There are days in the field when everything goes right for a landscape photograph, whether it is the light, the atmospherics, the subject, or the timing. There are times when all these variables fall in line by sheer luck, some planning, or meticulous planning. The other 95% percent of the time, we are wandering and searching for the not-so-planned shots.
For the photograph above, the planned composition was to capture the first morning light hitting Mt. Whitney and the surrounding peaks. Though there was cloud cover, enough of a gap in the sky towards the east, allowed the bright orange glow to hit the peaks for about 5-7 minutes before the cloud cover took over. Sure, I did get some shots of the “optimal light”. Now what? Since it was only 6:40am, it was time to prepare some breakfast (yogurt and granola) while lounging with my dog in the back of the SUV enjoying the sight and solitude of the mountains. Every so often, some light would peak through the clouds and I would jump out the back of the SUV and compose a few more photographs (like this one), then back to enjoying this view.
One of the most stressful situations I have as a photographer is to plan my day with a series of shots (in possibly multiple locations over the course of a day) based on light and atmospheric conditions. There is always the chance all the variable do not align. Yes, I might have driven a long distance to get there, but I have to keep in mind of the spectacular view/location I am surrounded by. Enjoy the surroundings, enjoy the moment.
In case you are considering hiking up to Mt. Whitney, the “easiest” route is from the left and hiking up and down those “needles” until you reach the summit at 14,505 feet. Climbers take a route from the right.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 145mm, f/11, 1/40 sec
Lone Pine (CA), Mt. Whitney, Filtered Light, Morning. Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA. November 12, 2016. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.