Capturing the moment in Rocky Mountain National Park
This is one of the scenes that I had visualized before I took my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park in August. I had scouted pictures on flickr taken from this meadow and knew that I could capture an image of the Big Thompson River with the sun setting behind the mountains.
However, on the day I had set aside to shoot this area, called Moraine Park, the sky was overcast and not terribly exciting. That’s probably why it took me so long to get around to process the images from that shoot. This is where HDR processing really shines–taking dull shots and making them pop.
I was actually in Moraine Park about an hour earlier and wasn’t having much luck. It was too bright to get the long-exposure effect I wanted on the flowing water. When I returned, the clouds were a little heavier but the sunset still wasn’t inspiring. I grabbed several shots at a couple different places along the river and then packed it up and headed back to my sister’s house in Fort Collins.
Now, a month and a half later, I finally got around to taking some of the bracketed shots and merging them in Photamtix. I think the HDR processing really brought out the lushness of the grass along the bank without making it look oversaturated. It also added some drama to what had been a listless sky.
So, yeah, I’m happy with the way the final image turned out, but I wonder if the reliance on HDR to improve my images is hurting me in the long run? Knowing that I’ll be able to tinker with my shots in post-processing means that I’m not working as hard when I’m on the scene to get the best exposure I can.
Image of the Big Thompson River in Rocky Mountain National Park by Joe Newman. Want to order a print? Click here.