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Every type of location presents its own photographic challenges. For the stark wilderness of Death Valley National Park, these can include harsh desert light, stark landscapes, and a vastness that can be daunting to capture in a single frame. In this course, travel along with author, teacher, and photographer Ben Long to Death Valley to learn about the challenges and techniques behind capturing the exotic beauty and surprising details of the desert.
So we were driving down this road and it's just a really great dramatic stretch of, of ribbon of highway going off in the distance. And also, to the left of it, there's a big dust cloud forming, it's got this very strong ceiling on it and that's kind of backlit. And so it seemed like a good time to take a picture. Sometimes, it's very difficult to figure out how big things are out here, and the road gives me a good queue in my photo. Now, we pulled over, but this is a highway, we were going on a highway speed.
Saw the photo, then pulled over, takes a while to slow down. So actually, where we've stopped is much lower than where I was when I had the initial impulse about the image. We were driving down a very long, sloping hill here. And so, as I frame up my first shot here. And now, I'm using just a regular kind of walk around lens. This is a 24 to 105. I'm shooting at a pretty small aperture of 10 or 11 to be sure that I've got deep depth of field. I'm focusing in kind of close about a third of the way into the shot to maximize my depth of field. So I can get this kind of stock.
It's maybe a little too much road in the foreground. We're right on the curve of a road. So, I'm a little confused, because I had this initial impulse about an image, but now as I pull over and take the shot, it doesn't quite look the same. And a lot of times that is because you're not shooting from where you had the initial impulse. The initial impulse is quite a ways back up the road. But in fact, it's around the curve more, and it's a little bit higher. So I could start heading back that way. But before that, I'm going to just see about getting a little bit higher. I happen to have this van with me, it's actually the same van that I'm using to get around in.
So, your car can sometimes be a good way to get up higher, you can try climbing up on the wheels, this van, because it has a door in the side. This is definitely better. I've got more of a perspective, so that the road is not so dominant in the foreground. That said, it's still a little bit big. So I could drive further down the road. I could also go back and work the curve of the road. But, I want that dust storm thing, there, to be pretty prominent in the image, and I'm not working with a long enough lens to really zoom in.
I've also got all of that big empty sky there. That's just boring. So I think that what I'm going to actually do is frame this in and with the idea of cropping it. Then I get a nice long strip. That's going to bring more attention to the dust cloud. I've still got the strong road element on the right side of the lens. It's the middle of the day, the light's hazy, or, or the scene is hazy, the lights not super contrasting. So I'm not sure how great a shot this is going to to turn out. But I, I like the actual, just straight composition of it. I'll see if I can fix it in post-production.
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