Jim Kuchler  

Mountain Meadow Sunrise by Jim Kuchler

August 2019 - Mountain Meadow Sunrise

About the Image(s)

I took some time to scout and get some perspective for the future during a recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Going to any location cold can be challenging depending on the activity and variety of subjects. Our national parks offer plenty of landscape, flora and fauna options but to capture the best images a photographer needs to spend time, research, adjust to time of day and environment conditions.

In this case I had no idea where I was going or what to expect but I told myself "get there early". The wild flowers were in bloom and the park was crowded. I chose this location because I wanted to capture wild flowers as foreground elements as well as catch the morning sunlight touching the tops of the mountains. However, there is a busy park road just over the crest of the small hill in the foreground. So a low perspective was required to keep the hand of man out of the image. I wanted to create visual intrigue and establishing a leading line by incorporating the trail to the right of center frame and balance or visual boundary by including the large rock in the foreground at the left side of the frame. I lucked out that the trail matched well with a small open space which carried my eye to the base of the mountains. I also lucked out that the diffused clouds, actually dissolving jet contrails, match the angles of the mountains. So while this is just a basic landscape with simple compositional layers, there are just enough visual components that challenged my selection of location and faming the image through my view finder.

As the sun rose the breeze picked up in the valley and the flowers just would not sit still for the low ISO, long exposure I hoped to capture. Here the obvious layers capture the expanse of the park as well as the intricacy of delicate flowers before the majesty of mountains. ISO 640, 24mm, f11, 1/80 sec, on a tripod, cable release, mirror up.

Processed initially in Lightroom, exported to OnOne Raw - sharpened and slightly enhanced with HDR effects, added a slight glow. Then back to Lightroom and cropped a 16x9 (top and bottom) to fit most display screens.

3 comments posted

Marion Buccella   Marion Buccella
I find the foreground wildflowers add wonderful colour, interest and a nice sense of depth. The early morning light beautifully enhances the detail in the rugged mountains. The leading line of the path pulls me right in to the frame and I can easily picture myself walking along the path.   Posted: 08/07/2019 20:42:35

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
You have captured a beautiful landscape! The long exposure setting for this shot made the flowers in the foreground like an impressionist painting. The morning sky is gorgeous, and the trail leads the viewers to the mountains in the distance.
One nitpick is: Since the shadow covers only half of hill on the left which also creates big contrast in colors for the entire scene, I'd prefer to crop off vertically, just past the rock in the foreground.   Posted: 08/10/2019 09:06:04

Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
Jim, I appreciate how the purple wildflowers add beautiful foreground details and color. To me, the early morning light enriches the color of the mountains. Bravo for choosing an angle that eliminated the busy park road. The path leads my eye towards the mountains. I'm so glad you got the opportunity to visit the Rockies!   Posted: 08/13/2019 14:02:47


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