I admit, I’m a bit stir crazy and ready for winter to end and I was thrilled to be able to spend some time outside this weekend. The weather – low winds, and temperatures pushing 70 – was amazing for a March in North Dakota. I love the snow, but it brought a smile to my face to see the remaining small pockets of it quickly disappearing.
I had intended to spend time hiking around #FortRansomStatePark, and did spend some time walking the #LittleTwigTrail (keep an eye out for a post about that later this week). I didn’t spend as much time there as I had intended, however. Curiosity side-tracked me around #SheyenneNationalGrassLand and I drove through the park, getting to Fort Ransom later than intended. I didn’t explore any of the Grass Land on foot, but am looking forward to heading back to do just that.
As part of my travels, I discovered this beautiful tree outside #Lisbon on 67th. It was just inside a corn field with nothing else around; no power lines, no farm equipment or structures, no roads. The sky was just about cloudless, and it was easy to visualize the tree’s silhouette against the evening sun.
It was just the type of image I was hoping to come across – so I was pretty excited.
I stopped first and took some pictures from the road. The position of the tree to the sun wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be, and I wasn’t able to get the angle I had envisioned. More, the tree was casting a pretty incredible shadow down the corn field from the sun that I was able to capture from the street.
I went to a couple of different nearby houses close to the farmstead, and eventually found a farmer named Al who graciously gave me permission to trek onto his field.
Once on the field, I was immediately surprised by how strong the suction was walking through the mud. More than a few times, I thought I was going to lose a shoe. I hadn’t intended to be walking in these types of conditions, and hadn’t thrown my muck-boots in the truck. Certainly something I’ll think about next time I’m out this spring.
Here’s a look at what the shadow looked like coming from the tree. It was pretty neat to see it cast over a number of rolling hills.
More importantly, I was able to get the perspective and angle I was looking for, and spent some time walking towards and away from the tree to find the angle that most fit the image in my head, and to find the best placement of the sun as it set.
I was in place about 40 minutes before the sun completely set, so had an opportunity to really play with and tweak image settings. I set my Nikon D5500 up low to the ground to crop out a grain bin that appeared in the distance, and to find an interesting intersection of angles where two hills met.
When I purchased the D5500, I saw the flip out touch-screen monitor as a gimmick and didn’t think that I used it much. Turns out, I love the feature, and it makes setting up these types of shots incredibly easy… and in this case, I really appreciated not having to lay in the mud to set up the shot.
My intent was to bracket the shots to do high-dynamic-range processing in post with #AdobeLightroom, so I shot a series of images every five to ten minutes to catch the sun at different levels as it set.
As it turns out, of the series I took the image I fell in love with is a stand-alone image and isn’t composited with any others. Here are settings used for the image:
Here’s the final image, processed through Lightroom. I’m pretty happy with the results.
A special thanks to Al for letting me walk into his field – I wouldn’t have been able to get this shot without you!
#NorthDakota #NDLegendary #PhotosbySeanCoffman #HDR #NikonD5500