Photographer’s Notes On Monday, February 8, 2010, two unusual things happened. I found a blank day on my calendar, and our Pacific Northwest (USA) weather found a hole in our perpetually sodden winter skies. These combined to create the possibility of driving to Paradise, on the shoulder of Mt. Rainier (5,400 feet), without the need of chains. It was a brilliant day. When I got there, the sun was spectacular. The skies were cerulean. There were about 20 cars in the lot and although there was some coming and going, the number never increased.
During the summer there are lots of hiking trails, but these were covered by more than 100 inches of Snow Monday. I don't own cross-country skis or snow shoes, so I expected to take a few photos and leave. To my surprise, there were lots of well-trod snowshoe trails and I was able to hike all over the mountain in hiking boots by simply walking in their tracks.
I set my camera to auto-bracket, and shot handheld 2,000 photos in sets of 7. I was trying to do two things: Buy some exposure insurance; and Set up base images to process to HDR. When I got home, I auto-processed them in Photomatix to about 280 tone mapped images. I then culled them down to about 50, which you can see here! As you’ll see below, I used a Pseudo HDR image rather than the real 7 photo HDR for the challenge. The processing was essentially equivalent, but the image was sharper.
I am very pleased with this set, but have agonized over which to enter in the free study. My three finalists included these two alternates:
And I discovered after the fact that I have shot this tree previously in another challenge entry, here:
And once chosen, I agonized over the vertical crop. Statistically, vertical (portrait) crops score less well than horizontal (landscape) crops in the voting. And given its size, some voters will have to scroll to see it all. I fear this will hurt its score, but in the end, I like this photo better and I’ll have to take my chances.
Post Processing • Pseudo HDR and Tone Map (Photomatix)
• Remove Sensor Dust (PSCS4 Clone Layer)
• Reduce Noise (Neat Image)
• Brighten (PSCS4 Curves Layer)
• Brighten Trunks (PSCS4 Overlay Layer)
• Remove Lens Flair (PSCS4 Clone Layer)
• Further Reduce Noise (Neat Image)
• Resize (Genuine Fractals)
• Sharpen (PSCS4 USM)
• Resist Temptation to Add Border
• Save for Web (PSCS4)
Camera Data • Date: 2010-02-08
• Camera: Nikon D3
• Lens: Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
• ISO: 200
• Aperture: f/22
• Shutter: 1/500
Place: 78 out of 379 Avg (all users): 6.0993 Avg (commenters): 7.6667 Avg (participants): 6.0857 Avg (non-participants): 6.1389 Views since voting: 823 Views during voting: 236 Votes: 141 Comments: 5 Favorites: 1 (view)