Saturday, November 06, 2010

Great Smokies - Planning your photography

When you are traveling through the Great Smokies, it is always so tempting to stop at every overlook. They are all so breathtakingly beautiful, regardless of the time of day.  But photographing that beauty can be challenging.  This 2010 trip had given us unusually good weather - sunny, cloudless days for the most part.  But great weather doesn't always make for great photographs.  

Here are a couple of photos from this year's trip taken at either the same or a very similar overlook.  Late afternoon sun, most of the composition is shaded.  The shrubby growth in the foreground is showing its color and is backlit, but this is just not a great image.
I changed  my composition and this one is a little better, we can see the colorful hill on the left and the exposure is dark enough that you can see the mountains in the distance.  That horizon line is a little too centered though.  But then again, I don't think the shrubby growth is that photogenic for a foreground.

Two years ago, I photographed this from the other platform, different time of day, when the weather was provided that magic lighting.  I did use HDR techniques on this one, but it all came together.  To me, this is a much more pleasing image.

Also two years ago, we caught what I think is the hill that is shadow in the first two. Different weather, different lens, different time of day . . .Plus, I think the foliage two years ago was closer to peak, this year so much was past the peak. Oh, what a difference these seemingly little things make between an ordinary photo and a "magic" one.

There are definite advantages to visiting one location over and over. Each day will have different weather and different lighting.  Some days, the photos are mundane . . . snapshots.  But some days you get lucky and end up with images to be proud of.  But at the beginning of any photography day, you never know if the light and weather are going to cooperate.  The discipline is to get yourself out there on location regularly, because you sure won't get the beautiful images if you aren't out there making the attempts.

1 comment:

Frank Zweegers said...

The sun effect in the third and fourth photo are beautiful.