Never Say “Never”

I was reviewing some images this week in preparation for a presentation on my photography, when I came across this image. It sparked a memory that I’d like to share with you.

Banff National Park

I took this image at approximately an hour after sunset at the end of September in Banff National Park in Canada. (Please click on the image to enlarge it).

The other photographers I was with had packed up their gear at or shortly after sunset. Since it had just snowed and the meadow was so magically covered, I decided to linger and milk the scene for what it was worth. With digital, what did I have to lose?

So, I kept the aperture on my Nikon 17-35 f2.8 zoom at f11, ISO 100, and exposed on my tripod set low to the ground for 30 seconds. That gave an ethereal, blurry look to the clouds, which were moving at a pretty good clip. I also held a slight graduated neutral density filter across the sky portion because it was becoming so dark by then I knew that the foreground would become almost black if I didn’t hold back some of the fading light in the sky.

Now, I’m not saying that this image is going to win any awards, but I really like it and after all, isn’t that what the art of photography is really about? I especially like the clouds and the way the snow covered marsh grasses held the white color. I can still feel the bone chilling cold as I lay on the ground that evening (I had left my heavier jacket in the car), the total silence, and the cool, crisp mountain air.

My point in all this is simply to say that, at times, it pays to never give up. There are times I’ve packed up at a sunset and the sky suddenly flared up and I spewed all manner of expletives at my impatience. So, settle in, relax, enjoy the view. You might just catch that elusive moment.

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