Photo Talk 2

August 10, 2014

Here is my second "Photo Talk" article, this time showcasing the most detailed photo on the website: "Half Dome Sunset."

Half Dome Sunset"Half Dome Sunset"As I took this picture, I watched the last light of the day glint off of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. The cool tones of the rock mesmerized me, and the slim band of orange light completed an image I had in my mind's eye.


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To read more about the photo, visit my blog post.

(Click to see on black  ::  Link to photo in gallery)

 

This is a panorama of six vertical photos all combined into one, and because I overlapped the photos significantly (to make it easier to stitch together in Photoshop), those six photos resulted in a photo that has about three times the total pixels of the other photos on this site.  This means it could be printed six feet wide and still look great!

 

Half Dome at sunset, especially viewed from Glacier point, is one of the most iconic views of Yosemite.  Hundreds of tourists were taking pictures here at the same time I took this, so the challenge is to create a unique image that still captures the beauty of Half Dome and Yosemite valley.  So how did I come away with this photo?

 

This image is all about balancing colors.  The eye is attracted to "warm" colors like reds and yellows before it notices "cool" colors like blue and purple.  Careful editing can enhance this effect, although it is especially easy to oversaturate orange colors, so be careful. Although most of the picture is filled with the dramatic blue shadows, the last light of the day is still lingering on top of Half Dome.  The timing of the shot makes the photo well-balanced.

 

But even though the picture was well-timed,  I was not the only one who took a photo from Glacier Point around this moment.  However, because this is a panoramic photo, it becomes more interesting.  Thinking outside the traditional 2x3 or 3x4 rectangles of photography by shooting in square or panorama format can bring your photos a certain uniqueness.  Combine that effect with light from sundown and a beautiful landscape, and it is easy to make new and exciting photos even from well-known locations. 

 

It is also worth mentioning that telephoto panoramas, such as this photo, are somewhat rare in the world of photography.  Most people who make panoramas are simply trying to get the entire landscape in the photo, so will use a wide angle lens or a phone camera to snap a 180 degree photo of everything in front of them.  Having such a wide view occasionally produces beautiful photos but more often creates a photo that will be looked at a couple times and then forgotten, simply because it has too many distracting elements.

 

My camera settings were as follows: 1/40 second shutter, f/6.3, ISO 100, 105mm (158mm full-frame equivalent).  I used the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR macro lens on my Nikon D7000 camera for the photo, and I also used a tripod to keep the photo steady during the 1/40 second exposure.  Each of the six photos in the panorama was taken at these settings in manual mode.  

 

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