Working A Shot

Have you discovered the joy and exhilaration of photography in the beauty of magnificent landscapes?

I ask that question because the experience of being outside with my camera and focusing on a beautiful scene and capturing just a piece of it touches a deep place in my soul. And if you have experienced it, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

One of the things that has helped me enter in to a passion for photography is working a shot with my camera.

I’ll never forget when we drove through the entrance to Glacier National Park, took the turn from Going To The Sun Road, and parked near Lake McDonald. I grabbed my tripod, Nikon D7000, and my two go–to lenses at the time — the 18.0-10.005mm and the wide-angle 12.0-24.0mm. The 18.0-105.0mm is the kit lens. It came with the camera. But I can tell you that when you work at composition and exposure settings, you can get some beautiful photos with that lens. And the 12.0-24.0mm lens is a magnificent wide–angle beauty. I love that lens and when I have the opportunity to use it with my Nikon D7000, I am amazed at the clarity of the images.

So off I went with my gear in hand. I headed straight for the shore of Lake McDonald. I could already see at least ten different shots I wanted to capture. I knew immediately that the shore had some interesting foreground — small rocks through clear water and larger rocks near the shore jutting out of the water.

This is where I begin to enter into a zone of drinking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. And it’s where my passion for photography is fueled. In a way, the camera is secondary to the primary focus of composition. I’m looking at what is most intriguing and what captures my heart. I stand for a long time just surveying the area. And then I’ll walk back and forth and look in all directions. If I don’t see images in the immediate area that I want to capture photographically, I can walk for more than a mile until I see it. In the case of Lake McDonald, it was easy. I walked for about a quarter of a mile along the shore and found the place where I wanted to begin making images through the lens of my camera.

And this is when working the shot is just so much fun. I never tire of it. I work the shot by capturing one image after another, composing one way, then trying a different way to see what I like the best. Because the shore of Lake McDonald was equally as interesting to me as the Lewis Range of mountains and the reflections in the water, I wanted to capture everything. So I opted for my wide–angle lens, the 12.0-24.0mm and kept my tripod low to the ground so that I could capture different views of the shore, reflections, and the mountains. Because the lens can zoom through different focal lengths, I was composing some images with shore and mountains and others focusing primarily on the mountains. My favorite compositions captured it all — shore, reflections in the water, and mountains.

There is more to working the shot than composition. I’m saving that for another post. Working the shot can also mean changes in exposure settings including ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. In the case of my time at Lake McDonald, I mainly worked the shot through changes in composition.

I love what John Shaw, famed National Geographic landscape photographer, and author of many bestseller on nature photography writes —

Too often we’re concerned with rushing off to our next location, as though we think motion itself somehow equals productivity. Slow down, take your time, and look closely at what’s there. And always believe that the next frame you shoot will be an even better image.
John Shaw, Digital Nature Photography

The image I’m sharing with this post has some of those rocks jutting out of the water. In post–processing this image I decided to leave the rocks with the silhouette appearance they had when I was right there on the shore. I could have chosen to increase the shadows in Adobe Camera Raw and bring out more detail in those rocks. But I felt it took away from the overall effect of the scene. I don’t want the eye to stay on those rocks but move on into the water, rest on the reflections awhile, and move all the way to the magnificent mountains and clouds above. That’s the way it was for me when I was standing there experiencing the awesome Lake McDonald. So in post–processing, I took the raw image into Adobe Camera Raw and used only minor adjustments to the highlights and shadows and clarity. Then I used one of my favorite filters in RadLab Software – the Snap filter – it brightens everything with a bit of sharpening. I added a vignette with OnOne Perfect Effects. And voila — here is the image.

So the next time you go out with your camera, here’s some encouragement from myPhotoWalk — take some time and work the shot. Make at least ten different compositions. You will be amazed at how much fun you have with your photography.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Lake McDonald To The Mountains
  •   Request This Image > SmugMug Image Request
  • Description: From the shore of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 09/14/13
  • Camera: Nikon D7000 12.0-24.0mm — FL 12.0mm, ISO 100, f/11.0, 1/160sec.
  • Photoshoot: Bill Fortney’s His Light Workshops PhotoShoot at Glacier National Park, Montana, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Photoshop, RadLab Software, OnOne Software.
  • Copyright ©2018 Catherine Martin — myPhotoWalk™ — Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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