Selection of Mai 2019: Ode to Melancholy by Fred Bucheton

Ode to Melancholy by Fred Bucheton

I took this photo in April 2018 during a trip with a friend to Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina. This area of Patagonia is renowned for very impressive mountains such as Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. However, shapes and colours of the trees in this region are outstanding, especially in fall season. They make a perfect subject for intimate landscape photography.

On that day, I initially planned to take pictures of the milky way over the Fitz Roy from Laguna de Los Tres. We woke up at 3 am in Poincenot campsite and decided to hiked up there as we could see the starry sky. While we were reaching the lake, foggy weather and snowfall began. Hiking in complete darkness using headlamp, trying to avoid slippery rocks and facing snowfalls was a memorable experience. When we arrived, we waited for quite some time in very cold and windy conditions but at some point, we realised that the chances to see the mountain range during sunrise were very low so we chose to turn back. During the descent in early morning daylight conditions, heavy snow started to fall on the autumn coloured trees. It was a magical moment.

I was shooting with a telephoto prime lens at wide aperture to isolate the vegetation from the background. It was frustrating because I was frequently too close to frame the trees properly with my 135mm focal length until I reached a clearing. I took many photos from this point of view with several compositions and aperture settings. At F3.2 I were able to get enough depth of field on the foreground trees and isolation on the background to increase the sense of depth. I’m not used to compose forest scenes and I find it challenging as it can be busy with a lot of distracting elements. I tried to minimise them and balance the composition as much as possible. Another difficulty was to obtain a sharp focus on the trees instead of the snowflakes in front of them. I was so excited by the scenery that I didn’t think to focus manually.

In post-processing I used “fine detail” Picture Style in Digital Photo Professional 4 to emphasize the gradation of tones and detail fineness. Afterwards, in Photoshop I added a little vignette to draw the viewer’s attention to the center of the photo and slightly darken some parts to balance the elements of the frame. It was very subtle as the RAW file had already met my expectations.

Canon 5d mark IV with 135mm F2 at F3.2, 1/320, 320 ISO

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