Cold, gloomy and windy… kind of like every morning these days. I was the first to reach the trailhead so I had high hopes of spotting some wildlife. I had seen a few herds of deer on my way but they were all grazing in the dark shadows of the trees, far too little light and scenery for a nice picture so I didn’t want to delay my arrival at the trailhead. As I neared the summit I heard the signature screech of the red-tailed hawk. I was in the trees so I couldn’t see him but I readied my camera for a bird in flight image just in case. A 1600th of a second shutter speed, F5.6 and the ISO on auto. Amazingly he did float into view and I was able to snap a couple of sharp images. Unfortunately I had forgotten to adjust the exposure compensation and underexposed the image about a stop. With Photoshop and Topaz DeNoise and GigaPixel however, I was able to make a good enough image for Instagram!
As I cleared the forest I noticed a bit of morning light falling on the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Range and hoped that it would still be so when I reached the overlook. It was not to be, but by that time the band of light shining through the dense clouds to the east was shining on the Collegiate Peaks, far in the distance to the west. As a single image from that distance it wasn’t a real exciting view so I decided to try a panorama. I had left my tripod in the truck so all I had was my monopod to steady the camera, not the ideal situation for a panorama… but I tried it anyway.
I have Custom Function C2 set up for panorama shooting so I dialed in the settings and fired off a test shot. A little underexposed so I increased my ISO from 100 to 200 which turned out to be just about right, my histogram showed data all the way across the spectrum. So I was ready, a 320th of a second at F7.1 for this shot. I might ordinarily shoot with F11 for better depth of field but these mountains were so far away that most everything was going to be beyond infinity anyway so F7.1 was about right for the light and ISO 200.
Seven horizontal images were required to span the scene so my original is something like 111 inches across! I cut that down to 60 inches for the upload to my website in order to comply with the size constraint of the server!
Well anyway, it was a pretty good morning, got some good exercise, some valuable time of solitude in nature and the screech of the red-tail is always a treat! I’m hoping for a more extensive week though, a trip up to Waterton to see the bighorn sheep may be in the cards if all goes right 🙂
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This post is not sponsored and all equipment used in it’s creation was purchased by me on my own volition.