Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘sun

Previously burned forest

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Intermittent fires are a part of the life cycle in forests. Here’s a view of previously burned woods in Glacier National Park, Montana, a year ago today. The smoke in the air came from fires currently burning, and days later authorities had to close parts of the park because of the danger. Below is an eerie, smokier scene from the previous day, also in Glacier National Park, showing Clements Mountain.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 31, 2018 at 4:40 AM

The difference that comes from underexposing by three f/stops

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When I stopped again at Bow Lake along the Icefields Parkway on September 6th last year, in addition to taking the regularly exposed photographs you saw last time, I took a few that I underexposed by three f/stops* so I could include the sun without blowing out the pictures’ highlights. The technique allowed for some solar drama that would have been lacking in a conventional exposure. While that degree of underexposure robbed the water of its pretty blue, it partly compensated by allowing the sun to reflect some of its favored colors off the water’s surface. Also notice how clearly defined and regularly spaced the 10 rays of the sunstar are, thanks in part to a tiny aperture of f/22. Oh, the tricks we photographers resort to.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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* Cinematographers have long used that sort of underexposure in a process called day for night, whose purpose isn’t to control for the brightness of the sun but to simulate nighttime while filming in the convenience of daylight. One give-away when you watch a scene filmed that way is the presence of distinct shadows that shouldn’t be there at night.)

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 4, 2018 at 4:49 AM

Banff National Park’s famous Lake Louise late in the afternoon on September 8th

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Maybe you were beginning to wonder if you’d ever get to see a picture of the famous Lake Louise. Here’s one with a twin bonus: a halo of crepuscular rays above the mountains that border the lake, and, coming to meet you, the tinged reflection of the late light on the lake’s surface.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 8, 2017 at 4:54 AM

Strange clouds

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My introduction to Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park on September 3rd was the clouds you see here, which were strange in the way they apparently cast shadows on the sky. Have you ever heard of or seen anything casting a shadow on the sky? I guess the air held enough water vapor or other particles to create a faint medium on which shadows could register, but my reaction was still that I was seeing shadows where I’m not supposed to be able to see any.

Because the area near the sun was so bright in comparison to everything else, I underexposed by three f/stops to keep from blowing out the highlights. As a result, the badlands hills across the bottom of the photograph appear in silhouette and make the overall image more abstract. That’s fine by me.

UPDATE: Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics explained the scene this way: “The well defined clouds are casting their shadows onto a lower layer of haze or thin cloud. the lower cloud acts as a translucent screen and you view the shadows — and the upper cloud — through it.”

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 29, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Eerie

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The smoky haze that accompanied us westward across Glacier National Park on August 30th stayed with us when we drove back the other way the next day. In some places the haze hovered above the remains of trees from a previous forest fire, reddening the sun and turning the world eerie.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 4, 2017 at 4:57 AM

Eclipse eclipsed

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My tentative plans to see the full solar eclipse today were eclipsed by the exorbitant prices hotels were charging for rooms in and near the band of totality. Last night my friend H.J. told me that a colander would act as a multiple pinhole camera and cast little images of crescent suns rather than circular ones on the ground during Austin’s limited eclipse. Colander in hand, I walked into Great Hills Park a little before the 1:10 time of our maximum partial eclipse so I could do some experiments. Sure enough, at 12:58 I got the crescent suns you see here.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 21, 2017 at 3:53 PM

A certain star

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late-afternoon-sun-over-san-francisco-bay-7979

Speaking of a certain star over a certain place on a certain day, here was our own star, the sun, late in the afternoon on October 29th as seen from Grizzly Peak Blvd. looking west out over Berkeley toward San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 25, 2016 at 4:30 AM

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