist again, then, yes, try for a better location ..... or take a saw.
    Last edited by Donald; 29th August 2011 at 06:21 PM.

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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Hi Mike,

    I hope you don't mind my edit of your beautiful image. The sky looked a tad washed out to me for that early in the morning so I dropped the exposure of the sky a little and captured the dust bunny.

    Glorious Mountain Morning

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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Pic 1 is ONE COOL shot. Congrats on the great capture.

  6. #6

    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    The first one is very good. The colours are complementary and the composition pretty much spot on. If I am going to be nit picky (and I usually am) I would have liked to have seen more lead in with the river in the lower third and just clone out those trees that protrude into the white of the river. I also agree about removing the cloud.

    The second image is not in the same league and falls foul of my pet hate of shrubistic framing. That is a personal thing though and many seem perfectly happy to constrain gorgeous landscapes within a frame shadowy vernal bristle

  7. #7
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Mike, I agree with everyone's comments about your pics. I really like the first image and, as Steve has pointed out, would like to see a little bit more on the bottom right where the river is. Is it a crop? Can you alter it to include that? For intance, if that line of trees continues right accross the frame then I think it would make a nice natural border / base for your image.

    Nonetheless it's a lovely image. You live in a beautiful part of the world! Looking forward to seeing more from you

  8. #8
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Thank you all for your comments! It was so beautiful up there yesterday morning, and then having a few of the pics come out nice had me smiling about it all day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Mike,
    Amazing shot with #1, and #2 looks worth another visit to find a better viewpoint to catch another day. Well done,
    Thank you for your input Dave, and I'm thrilled to hear that you liked that first image..Glorious Mountain Morning

    With the second pic, when I saw the Sun refracting into the ground fog and glowing like it was, I knew it was an effect that wouldn't last long, so the the photo was taken through the only opening available through the brush/trees in that direction.

    I believe there will be a "next time", as with the cool night temps the fog really fills in the valley in the early mornings. If we can get some clear skies this next weekend I'll be back up there well before sunrise this time, and in a better spot

    The hill slopes sharply down all along that hillside where I take the photos, and as much as I would love to pack my chainsaw along and drop a few dozen of those 30' trees that are in the way, I just can't. Given an opportunity I'll drive up there one afternoon this week and do some branch trimming in a couple of spots and see if that helps.

    Also going to try and find a new location, as there really is no holding back the growth of that timber. That spot will be great through this winter as it is reachable in the snow, but by next Spring those trees will be blocking a major part of the view. Like it or not I need a new spot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'd just agree with Dave's comments.
    You set yourself up beautifully for #1. It's an excellent composition. The river at the bottom just lifts the image up wonderfully. I think I know exactly how you must have been feeling - working hard and fast as you see that the sun is about to come up and getting the shot before the moment is over.
    The only thing that would maybe stand a bit of attention is that blown piece of white cloud. Given a very light (low percentage) clone would just put a bit of the sky colour onto it and tone down the brightness.
    Oh, and just at the 2 o'clock position up from that white cloud, you've got a dust bunny. A tremendous image though. Well done.
    I really appreciate your comments Donald; thank you!

    Made two efforts at removing the clouds and dust bunny with full-sized .jpg copies of the original, and in both cases MIC wrecked the image, so, I just went with the best I could do in Nx2.

    The dust bunny spot worried me, as I've never had one like that, and not even sure what caused it. I checked several other images taken before and after that shot, and it isn't present in any of them.

    BTW, went and checked the times the photo's were taken, and it looks like I was taking an image about every 50-80 seconds for the several minutes before sunrise.

    The thought kept running through my mind that I needed to get a longer exposure, so for one frame only I jumped from F/8 up to F/22, and took a 1/15s exposure. The shots taken immediately before and after were both at F/8 with much faster shutter speeds (1/125 and 1/80, respectively), and although they came out nice, they didn't have near the color in the sky as that one shot taken at F/22, which is the first one posted above. My ISO was set at "1EV under 200" in all cases.

    Lessons learned..


    Mike

  9. #9
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Mike,

    I hope you don't mind my edit of your beautiful image. The sky looked a tad washed out to me for that early in the morning so I dropped the exposure of the sky a little and captured the dust bunny.
    Thank you Frank! You vastly improved it, and the sun rays (we call them "Sun Dogs") seem much more
    pronounced.

    It's been very frustrating having only the outdated Microsoft Image Composer and Nikon Nx2 to work with, so, tonight I checked on Amazon and they had Lightroom 3 on sale for the best price I've seen it at yet.

    I went ahead and ordered it, and will have it to work with by Friday...Glorious Mountain Morning

    Mike

  10. #10
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    The first one is very good. The colours are complementary and the composition pretty much spot on. If I am going to be nit picky (and I usually am) I would have liked to have seen more lead in with the river in the lower third and just clone out those trees that protrude into the white of the river. I also agree about removing the cloud.
    The second image is not in the same league and falls foul of my pet hate of shrubistic framing. That is a personal thing though and many seem perfectly happy to constrain gorgeous landscapes within a frame shadowy vernal bristle
    Thank you for your comments and recommendations Steve, and I will do my best to apply your suggestions next trip out.

    Regarding the second image, that was a moment of opportunity and I took the best available shot. I hate having the shrubs in there too, and next time will be better prepared. Even made myself a note to toss a limb saw in the back of the truck (if for no other reason than getting some revenge..)

    BTW, thanks for the new word: "shrubistic"...

    After seeing your comments I went back and processed the photo's taken immediately before, and after the first one posted above. Here they are with the relevant data, including times taken; I think you'll like them both, except that the sky is weak. (Can that be improved in PP with Lightroom?)

    Both are best viewed at full size (F11 and click image). This first one (09) was taken at 6:35:48 AM:

    Glorious Mountain Morning
    1/125s, f/8.0, at 70.0mm, ISO 200

    The next pic (10) was the one in the first post; it was taken at at 6:37:11. Details are 1/15s, f/22.0, at 70.0mm and an ISO of 1EV under 200

    For the image (11) immediately following at 6:38:09, I switched back to F/8 as conditions were changing fast, and it seemed like the right thing to do. (I was using the 70-300mm lens, and Mr. Dave Humphries had suggested I stick to F/8 as he had good results there; I take direction well..)

    Glorious Mountain Morning
    1/80s, f/8.0, at 70.0mm and an ISO of 1EV under 200

    I did crop the first pic slightly to remove some of the extra sky and another cloud that was even more of a nuisance than the one I had to leave in.

    What I've learned is that in order to get the longer exposure I have to increase the F/stop, and in this case it resulted in capturing much more of the sunrise glow, plus the Sun rays. Once I get a decent filter or two hopes are to improve dramatically on the these.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 30th August 2011 at 06:29 AM.

  11. #11
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Mike, I agree with everyone's comments about your pics. I really like the first image and, as Steve has pointed out, would like to see a little bit more on the bottom right where the river is. Is it a crop? Can you alter it to include that? For intance, if that line of trees continues right accross the frame then I think it would make a nice natural border / base for your image.

    Nonetheless it's a lovely image. You live in a beautiful part of the world! Looking forward to seeing more from you
    Thanks Tommy! Posted a couple pics above that include more of the river(s). There are actually 2 great rivers that come together in that location. The Sauk River is coming in at a right angle to the Skagit River just this side of where the ground fog ends. Both are legendary Northwest rivers for their Wild Steelhead fishing, and people come from all over the world to fish them.

    If you and your wife (or any of the sites members) have an opportunity to visit this part of the US, it would be an honor to be your guide for a couple days. The North Cascades offer some of the most beautiful scenery in the US, and I promise not to let the bears eat anyone..

    Mike

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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    Thank you Frank! You vastly improved it, and the sun rays (we call them "Sun Dogs") seem much more
    pronounced.

    It's been very frustrating having only the outdated Microsoft Image Composer and Nikon Nx2 to work with, so, tonight I checked on Amazon and they had Lightroom 3 on sale for the best price I've seen it at yet.

    I went ahead and ordered it, and will have it to work with by Friday...Glorious Mountain Morning

    Mike
    Thank you Mike for the kind remarks! All I did was to copy the image to a second layer and darken the copy, then using a mask to allow only the sky from the darkened layer to show through to the first layer which, in effect, combined the two. I have Lightroom 3 and it does wonders and the changes are non-destructive. Unfortunately doesn't do layers and masking.

  13. #13
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Thank you Mike for the kind remarks! All I did was to copy the image to a second layer and darken the copy, then using a mask to allow only the sky from the darkened layer to show through to the first layer which, in effect, combined the two. I have Lightroom 3 and it does wonders and the changes are non-destructive. Unfortunately doesn't do layers and masking.
    Frank, can you recommend a lower cost program that does do the layers and masking? I really don't know my programs that well, and have been considering adding a version of Elements to compliment the Lightroom (if it does indeed compliment it). The full version CS5.0, and even the older Photoshop versions are too expensive, however I can get Elements 8.0 for a very affordable price.

    [edit: I tried to download a trial copy of Elements 9, and it was a 1.2G file..far to large for me to try with only 768k DSL. I'll await the opinions of others before I buy.]

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 30th August 2011 at 06:24 PM.

  14. #14
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Sure Mike, I use Photoshop with Lightroom and I've been told that Elements and Lightroom also work very well together. I use Photoshop CS5 but most of what you need as a photographer is available in Elements and older versions of Photoshop at least back as far a version 3. The neat thing about Photoshop/Elements is that there is a TON of free tutorials available on the Web on almost any aspect of photography post processing you can imagine, certainly everything you need to know to use Layers and Masking is available.

    I believe GIMP and possibly a number of other post processing applications are free. Perhaps Donald will chime in with GIMP's capabilities. Here is a link to a thread that compares GIMP to Photoshop How does GIMP compare to Photoshop?.

    You might want to start a new thread asking what applications support Layers and Masking and are relatively inexpensive. You should be able to get an idea what those that are not using Photoshop or Elements really like and why. Hope this helps!

  15. #15
    Dizzy's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    I really appreciate all of your help Frank. As I mentioned, I've never been strong on software
    and it takes me awhile to get familiar with new programs. GIMP is one I had downloaded to
    try out, but after trying to use it for awhile it just seemed awfully complicated (for me).

    BTW, on those 2 images in post #10, aside from the dull sunrise colors, did you feel they had
    better composition (more river, less sky?)

    After reading many reviews here and elsewhere the plan is to order the Elements (8 or 9)
    when I can afford it. Looks like a program I can learn in a short time, and it will help improve
    my images.

    Can also see I made the mistake (again..Glorious Mountain Morning) of spending far too much of my evening writing
    overly-lengthy replies to others comments. I do appreciate all the feedback, of course,
    but won't be responding with in-depth replies again anytime soon.

    Mike
    Last edited by Dizzy; 31st August 2011 at 05:39 AM.

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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Hi Mike, That first shot is a gem and I must say after reviewing all the posts I like your original version.
    If you still want to look for software, just thought I'd chime in and say that I have LR and Elements and I'm quite happy with the combo. I still maintain that if I had purchased Elements first there would have been no need for LR, but LR is much more user friendly. I do all my RAW processing in LR and then go to Elements for what I can't do in LR. I don't think you can go wrong for the price with Elements. It does everything that Ineed or want to do and I can't see myself wanting to upgrade to Photoshop for a long long time because I still haven't used (or learned) half the features of Elements.

    I sure hope you have a chance to get out again soon, with scenery like that, you really don't need to worry too much about software. Just Stunning.

    Wendy

  17. #17
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
    BTW, on those 2 images in post #10, aside from the dull sunrise colors, did you feel they had
    better composition (more river, less sky?)
    Hi Mike,

    Of the two, I prefer the one with less sky. I might feel differently had the sky been more dramatic.

    It seems that everyone has slightly different viewpoints of any particular image. In my mind, I see the grandeur of the low morning fog being complemented by the snow in the mountains and as such, adding the river weakens the image. Also, being a mountain landscape with a wide shallow valley makes me feel that the scene should be more panoramic, perhaps something like this?

    Glorious Mountain Morning
    Last edited by FrankMi; 31st August 2011 at 01:25 PM.

  18. #18
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Glorious Mountain Morning

    Hi Mike,

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzy
    The dust bunny spot worried me, as I've never had one like that, and not even sure what caused it. I checked several other images taken before and after that shot, and it isn't present in any of them.

    ~

    The thought kept running through my mind that I needed to get a longer exposure, so for one frame only I jumped from F/8 up to F/22, and took a 1/15s exposure. The shots taken immediately before and after were both at F/8 ...
    Dust bunnies are far more noticeable at the smaller diameter (larger number) apertures, so that's probably why you see it in that one shot. It isn't that obvious even at f/22, so I guess it is a really tiny speck of dust.

    Using the 70-300mm at f/8 was probably in connection with planes or birds in flight, it isn't mandatory all the time, especially if you need more DoF (but I think you know that really) and besides, I do use f/11 and have found it to be ok even at f/16

    Cheers,

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