Selection of August 2018: Wuthering Heights by Daniel Laan

Wuthering Heights by Daniel Laan

Croda dei Toni, Dolomites (2018) ~ Shot in hurry.

This is one image that I had to compose on the way back to airport from a week long landscape photo workshop with a small group of great students. On that morning, I hurried out of the hotel, knowing that I'd have about 30 minutes of spare time for a stop. Hoping that the light was good, I did not have to travel very far to see this scene slide along during the first part of a four hour drive.

Finding the juxtaposition in this was the most challenging part. I initially drove past it with conditions like this and felt that I just had to image it. But finding a spot to park the car that was near the place for this composition seemed impossible. A small but dense woodland made it impossible to get a clear view on these glimmering peaks, framed by that dark, v-shaped valley in the foreground. I've plodded through that tick-infested woodland for some time, worrying if I was going to be able to catch the flight back home. I picked up the pace and got stressed thinking about it and eventually gave up looking for the perfect combination of visual elements. Croda dei Toni in the center of the frame, the natural silhouette and the right amount of sunshine and just the right amount of wispy clouds. Then, on taking a different route back to the car, I did find a clearing in the forest. I whipped out the 70-200, stuck a 1.7x teleconverter on there and waited 5 minutes for these conditions.

Somehow I'm never able to find the exact same path back through the forest and this time it paid off. As for processing: There's a technique I use in where I overlay a black and white image on top of a color layer. This results in this painterly look of 19th century landscape painters that inspire me not only through processing, but also in capture techniques. By using this layering technique in which I talk about in depth in my instructional videos, I can better concentrate on luminance and take control over the histogram. Getting the balance between the whisps of cloud and the bright background was difficult, but through restrictive selections, a natural result could be achieved. The challenge then is to get the saturation right, but also the hue (especially in the sky). I find that separating each into different editing challenges yields fine results for me that come close to pre-visualization.

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