Soon to be Sunless

Image Description

Not quite what the Weekly Challenge asked for, but I thought I would share this in the spirit of the challenge. I took three wonderful days to shoot Grand Canyon a couple of years back, and was both delighted and surprised by the mixed weather. Clouds, sun breaking through, rain, hail and snow flurries, standing in the howling wind enjoying myself immensely, while jumping in and out of the car to wipe off the camera, warm up or try to get dry. In one location, I had set up hoping to shoot the distant rain cloud shadows when a snow cloud suddenly intruded from the left. I just kept shooting until the curtain had completely shut down the view of the canyon.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I’d appreciate some thoughts on what to do with this, because the snow cloud created a veil over the canyon colors that muted everything. On the one hand, this is the wondrous moment captured, on the other, it’s a seriously interrupted landscape shot. In some edit attempts, I punched up the colors and contrast and hit the dehaze slider, separating canyon from snow cloud, but couldn’t help feeling this was a betrayal of the real moment.

Technical Details

Olympus EM1 Mark II, tripod, F8, 1/640th, ISO250.

James, you’ve captured the moment well, with the falling snow acting like a veil and the cloud on the left making clear what is going on. The muted colors fit the scene very well. I’m thinking that the problem is we tend to want dramatic images from places like the Grand Canyon and while the canyon view is good, albeit veiled, the drama is in the weather. I can see that “showing this view” this is very challenging. Here’s what I’ve tried…1) crop from the left to reduce the presence of the storm edge, making it more of a canyon picture; and 2) dodge the middle dark tones to let the canyon show more strongly and get a tiny bit more detail in the foreground.

Thank you Mark for this response and your edit. Yes the problem is showing the weather as subject – it stepped on to the stage and took the leading role – hah. It was certainly a dramatic experience, but the cloud kind of robs the image of conventional Grand Canyon drama!
Fortunately that day, the canyon did give me other opportunities to make weather the subject, as you can see here.