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Daybreak, North Lake

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 13 October 2010 in Landscape & Rural.


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Iconic locations become so for good reasons: easy accessibility and a universal resonating bond between photographer and scenery. North Lake, which resides 9300 feet above Bishop, California, under the craggy crest of the eastern Sierra, is one such place. Imagine my surprise when Gary Hart and I showed up prior to sunrise a couple weeks back to discover only two other photographers and no fishermen!

Not questioning our good fortune, we set about finding compositions from across the outlet creek. After working on some vertical frames including a reflection of the aspen grove in the creek, I moved closer to the northeast bank and went to work on a five-frame panoramic. I waited until the distant peaks began to light with warm alpenglow and in conjunction with a Singh-Ray 3 Stop Hard-Edge GND I panned my tripod ballhead with approximately 50% overlap per frame.

I did my stitching with Photoshop CS5's Photomerge tool and then fine-tuned the image with the help of Nik Viveza 2. Thanks to CS5's Content Aware tool, my two photographer friends who were photographing to my camera left were vanquished into pixel dust and replaced with the neighboring foliage. Isn't digital amazing!

A week later I returned again to North Lake in a cold rain only to discover the peaks above the lake covered with the first snow of the season. The parking lot did show signs of other photographers but apparently they were content to sit in their warm cars and wait for the rain to subside. Gary and I immediately went to work once again with this playground to ourselves! Eventually the weather beat me and my Canon 1DsMKIII shut down (no camera is 100% waterproof). No problems, I got my images and the camera did eventually come back to life after a 24-hour drying out period!

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 16/5 second F/16.0 ISO 200 16 mm

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