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Corn Lilies

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 14 July 2010 in Landscape & Rural.

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My family's yearly June trek to Yosemite would not be complete without a stop at Summit Meadow along Glacier Point Road to photograph the corn lilies. Unfortunately I had precious little time to photograph as everyone was more interested in watching the sun set from Glacier Point. Corn lilies are aptly named as they resemble corn stalks. If conditions are right, they will grow taller and can even produce a white flower. The plants in this image were no more than a foot tall. Three weeks prior, this entire meadow was buried under snow.

I happened to find a nice cloistered bunch of these leafy plants growing nearby. The light was soft as the entire meadow was in shadow and the air was still. With nothing working against me in a technical sense, I was free to just experiment with compositions. In my final edit, I settled on this frame but decided to convert it to a black and white using Nick Software's Silver Efex Pro.

The simplicity of all the Nik products makes it so easy to experiment. I settled on having my image resemble Kodak's T-Max 100 film (one I used to shoot regularly) and simply selected it from the list of presets and then chose Darken Contrast Vignette, another preset to achieve a starting point from which I dodged and burned (similar to my darkroom days) until the image felt complete.

There was a luminescent quality to the light on the corn lilies and I was trying to convey that through this image. Hopefully I succeeded.

Canon EOS-1D Mark IV 4 seconds F/16.0 ISO 200 35 mm

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