Going on a Whim
A lot of my photo trips are planned ahead - go somewhere with my husband,or with a group of fellow photographers, or maybe a planned camping trip (my husband doesn’t like camping.) But sometimes, and it seems to occur mostly in the fall, I’ll notice the sky is clear of smoke or haze, there are nice clouds, and hey! the trees are turning colors! Since this kind of spur-of-the-moment trip is a day trip by nature, I keep reasonably close to home. But my favorite drive is to head up the Chief Joseph parkway, then either go up on the Beartooth Highway or over to Cooke City.
These two photos are the results of two of these day trips. The first, “Tranquility”, was taken in 2011. And actually it was a little more planned. I’d done a spur of the moment trip the day before, and got some photos I really liked up on the Beartooth Highway, but I wanted to go towards Cooke City if the weather held, and it did! So, up early the next day and off toward Cooke City. I pulled into this little park just outside Cooke City, and was struck by the beautiful mountain peaks in the background with great clouds, and lovely yellow accents below the evergreens. BUT, there was no way the camera could keep the blue in the sky and still have a decent exposure on the pond, river and trees. So I took 5 exposures and combined them in the computer with HDR software. At that time, HDR effects could be pretty wild, but I simply wanted to have the photo turn out to be what I saw. And this was the result.
The second photo, “Mountain Reflection” was taken this year. This time I turned toward Cooke City, and one of my favorite pullouts for a view of Pilot Peak. Depending on the water flow in the spring, Pilot Creek can end up in several channels in this wide rocky bed, and so by fall, who knows where it will be? This year, it’s in a channel to the left of the photo’s view, but had left behind this still pool. There was a smaller pool broken up by lots of rocks close to the trail, and I took a few ‘insurance’ shots there, but after doing a bit of scrambling, this larger and deeper pool gave a much better reflection. I started with a vertical shot, and played with just the reflection, but this shot of the whole scene was the most pleasing to me.