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Mountain Spring
Mountain Spring

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Free Study 2010-02 (Advanced Editing VII)
Collection: Challenge Submissions
Camera: Nikon D3
Lens: Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
Location: Mt. Rainier, Washington (USA)
Date: Feb 21, 2010
Aperture: f/22
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/500
Galleries: Landscape, Nature
Date Uploaded: Feb 21, 2010

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:
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And I discovered after the fact that I have shot this tree previously in another challenge entry, here:
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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)

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03/10/2010 01:22:23 PM
Hi, Critique Club here..

I really like this very powerful image. I think the angle to the tops gives it a very strong feel topped of by the monolithic sense that the Sun provides. The colors are fabulous!

I'm not a huge fan of HDR type images and have to admit the lightness of the near side of the tree looks a bit unnatural to me, but not what I would call over the top.

Not a whole lot more to say about this, particularly over 6 in the free study. If I has voted in this challenge, I probably would have given this a 7.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
03/07/2010 05:51:49 PM
Lovely exposure on the sun and perfect perspective to make it look like it's perched atop the tree.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/05/2010 04:25:43 PM
still really like this...your blues are...WOW
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2010 05:59:51 PM
that is an amazing picture!!! 10 :)
  Photographer found comment helpful.
03/02/2010 04:10:06 PM
I'm guessing there's a little topaz involved but it looks great - good luck
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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