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Photograph with a plan — but take what nature gives you


It’s a great idea to go out to photograph with a plan in mind. But, don’t get so locked into it that you miss out on the opportunities that are around you in abundance. Roll with the weather. Turn your head for your anticipated subject. Work the scene. You’ll came back with lots more winners from your photo outings.

Milky Way — that was the plan

My apps told me that in spite of the cloud cover I saw it would be clearing during the time I wanted to photograph the Milky Way. Well the app was right. But I needed to use it a little better.

Clear Outside gives you a great report on the clouds. Low, medium, high and total cloud cover. It was correct in its prediction. The clouds parted over my head and the stars began to shine. Unfortunately, the cloud cover to the south and west of me did not.

Next time, I’ll make sure to get the cloud forecast for towns to the south of me as well. No Milky Way that night. Lesson learned.

This juniper tree juxtaposed with Cathedral Rock was a different view. This is straight out of camera. I know it doesn’t look like a lot, but I felt with some post-processing and artwork there was an image worth working on.
First adjustments made with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) start to bring the image around. Opening up shadows and bringing detail into the sky.

Not the Milky Way

Photograph with a plan does not need to be written in stone. I’m going to share several examples of some images I made that were a result of remaining open to different ideas. Oh, and turning my head around at the right moment.

Always remember to look behind you for a totally different photo when photographing in nature. You never know what might be waiting there in subsequent posts.

Background is first layer after basic adjustment in ACR. Camera Raw is used as a filter, with about six or seven masks with individual adjustments. A Soft Light Layer for dodging and burning was added, along with a little saturation using a mask.
Cathedral rock in the distance with juniper
I created a layer in Photoshop and took the image back into ACR using it as a filter allowed for more targeted adjustments in color and tone for this look.

Gear used

An Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera is my camera of choice for quality and light weight when I head out on the trails — the OM-D E-M1 Mark III with a M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4.0 lens. The camera was mounted on a Fotopro Eagle E-6 carbon fiber tripod, which I like for its tight specs and light weight.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob



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Rafael Jones

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