Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. Today I am bringing you a little color and a little intensity. The image was shot on the Salt Creek Flats, a large expansive playa of heat tortured earth. Here in the summer the temperatures can reach well over 115 degrees. The heat leaches the salt and minerals from the soil which leaves the earth with a myriad of patterns, salt circles, ruptured soil, and the occasional pool of water. In the winter, when this shot was made, the temperature is more moderate and in fact very pleasant. Alec John, Travis Bechtel, and I spent several days exploring and shooting in the flats. It is a habit we have to shoot and scout locations multiple times in order to get to know the conditions and find interesting compositions. This was made on the evening of our second visit to this area. We had experienced amazing clouds through out the day and geared up for a potential “special event” for sunset. We were not disappointed. The clouds thinned along the western horizon and cleared the way for the sun to really light up the clouds moving in from the east. A large amorphous dragon-like cloud began to spread out over the playa and I began to look for a location to pick up a nice foreground and some water to capture the intense reflections of t he cloud. I found this beautiful round pool rimmed by puckered soil and a rime of salt. I began to shoot as the color started to happen. The intensity built till it looked as if the entire cloud was on fire. About fifteen minutes later it was all over as the flats entered the twilight zone of darkness.
How I Made the Shot: As a matter of photographic practice I often use a series of graduated split neutral density filters in my work. The filters allow me to balance the exposure in high contrast scenes such as this shot. Here the sky was well over 4 stops brighter than the foreground. So a split would allow me to expose for the foreground and hold back the sky creating a balance exposure. But on this trip I was experimenting without using filters. To capture the full range of light I made bracketed exposures-usually 5 stops but sometime 7, in the following increments: -2/-1/0/+1/+2 or -3/-2/-1/0/+1/+2/+3. In this way I was assured of having the data I needed to make blended exposures in Photoshop. I have found on recent shoots that I prefer this method as I not so intent on fumbling with the filters and instead looking at the light and watching it unfold. I can set the bracket sets on the camera and freely shoot. Back in the digital darkroom I can process the RAW files and bring them into Photoshop for blending. In this case I only needed two RAW files, one for the sky and one for the foreground, to make the final master.
Thanks for stopping by today.
ers allow me to balance