Image of the Month | Skiing in Wrangell – St. Elias

March 1st, 2010 by

Backcountry skiing on the Root Glacier, Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Alaska.

Backcountry skiing on the Root Glacier, with Stairway icefall in the background. Springtime brings melt, opening a small pool of water on the glacier's surface. Cross country skiing, Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Click on the image to view a larger version of the photo.

Hey Folks

Here’s our Image of the Month for March 2010. Backcountry skiing on the Root Glacier one gorgeous spring day. This little blue pool of crystal clear water was simply too nice to pass up for a photo op.

Carrying a tripod allows me to set up for photos when I’m out and about by myself. I set up the shot, and visualize where I’d like to stand to make the composition. Sometimes standing a bit further away allows the photo to be more of a scenic shot, without the person being too dominant in the frame.

This is where a digital camera really helps, being able to review the shot in the LCD, as I’m not able to guess exactly where to stand. For example, I didn’t want my head here to merge with the horizontal line at the end of the glacier – base of the mountain in the distance, so it took a couple of tries to get it right.

Normally I wouldn’t leave quite as much room for the sky, but I wanted to give the image a bit more of an expansive feeling here, with more space. I also wanted to leave plenty of room for text, if the photo were ever to be chosen for a cover shot for a magazine or story.

Typically for a scene like this I’ll shoot a few compositions, trying to get a different feel for each one. Because I shoot for stock publication in mind, it makes sense to try to think like a photo editor might, and try to imagine a variety of different kinds of stories or themes a shot like this might accompany: spring ski trips, backcountry travel, etc, but s even something like ‘less common vacation ideas’. Another idea could be something like global climate change. This would be a good reason to make the pool of water more dominant in the frame and the person and background play second fiddle to that.

The other element, though, is shooting for yourself; I try to always shoot a scene as it captures my mind first, and follow that with other ideas for photos. This one appealed to me because of that sexy, curvacious around the pond, and the idea of the blue in the foreground complementing the blue sky being split apart by the orange jacket I’m wearing. A strong bright colored jacket can really make the difference, particularly in scenes like this where there is not a lot of color. That one little dab of warm color adds a lot to the scene.

Hope you like the photo. It was an absolutely rockin day on the glacier.



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