Cloud Burst over Saint Mary’s Lake

The day before I took this shot, we spent more than 24 hours traveling – by car, airplane, and car again. We were operating on very little sleep – having been unable to sleep on the flight or during the drive. After just a few hours of sleep, we rose to catch an early sunrise on the shores of Saint Mary’s Lake. We were hoping for some good light… and we were not disappointed.

I used a soft 0.9 Graduated Neutral Density filter to reduce the brightness of the sky and the overall dynamic range for this shot. Even with the filter, the range of light was very broad because the foreground is in shadow, and the sky is brightly lit by the sun. I needed to use our manual iHDR workflow in Photoshop to restore details in the highlights in the clouds and shadows on the rocks. I also used a Neutral Density filter to increase the shutter speed to smooth the surface of the lake, and capture the motion of the fast-moving clouds.

4 replies
  1. Mitch Kloorfain
    Mitch Kloorfain says:

    The photo was great and I live the back story that goes with it. The part that makes me laugh is imagining you and Jay together on 24 hours of limited sleep. The banter must’ve just been amazing!


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