Larry Treadwell  

Alpenglow by Larry Treadwell

March 2020 - Alpenglow

March 2020 - Larry Treadwell


About the Image(s)


Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 lens, ISO 100, F18, 2.5 seconds with 3 stop GND filter.

It was the last day of a week long backpacking trip in the Colorado Rockies. As evening approached I was descending from the high country toward the trail head where my car was parked. I was tired and dirty and looking forward to a hot shower when I came upon this lush valley. My inner voice shouted what the heck, so I decided to spend my last night here in the valley and forget the shower. I had hiked through this valley many times over the years, but had never been in the valley in the evening. This was lovely. I found a stand of trees on a bend of the river and pitched my tent under the trees. I created a pot luck dinner out of the last of the supplies in my pack and sat on a log to eat and enjoy the view. Then everything changed. As the sun sank behind me the bald mountain in front of me to the east began to glow with a golden hue then changed to dark orange and finally began to burn. The valley was swathed in shadows and the nearby slopes became a majestic purple. Finally as the light continued to fade the nearly still river waters reflected the glow of the distant mountain. I dropped dinner, grabbed my camera and tripod and frantically tried to set up before the light faded. The valley was getting quite dark but the GND filter darkened the sky and allowed me to retain detail in the foreground. I was standing in my soxs in soggy marsh waters to maintain the composition that used the grasses along the bank to frame the river and the reflection. It was over in a few moments, but I had what has become my favorite picture of the trip.

12 comments posted

Isaac Vaisman M.D.   Isaac Vaisman M.D.
(Groups 4 & 58 & 72)
Larry, this is a jaw dropping image. Nothing else to say.   Posted: 03/05/2020 14:07:52

Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thank you Isaac. It is moments like this that makes me want to just keep shooting. The joy never gets old.
Thanks again my friend.   Posted: 03/05/2020 16:33:19

Michael Jack   Michael Jack
(Group 36)
This is one of those wow images. With the reflection in the lake it makes sense to put the horizon in the middle. I like you got sharpness in the foreground as well as the background. It appears to me the sky has a lot of noise, and I see artifacts where the dark mountains meet the sky - maybe some oversharpening (or a bad eye on my part....). A couple of suggestions - I would consider darkening the bright part of the grass in the lower left hand part of the image and maybe pull back the saturation a few points. The rule of thumb is that a reflection is generally one stop lower that the item being reflected. In this case the water is brighter than the mountain so I would consider bringing up the exposure in the mountain and lowering it in the reflection to make it look more natural.   Posted: 03/09/2020 09:46:03
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks Michael for the suggestions. I didn't see the artifacts in my original but they did appear when I reduced the image for posting here. I reworked the image taking into account your suggestions. The brightness of the grass has bothered me for a while, but green is one of those problematic colors (along with red) that just seems to look bright. I played quite a bit with the HSL sliders and reduced the punch of the greens. I also brought down the brightness in the river as per your "rule of thumb". I was actually surprised at how bright it was in the original RAW file. I used a gradient and played with the highlights to accomplish this edit. I used the adjustment brush to work the noise in the sky. I actually applied it several times. I did not do it globally so I would not lose sharpness in the trees. I would appreciate your opinion on these edits.

Your suggestions addressed some issues I've had with this image in the past. Your comments really helped to make me more aware of my shortcomings and I do appreciate your thoughts and efforts.

I uploaded the file as the Original. However the artifacts now look worse than before as it appears here. I can't see them onmy monitor at home. I am really confused.   Posted: 03/09/2020 12:02:19

Todd Grivetti   Todd Grivetti
I never tire of looking at this wonderful state I live in and then to see it from another's eyes is even more remarkable. I am so glad She gave you a bold look at her majestic colors on this one Larry.

The reflection in the pond is worth a million words and you are the only one with this image. It was yours for the taking sir, you did it proud. In reading the others' posts, I do see a bit of graininess in the sky and the water. However, It gives it the photo a bit of an oil paint feel when looking at it. I wonder if CPL filter would have been a better choice vs. the ND, although it does not have the vignetting a CPL may have had.

I would be always up for a hike with you in these mountains. I am creating my 2020 list of spots to shoot this year. My hope is to get them before someone else does.. LOL.   Posted: 03/09/2020 21:58:22
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Just for the record, I did have a CPL on the lens. Had to check my notes.

Maybe a hike could be arranged. I love hiking in that park.   Posted: 03/10/2020 07:39:25

Richard Matheny   Richard Matheny
Very interesting image Larry. All of my trips to Colorado have occurred in the fall so the color was really different than what you have here. So without local knowage I don't know if I am qualified to comment on the color but it looks very vivid to me. The mountain with the sun looks ok but the greens just seem very bright. The composition and balance are wonderful and I will agree the the horizon line is perfect for this image. There are a bunch of things I like about the image, the reflection, the evening sun on the distantant mountain and of course you gave me a place to stand and take in the view.
  Posted: 03/10/2020 16:12:06
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thanks. When you get clear evenings the colors just come alive. I agree that the greens are a b it bright. It is just one of those colors that I struggle with. Greens and reds just seem to absorb color. I keep trying to bring them down a bit but it does not always work. Still after the afternoon rain they were not dull.   Posted: 03/14/2020 08:48:12

Michael Weatherford   Michael Weatherford
Wow, what vibrant colors! Wonderful composition with the grass in the foreground and reflection in the water. You didn't say, but it appears that the colors were enhanced. If not, it must have been an other-worldly sight.   Posted: 03/13/2020 15:50:50
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thank you. Like I mentions to Richard above, the greens may be a bit bright, but not that much. Color was abundant everywhere.   Posted: 03/14/2020 08:49:20

Jason Stewart   Jason Stewart
Beautiful image, the mountain almost looks like the sun setting in itself.   Posted: 03/13/2020 19:50:41
Larry Treadwell   Larry Treadwell
Thank you. I thought the same thing when I first looked at the image on the computer.   Posted: 03/14/2020 08:50:02


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