This is the tenth post in our “How Was This Picture Taken” series, and this one features a photograph I took at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. Since this is the tenth installment in our series, and because we have a number of exciting projects coming up, we’d like to do something a bit special this time:
The reader with the closest answer will receive a free copy of the eBook that Nasim and I are writing: “Creative Landscape Photography: Light, Vision, and Composition.”
The answer has been posted here.
Before getting to the questions, here is a bit of background information:
I took this image at sunrise. Strong winds had erased every footprint from the dunes, which left a pristine canvas for landscape photography. There weren’t any clouds, so I focused on abstract images of shadows and lines in the sand. This image was taken with my Nikon D800e and 70-200mm lens. I needed a tripod because the sun was still low in the sky, so the dunes were not yet particularly bright. I took the photo at ISO 100.
Here are the questions:
- This image is a blend of multiple photographs. Is it a focus stack, a luminosity/HDR blend, or a panorama?
- What focal length did I use for this photograph? (If you believe that it is a panorama, use the focal length of the individual images within the blend.)
- What were my shutter speed and aperture? (Name all exposures if you believe that it is an HDR/luminosity blend.)
- Tiebreaker: Why did I convert this photograph to black and white?
The winning response will be judged as follows:
- The questions are in order of importance — in other words, you must get the first question correct in order to win.
- I used a focal length somewhere from 70mm to 200mm. To remain in the running, you simply need to guess within 30mm of the correct focal length, either above or below. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter how close you are (except for the tiebreaker); I will treat a perfect answer and an answer that is wrong by 30mm exactly the same.
- For question three, you want to be as correct as possible on both the shutter speed and the aperture. If you are two stops over on the shutter speed and two stops under on aperture, they don’t cancel out!
- In the event of a tie, the first tiebreaker is the millimeter value you guessed in question two. It doesn’t matter whether your answer is over or under — all that matters is the total number of millimeters between your guess and the correct answer. If that still results in a tie, the winner will be decided by question four: the reason I converted this image to black and white (an intentionally subjective question).
- None of these are trick questions, but the nature of these questions means that the winner may be decided subjectively.
- You must provide a response to all four questions in order to remain in the running, and you may only answer once. Feel free to ask questions to clarify any of the rules.
To have a shot at winning “Creative Landscape Photography,” or if you are simply interested in sharing your guess, leave an answer in the comments section below.
I do not admire this piece of photography. No appeal – not inviting any attention, leave aside how it was taken. Sorry for being blunt as i am your admirer but not this one.( Great Sand Dunes # 10 )
Hey AK, not a problem, I can see why this image would be less interesting to some people! I like it of course, or I wouldn’t have posted it, but this type of photo won’t work for everyone.
1° Focus Stack
3° 1s at f/8
4° B&W was used to emphatise the contrast, composition and structure and not to make that black sky look completly unnatural
Infrared photo and b&w conversion
f 13 at 1/2000
Focus stack blend of three exposures at 200 mm. For all three exposures aperture around the sweet spot of 8 or 11 and shutterspeed at 1/4000th.
Dynamic range was not the most important here because of the strong luminosity contrast and clipping and intentional B&W choice.
High ISO to obtain course textures and contrast, I guess 3200 ISO.
The intentional choice for B&W lies in the strong graphic composition.
Blend of two photos with the same framing at 70 mm on tripod. Dynamic range was way too high to capture in one shot.
(1) First shot exposed for the dark shadows in the gully at 70mm with a low shutter speed probably around 1/15th sec at ISO3200 at max aperture allowing the blacks to reach clipping point. Highlights elsewhere are totally blown out.
(2) Second shot exposed for distant smooth dune, again at 70mm, perhaps five stops higher or 1/250 sec at same ISO3200 and aperture ,allowing highlights to just reach clipping elsewhere. Gully is completely clipped to black, can see nothing there.
(4) Convert both shots to black and white.
(3) Blend in Photoshop an outline crop of the gully in the first photo on top of the second photo thus filling light into the black gully.
Nice image taken as follows:
3. f11 and 2 sec
4. There was minimal color so not too important in the first place. Image is more dramatic and emphasizes the “abstract nature” as a b&w.
Approx 120 mm.
1/30th @ f11.
Mono for accentuating tones and texture.
f11 @ 2sec
B&W brings out the textures and contrast and I guess there wasn’t much ‘colour’ at he time of shooting anyway
I think as the background is black the shutter speed is high. As in lowkey photographs…
1. It’s a focus stack.
2. 180 mm
3. Shutter speed 1/2, aperture f/5,6
4. Sky would be strange coloured due to focus stack technique.