Here is the second image in my Pioneer Spirit tree series. This little solitary pine (compare its size to the blades of grass for a sense of the real proportions) has staked his ground at the base of a large hoodoo formation in Devil’s Garden, Escalante basin, UT. In this arid and rugged land life seems to sprout in the most improbable places, and thrive on sheer rock, sand and the mere traces of soil. It is not the physical size but the resilience that makes this tree a little giant in its environment. To emphasize this, I captured this image using an exaggerated perspective with the Canon TS-E 17 f/4L on my EOS 5D MK II.
The camera was placed as low to the ground as my tripod allowed, with the front of the lens approximately 18 inches away from the tree. The image was composed using some vertical shift to achieve the desired composition and perspective. A stormy sky, courtesy of the thunderstorms that were traversing the area, adds drama and interest to the image, and helps in conveying the sense of the ruggedness of the area.
Notwithstanding the cloud cover there was a lot of contrast in the scene, as the image was captured in the early afternoon. To control the contrast and achieve the desired result the image was bracketed (0, +2, -2) and then rendered as an HDR using HDR Photostudio 2. The result has the dramatic impact of an HDR image with little if any of the halos that make most HDR images unrealistic. This image is straight from HDR Photostudio and has not been through the layer-based optimization that will turn it into a fine art print, but the result from the initial merge are interesting enough and I wanted to get it online as a preview ASAP.
Stay tuned for more!