Wednesday, September 22, 2010

West Virginia Landscape Photography | davem photography

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may remember I mentioned shooting some landscape images on my trip to Snowshoe, WV. When I first got interested in photography, it was to photograph landscapes. As I found out on this trip, it's still something I enjoy doing.

This image was taken on my way home. There's a nice spot that overlooks the western side of the mountain. It's a great spot for sunset shots, but I never made in time. The panoramic is a series of shots taken handheld and stitched together in Photoshop.

I didn't bring a tripod and had to shoot handheld. I think it turned out well. All the images were shot at ISO 100, 1/200 sec at ƒ/11. I made sure that I kept the camera level and rotated at the waist, making sure that each shot overlapped the previous one by 20%. I color corrected in Lightroom and then exported to Photoshop using the command "Merge to Panorama in Photoshop".  Photoshop took care of the rest. I had to crop the image a bit and add in some sky, but the hard part was done. I remember doing a panoramic in Photoshop before this feature was available and it took me forever to align all the layers.

I also took the images and formatted them to look as if they were fine prints. It's a popular look for landscape photography.

The next series of images were taken as I hiked around the lake. It was in the afternoon after a morning of biking. It was only a mile hike, but I was able to get a variety of shots around the lake.

As you can see, we had some gorgeous weather this weekend. Even shooting between 3:00 - 4:00 in the afternoon, I was able to get great exposures and beautiful blue skies. It's recommended to shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun isn't so bright. I kept the sun to my back and made sure all my shots were never towards the sun.

This last image was taken at sunrise. After riding all day and having adult beverages after dinner, waking up early was not something I planned for. I was lucky enough to wake up to use the bathroom and saw the light coming in through the window. I even climbed back into bed and had the conversation in my head. I knew I would kick myself if I didn't go outside at that moment to shoot this shot. Keep in mind that it rained the night before and temperature dropped into the 40's. I put some clothes on, grabbed my camera and went outside and grabbed this shot.

I shot at ISO 1600, 1/25 sec at ƒ/8. As I already mentioned, I did not bring a tripod with me on this trip. I placed the camera on the porch railing to make sure the shot was steady and fired off a couple of frames. I wanted to stay out longer and see more of the sun, but it was too cold for me. I wasn't prepared for the drop in temperature.

I'm really pleased with the way these shots came out. There was no one else hiking around the lake (except for myself and Lisa, my hiking buddy) and although I'm glad there was no one else out there, the folks hanging out at the beach had no idea the kind of views they were missing. Even waking up early to  catch the sunrise, no one else was up and missed this beautiful sight. I guess that's why landscape photography is popular. It allows the photographer to share the beauty of an environment with individuals and transports them for a moment to that location.

I'm not sure if I'll get one of these as a print, although I do like the way they look. I may play around with the layout. Maybe combine a couple and layout a triptych. I'm more determine to look for those negative from my trip to Moab & the Grand Canyon taken over 15 years ago. When I do find them, I'll post the edited images here.

The only other thing I wish I could have done, is taken some portraits around the lake. How cool would a family portrait be with that kind of background. Maybe next year, we'll definitely be back.

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