Landscape and Panoramic Photography

Winter Clouds, Moon, and Mountains

When I was growing up in Albuquerque, NM, the Sandias were a constant presence in the background of everyday life.  I still travel back to NM to visit family and friends a few times a year, and this mountain has become a common focus of my photographs when I hike in the foothills.  Although the Sandias are beautiful when seen against a clear, blue sky, I think they are even more striking when shrouded in clouds.  I was fortunate enough to have a few opportunities this winter to photograph these mountains while storm cloud billowed over the peaks.  The deep-blue sky, half-full moon, and low winter sun provided a perfect opportunity to use a red filter to create a dramatic panorama.

Clouds, Sandias, and MoonClouds, Sandias, and Moon, outside Albuquerque, NM (16″x54″)

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2 responses

  1. I really am inspired with your B&W panoramas. While I miss using film and a wratten 25 filter to get the sky as black as night, while really popping the clouds. I am trying to find a technique with Digital photography to duplicate that same amazing look.

    Have you come across a technique for digital photography that will give you close to film results?

    I have worked out a post-production work flow that gets me close, but not quite there. Any suggestions you could share with me?

    In advance, thank you for sharing your thoughts, and wisdom. Also, I truly enjoy looking through and admiring your art.

    July 6, 2013 at 14:07

    • Thanks, Chris, for the comment and question. I also used to use B&W film and red filters. For my newer digital SLR camera, I have two techniques to get a nice, dark sky and detail in the clouds: 1) Shoot bracketed RAW on a tripod to get the detail in the clouds in the “underexposed” bracket, convert to HDR on the computer to get detail in the sky, then burn in the sky a bit in Photoshop, and finally convert to B&W, or 2) shoot slightly underexposed in RAW, burn in the sky a bit in Photoshop, then convert to B&W (No HDR bracketing, just one exposure- this works well if the ground is nice and bright to get an even exposure with the sky). In both cases, I have my own modified B&W conversion filter/layer preset I use in Photoshop. From there to get more detail in the clouds, I make a new layer and add in midtone contrast. Feel free to email if you want more details!
      Thanks again for the compliments and comments!

      August 8, 2013 at 11:27

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