Sunday, April 07, 2013

Rising Clouds under El Capitan

Rising Clouds under El Capitan - Alpa STC, IQ180, 32 HR, ~f/11, 1/30s,  ISO 35
A few days ago I posted an image I made at Tunnel View on a Sunday morning.  About 30 minutes after making that image, I drove down to the meadows under El Capitan to capture a different perspective of the same scene.  I love working with El Capitan from this location.  If you go farther back, the trees become a much smaller part of the frame aren't as interesting.  Its almost impossible to get much closer because then you are too close to El Capitan.  This is a ideal spot to use lenses (or cameras) with perspective correction like TS-E/PC-E lenses or rise & fall with a technical camera.  Even with the relatively wide angle of view of the 32mm HR lens and nearly 10mm of shift, I still had to tilt the camera up to get enough sky and all of El Capitan.  I then corrected more of the perspective distortion using the excellent tools in Capture One Pro for this final version.

I knew when I exposed the frame that I wanted 4 main layers in my final image and knew that I would need to convert to black & white to get those layers.  I wanted to crush the shadows in the trees to form the base, bring out the rising clouds for the second layer, accentuate peak of El Capitan for the third layer and finally bring out the drama in the high clouds for the last layer.  Working in Silver Efex Pro and with localized brightness, structure and contrast were the key in bringing it all together.
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