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Behind the shot
Then and Now: Alberta Falls

Then and Now: Alberta Falls

This summer I spent a morning in Rocky Mountain National Park and made my way to Alberta Falls. This is one of the most popular hikes in the park – a well-built trail, only about a mile, and a great payoff at the end. In part due to that popularity, I hadn’t been to the falls in some time, or just briefly looked that direction while heading further down the trail.

On this particular day, I decided to stop and take some photos. It was early, I had time to spare, and the crowds had yet to arrive.

The photos I got were some of my favorite from the day. And while editing, I got to wondering when I actually last photographed here. So, through the archives I went, and, to my surprise, it had been 17 years since I last photographed Alberta Falls. Thousands of photos in RMNP since and not one of Alberta. No wonder it was so fun to photograph again.

2020 Year in Numbers

2020 Year in Numbers

In my 2019 Year in Review post I mentioned that I had taken 10,000 photos that year. However, as I also admitted, I really had no clue how many photos I took – only how many I kept. I also jokingly said I’d keep better track in 2020.

One of my favorite images of 2020.

Well, I did. Every time I came back from photographing, whether it be a walk near home or a bigger trip, I first recorded how many files were on my memory cards before starting my review and editing.

Now, 2020 turned out to probably not be the best year for tracking what’s “normal” in terms of the number of photos took considering how many trips were cancelled, but it did suggest that my 10,000 estimate was way low.

So how many did I take in 2020?

Photographing into the sun? Do this to remove lens flare

Photographing into the sun? Do this to remove lens flare

Including the sun in your photograph can provide a dramatic focal point to draw the viewer’s eye, but capturing and processing a pleasing photo takes more than a simple snapshot.

The photo I’m working with here was captured on a morning outing in which I was hoping for a colorful sunrise on a mountain lake, but the skies were completely clear and there was little color to be had. However, I turned around and had a nice view with the creek draining out of the lake so instead set up and waited for the sun to break the horizon.

There were two key challenges with making this photo while photographing directly towards the sun:

  • Achieving proper exposure (the sun/sky isn’t too bright and the landscape isn’t too dark)
  • Lens flare as a result of a strong light source entering the lens

Here’s how to overcome both of them.

Weekly Newsletter

Weekly Newsletter

A new project and experiment. And hopefully a better way to share my photos.

Behind the shot: Cypress tree tunnel

Behind the shot: Cypress tree tunnel

I’ve been playing more and more with in camera motion (i.e. panning the camera or zooming during a longer exposure). It started as something I’d do when objective “A” fell through or I was feeling restless, and now I sometimes find myself seeing scenes that work well with it, like this tunnel of trees at Point Reyes, north of San Francisco.