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Thread: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Hi Toby. The sunset (or is it a sunrise?) is beautiful but it's too dark to see any of the lave tube entrances at El Malpais.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Hi Toby. The sunset (or is it a sunrise?) is beautiful but it's too dark to see any of the lave tube entrances at El Malpais.
    Not knowing the feature to which Frank is referring, I'm now curious to see it in an image from a member on here.

    I don't try a shot like this often, but whenever I do attempt something like this or similar, I set myself the goal of trying to retain some detail in the land, rather than letting it go completely to black. My closest recent example of such a thing was this, in which I wanted to hold some detail, albeit slight, in the hills in the background.

    It's a personal taste thing, but I think a more interesting and engaging image is produced if land like that just has a hint of detail left in it.

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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    I agree with both of you, although where I was there were no lava tubes to see - now I must go back and find them. I found it challenging to both properly expose the sky, which was the most interesting part of the scene, AND get detail in the mountains. I took about 20 pictures of that scene and not one of them allowed any detail in the mountains. I guess I'd have to overexpose the sky to get land detail and then try to PP the sky back, or work with HDR. The ones I did get I tried pushing the exposure up, but even thought I shot in RAW, there was no land detail to be had.

    Donald, is that why you so rarely try these types of shots?

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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'm now curious to see it in an image from a member on here.
    As you can't get into the lave tubes without a permit, and in case none of the members has any images (and I, unfortunately, do not), here is a link. https://www.google.com/search?q=Malp...0&bih=998&sei= vD6zToGzFcWgtgeQgO3lAw

    If I remember correctly, there images that are maps at that link so that you could get a feel for the location and topography.

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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    As you can't get into the lave tubes without a permit, and in case none of the members has any images (and I, unfortunately, do not), here is a link. https://www.google.com/search?q=Malp...0&bih=998&sei= vD6zToGzFcWgtgeQgO3lAw

    If I remember correctly, there images that are maps at that link so that you could get a feel for the location and topography.
    OOPS, i linked this reply to the wrong segment,it's meant for the original post

    I like the sky colors imparted by the clouds modulating the sun's departing rays; with the setting sun there comes a time when the foreground can no longer be illuminated by the sun's rays due to their incident angle,i.e. the lower the sun gets below the horizon the less diffraction there is into the atmosphere to give a wider "soft glow" illumination. In an attempt to modify this you can do several things: 1) crank up the iso to amplify the limited available light; 2) use a Grad ND filter to try to balance the sky/foreground lighting; if the horizon wasn't so relatively "straight line" this wouldn't be an issue, at least to my eye.Malpais National Monument, New Mexico ;I may be labeled a "purist" but i'm not a big fan of PP alteration of a scene where it isn't recognizable compared to the "RAW" image; lighting is "what it is", we can modify its effects with filters & camera settings, but it needs to be respected; if you want to see more foreground you might need to be on scene earlier to capture it.The clouds & sky colors captured in the above image is a "rare" occurrence where 2 cold fronts intersect, this happens in my area once or twice a year; i missed the previous evening's "magenta red" sky in the thin gossamer clouds.
    Last edited by elfbob; 8th November 2011 at 04:37 PM.

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Here's a sunrise picture I got a few days later, and a 100 miles away. Much better detail in the foreground. The pattern of color is caused by dust in the air after a large dust storm. Any suggestions on improving it?

    Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    Any suggestions on improving it?
    Not really, because that's a good one. The bit of detail in the foreground is, as you've noted yourself, and, I think, contributes significantly to the image.

    I might have tried pushing the sky a bit to see if some more contrast detail could be brought out without starting to induce too much noise. But that's a small point.

    When i said above that I don't often try such a shot, I was meaning that I don't really go looking for sunsets as such. But when faced with a fairly wide dynamic range and wishing to hold detail in al parts of the image, I resort to Gradual Neutral Density (GND) filters rather than trying to apply HDR bracketing techniques.

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    Tobman's Avatar
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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Thanks Donald. That picture was taken from the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, USA along the Rio Grande River, an absolutely amazing place with 1,000s, literally, of waterfowl birds. A bird photographers paradise. More from Bosque del Apache later ...

    At the time of the above picture (7 am or so), I was squinting in the other direction, attempting to take pictures in the dark dawn of a flock of Cranes in a pond. I turned around, and was floored, quickly whipped my camera around, and snapped off 10 or so images before the sun came all the way up.

    I might push even more detail out of the foreground, and play with the detail and contrast in the clouds. Ciao, Toby

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobman View Post
    At the time of the above picture (7 am or so), I was squinting in the other direction, attempting to take pictures in the dark dawn of a flock of Cranes in a pond. I turned around, and was floored, ...........
    That is exactly my story in relation to the third one in this thread. The one that I was trying for, that I thought wasn't going to work out, is this one.

    It is amazing that despite all the planning you do and the preparing for a shot, that one that really grabs you is sometimes the one that's happening over your shoulder.

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