Welcome back! I hope that you are enjoying the series thus far. Since finding my original RAW images from a trip to Alaska in May of 2008, I have decided to work on a series of new edits of the old images. Some of them are going to be brand new editions to the gallery, while others will be updates to familiar ones. I’m actually surprised that this image got left out when I was putting together the images for the current gallery on this platform. It was a good composition, but the original edit was a little boring. Now that I have learned quite a bit more about image editing, I am able to give this image the appearance that it deserves finally.
It was shot on the day cruise that I took out of Seward Harbor on May 16, 2008. As I have talked about already, I was limiting myself to one lens which was a 70-200mm f/4L on my brand new Canon 40D which was a cropped frame camera. I was expecting to need the reach and the image stabilization more than a wide angle lens for this trip. For the most part, I was right, but there were times when I would have been very happy with my 24-70mm which was the case for this image. I really didn’t expect that the boat would be as close as it was to the shore, but in many cases that 70mm was just not nearly wide enough for what I wanted to capture. What made it worse was the fact that the 40D was a cropped sensor camera which made that lens equivalent to a 112-320mm lens. That was great when I needed reach, but there were times on this cruise that I needed the ability to capture more of the subject.
What I ended up doing quite often was shooting vertical. That was an easy fix in most situations with the battery grip installed. There were duplicate controls on that grip, so everything was right where I expected it to be while shooting. It allowed me to get a bit of breathing room top to bottom in the frame which in most situations was better than getting more information from side to side. I just had to really be an active thinker with compositions as the boat was always moving which meant that the composition was constantly changing. I would get a rough idea of what I expected to happen and frame up the scene before shooting a series of images as the boat progressed across the scene. I would then go and pick out the one that had the best balance of them all. That was the case with this particular shot which hasn’t been seen online since probably 2011.
The rocky focal point of this image was a good deal closer than the distant mountain with the pine trees and snow on it. As the boat moved along its path, the relationship kept changing between the two elements. From the best of my memory, I was waiting for the pine trees in the distance to match the slope of the pine trees in the foreground. I was also looking for that smaller rock to frame the image to the left. The lens gave me just enough reach to capture the blue sky above the mountain which helped to balance out the water below.
This was a frustration of mine during this Alaska trip. The clouds were difficult to find most days I was there, and when they were there, they would only be in certain directions. I didn’t have the ability to go back and shoot these scenes again like I do when my locations are closer to home. I really had to deal with what I had at the time and make the best of it. I was fortunate that the landscape was so beautiful that you really couldn’t take a bad picture no matter where you pointed the camera. I just wasn’t going to get epic images because there was no planning with the light, only reacting. It wasn’t a huge problem, and I did get a number of images that I really enjoyed from this trip. I am still left with the desire to return out there again and try for some much better quality images.
It is nice to be able to experience this wonderful trip once again though. It really was the trip of a lifetime!
To be continued…