Saturday, April 18, 2009

The meltdown begins

Stream in the Alaska range mountains
Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f4.0L IS, 1/400 sec @ f13, ISO 200

The heat of the spring sun bears forcefully upon Alaska's winter landscape. Daylight increases at a rate of about 7 minutes per day, and while the snow is thick in many places, it can't resist the marching summer season. On a snow machine trek into the Alaska range a few days ago, the brilliance of a clear day not only revealed opening water in the mountain drainages, but a potent sunburn on the face as well. The grizzly bears that make their winter dens in the mountains are ending their long hibernation in accordance with natures amazing synchronicity.

Alaska range mountain ridges
Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f4.0L IS, 1/640 sec @ f13, ISO 200

We did not see any bears however, save for one set of tracks that went on at length over the mountain slope. They will be waking soon however, slumberous and hungry. Breakup, which is the term used in Alaska for the transition from winter to summer--since the season called spring is ever so short if calculable at all--is a messy time with rapid melting and wetness everywhere. But most people, are anxious for the sun's warmth, and the increased pace of summer.


Eli Mitchell said...

Hi Patrick!
Beautiful photos. I was in the AK range a couple days ago as well. I saw a herd of caribou, that I enjoyed photographing.

In most of the landscape images I took, the sky was an extremely light blue. It was acceptable, but just not as attractive as the deep sky blue that you got. Did you use a split ND filter and/or polarizer?


Patrick said...

There are many factors that weigh in on your question. But, in general, i very rarely use a polarizing filter for sky control--only once in a while when the haze is very bad. And I no longer use split grads, and instead do a two-image composite with different exposures as a superior method for controlling sky exposure variation.

For processing or "grading" the images, I prefer to use the basic RAW adjustment controls in Lightroom 2+, like contrast, brightness, vibrance, and occasionally the individual color saturation in the blue channel. I'll be making a post on how I use lightroom one of these days. What program do you use to process your RAW files?

Eli Mitchell said...

I actually use a point-and-shoot, so I can't take RAW, unfortunately. But in a few weeks, a hope to purchase a Canon 40D, so I can not only do RAW, but can have the "Highlight Tone Priority Custom Function", high quality at high ISOs, and all the other tools a DSLR offers.

It must hurt you to take 21 MP RAWs! How much memory do you usually bring on your photography trips? In what situations do you use RAW instead of JPEG?

Patrick said...

Surprisingly, digital media is very reasonable in price now. The last two years have made a big difference. I use 16GB cards, which cost $89 at this point on Amazon! I paid over $300 for a 4GB card not too long ago. It is WAY cheaper than film used to be.

Shooting RAW?--always. I never shoot in JPEG, although some shooters, based on their time frame and accessibility to computers, choose to do so. However, I would always recommend shooting in RAW+JPEG mode. The reasons are many, and there are abundant articles on the web noting the benefits of shooting RAW. The RAW images look terrible out of the camera, but come to life with a few basic developmental adjustments.

Anonymous said...

very nice....

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