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Reflections on Dream Lake
Reflections on Dream Lake

It is always an adventure shooting sunrise at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Dodging elk and deer in the middle of the road at 3 in the morning, hiking up snow packed trails in the dark, enduring 70 mph winds, and the chill they induce...

But it is always rewarding.  The winds aided in this shot by blowing all the snow off the surface of Dream Lake.  It was a little early in the season and I wasn't totally convinced the ice would hold (Bear Lake was still in liquid form).  I crawled around on the ice distributing my weight as evenly as possible.  Ice chunks were blasting my hood at 70 mph, creating a sound very similar to cracking ice, or so my brain was telling me....

This is a focus stacked image of Hallet Peak at sunrise.  I shot about 7 images, each focused at a point a select distance into the scene.  In the comfort of my warm office I blended the parts of each of image that were in focus into one image.

One of the reasons I decided to use this method was that I really wanted the lines in the ice and the mountains in the back to be in focus.  If I just shot at f/32 I wouldn't be able to get the immediate foreground as sharp as I did.  Another reason was the 70 mph wind.  I was able to open my aperture to f/8 and shoot at my lens' sharpest setting and achieve a faster shutter speed.  Granted I had to do it 7 times, but 7 images in partial focus are better than one not in focus.

16mm, f/8, 1/15 sec, ISO 100 - Shot hand held with a Nikon D7000