Final Embers – A Pastel Sunset at Mount Nebo

Final Embers - Pastel clouds drift by mount Nebo in Utah reflecting light onto the snow capped peaks.

Final Embers – Pastel clouds drift by mount Nebo in Utah reflecting light on to the snow capped peaks.

We camped for a few days up on the Nebo Loop, enjoying the late Fall color and the crisp sunny weather. On this particular night I had a plan for the mountain, but the sun did not do what I expected. I was about to give it up when I realized the clouds were reflecting the fading light back down onto the mountain from above.

I remember looking behind me, seeing the glow and thinking. That’s Ansel light!  Backing up the truck, I hopped out and quickly set up, prepped and made a long second exposure that would convey the pastel clouds whisking over the mountain tops. I got this one frame that conveyed just what I wanted, but that was all I needed. Soon after I made tthis image, the light faded away and the mountain slipped into night.


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Released prints….


For Photographers. How it was made…

Technical Notes: Canon MK2, 50mm 1.4 @ f16, 72sec, ISO100, Induro Tripod, B&W #110 ND Filter
Lightroom 4, Photoshop, Power Workflow processing tools.

A unique factor here is the dominant sky. I don’t do this often because it’s a compositional approach that needs a good reason. We’ll be talking about it in the new miniseries. The pastel clouds blowing past the mountain were just that reason and they lead us nicely to the glowing snow capped peaks of late Fall.

I did a few tests exposures, manually checked focus and then put on a 10X ND filter to darken and get that long exposure. I did a total of 3 long exposures, but this was the one that worked. The other two were a bit light due to me placing the value of the highlights up to around Zone 8. This is important to understand because sometimes it’s feels like a highlight should be high on the tone scale, but sometimes that perception makes things too light and washes out the entire scene. We need those rich shadows. More on all this in my EXposed Miniseries.

Post was clean and simple. I used a basic preset and some detail utilities from Power Workflow 4. In Photoshop I did detail work with burning and dodging, controlling the final tones. I didn’t need to do a lot. Proper exposure gave a beautiful image out of camera and a bit of refinement to the RAW file was all that was needed.

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