Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pic of the Day

   Bridal Veil Falls -- Valdez, Alaska:  I have made the trip from Glennallen to Valdez numerous times since my first trip to Alaska in 1981, and have found it to be one of the most scenic drives in the state.  The distant Wrangell Mountains to the east provide a stunning backdrop as the Richardson Highway traverses glacial rivers and hilly taiga.  One of my favorite stops along the highway is about fifteen miles out of Valdez where the Richardson Highway passes through Keystone Canyon; a deep cut that passes between mountain walls that reach skyward to four hundred feet.  Along this stretch of highway is Bridal Veil Falls, a waterfall fed by the melt waters of the massive Workman’s Glacier.
     This image of the falls was taken a little after the noon hour when light from a cloudless day flooded into the canyon.   The lighting was bright and contrasty, the worst light imaginable for photography. A full-length shot of the falls was out of the question due to the poor light quality.   However, as I looked at the falls I noticed that the base of the falls were in the shadows.  The light was soft and cool, creating a wide range of blue tones as the water cascaded over the boulders at the base of the waterfall.   Using a medium telephoto lens I composed the image and shot a series of exposures from an eighth of a second, too more than a second long. 
     This image is one of my favorites from the shoot.  The dark blules to whitish blues create a monotone that is usually only found in black and white photography, rarely in color; while the dancing water seems to make the rocks glow.  All the elements came together to give the image an ethereal quality.  A quality that is not always easy to achieve. 
Nikon F3, Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 (?), Kodachrome 64

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