Maroon Bells with Summer Flowers - Colorado
Maroon Bells is probably one of the most photographed locations in all of Colorado. I normally don't make it a point of photographing such popular locations, preferring instead to find spots with less tripod holes in the ground and less people in the area. But if I happen to be near a popular location, it would be silly not to stop at least once to see first-hand what all the fuss is about.
"Maroon Bells with Summer Flowers" - Colorado
In July of 2011 I was exhibiting my artwork at an art festival in Aspen so I decided to stop for a sunrise photo at Maroon Bells on my way into town. Walking up to the lake an hour before sunrise I noticed there were already a few photographers along the waters edge looking for the classic mirrored reflection shot. I found a spot as well along the edge, not near anyone, and waited for the light.
As the sun started hitting the top of the peaks, it was becoming evident that the reflection shot was going to look lousy. A slight breeze was in the air rippling across the water. Adding to the ripples were some geese that must have decided my location was great to watch the sunrise as well, stirring up the water even more.
Many more photographers were here by now, all of them along the waters edge. I started looking around for something different to place in the foreground of my composition since the reflection photo was going to be a bust.
I noticed a field of yellow flowers not too far away and thought it would give me what I wanted. A few minutes later I was setting up my tripod, leaving the camera close to the ground to enhance the size and impact of the flowers, yet still leaving some room for the lake to show through in the middle of the composition.
Eight separate photos were used to create this image. In each photo, only the exposure was changed, providing me with detail in the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows throughout the 8 photos.
"Maroon Bells with Summer Flowers" is an 8-photo HDR image that was first processed in Nik's HDR Efex Pro software from Nik Software. In addition I also used Color Efex Pro 4 to enhance the colors, and Define 2 to remove noise from the sky that was introduced in the HDR process.
This was photographed with my Canon 5DII and 17-40mm lens. I originally released a black & white version in 2011 shortly after I photographed there. In 2012 I went back to the original eight photos and reprocessed them into this new color version.
"Flowers Below the Bells" - Maroon Bells, Colorado
For me personally, while I do enjoy the color version very much, I think I still prefer the original black & white - it just seems a bit more powerful and striking.
How about you? Which do you prefer - the color or black & white version?
Feel free to mention which is your favorite in the comment section below.
Keywords: 2012, Colorado, Maroon Bells, aspen, behind the scenes, flowers, how to, mountain glow, mountains, spring, summer, sunrise, yellow
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