Along the Big Thompson
It was late in August (2018), I was standing along the Big Thompson River, taking in the scenery within Moraine Park, of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
The sun had recently cleared the mountains to the east. For much of this time, I was taking pictures looking west or south. The sky was less cloudy in either direction. As well, both the pines and landscape were painted with a soft glow, particularly looking west.
Periodically I turned east, but the colors just weren’t there. The sky was quite cloudy, and for the most part, greyish- white. The blue sky was not the dominant color in this direction.
The western-facing mountains were all heavily shaded. Although the sun was coming across the tall grasses within Moraine Park, nothing within this scene was lining up. As a color image, it never would work.
However, the conditions were perfect (in my opinion) to create a great black and white image. The mountains were already shaded dark, the greyish-white clouds offered a break within the sky, offset by the remaining blue.
The sun and the sunlight no longer dominated the image. Rather, by creating a sunstar (without a special filter), the sun was allowed to be a key element.
In addition to creating this scene in black and white, I wanted it to feel somewhat mystifying, yet relaxing. To do this, I waited until the sun fully cleared the clouds.
There are a few lines within this image, each drawing the viewer to the sun. The first is the Big Thompson. Did you find that this is the first item you noticed in the image?
As you took in the river, did you then follow the river up to the mountain, following the rays of the sun upward?
A second line are the clouds. Notice how they diagonally dissect the image, keeping the sun to the left within a small opening of blue sky?
A third line is the edge of the mountain on the left. Notice how the mountain naturally wants to take you to the sun? To a lesser extent, the right side of the same mountain also leads to the sun.
It’s mystical, because one isn’t quite sure what is in all the shadows. At the same time, it is peaceful and relaxing. The sunshine brings with it a new day, and new opportunities.
- File ID: PHP_IMG_14607
- 1Ds Mark III, Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
- focal length 35 mm
- ISO 50, 1/200 second, f/18
- spot metering, manual, Gitzo tripod, 2 second mirror lock-up delay
- developed in Lightroom
Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado