Cold winters are here. They will remain for few more months. Thankfully, my fireplace is now repaired and I can at least keep myself warm in the evenings. Today, after a gap of many weeks, I laid my hands on my camera. The repair work is over and I can now enjoy the finer things of life, photography being one of those.
(Nanda-Kot peak in the early morning. Sometimes when the colors don’t add anything to the composition, it is better to remove them and create a monochromatic image. This one was converted to a black and white using Affinity Photo)
I took my camera out and captured a few images of the snow-peaks in front. Battery needed charging and rest all was good to go. There was frost all around. Days are short in this season and a lot of work needs to be done while the daylight lasts. Preparing wood for heating, care of fruit trees, regular cleaning and daily chores… list goes on. To top it, the recent repair work had left my living room in a mess. That also needed to be cleaned up. I started with the living room cleaning and preparing fire-wood. Also, kept my camera battery for charging.
I would have finished all the work by noon but then a family of strangers strolled by and stepped into my driveway. They wanted to explore my place. I welcomed them but politely declined showing inside of the house. Still I did spend a lot of time answering their queries and being friendly. I am sure that I would neither have the will nor the impertinence to enter some stranger’s house and ask to be shown around. I’ll have to hang a sign-board on the main-gate telling such strangers not to disturb. May be that will help. Just a thought for future.
By the time, I finished off the day’s work, it was already close to sunset. Frost was once again starting to form. There were clouds in the distant sky and the snow-peaks were still visible. The air was clear. All the signs of a beautiful sunset were there. Maybe a classy alpenglow too!
As many of you already know, I don’t own very expensive long teles. For the evening, I mounted a Sigma 150-500 mm lens on my camera. This is an inexpensive long tele zoom lens that is not very sharp. However, it serves my purpose. Using an inexpensive lens has its own advantages, the biggest one being that any damage to the lens will not cause too much of heartache. When I took the lens out, I rubbed the hood accidentally against a pillar and some of the finish got spoilt. Not to worry since no harm happened to the lens. (Hoods & Lens Flare)
The mountains were already yellow-orange and the clouds behind them were providing a perfect backdrop to go along with.
(Trishul Peak lit up in the golden evening light)
This was the first photograph that I captured in the evening. The top of the peak was hazy due to the cloud cover. Even the colors were not as saturated as they should be. These were fine for a landscape, a panorama, or a snapshot, but not something that would take my breath away. My gut feeling told me that this was going to be an evening for at least one good shot to remember for long. All I had to do was wait.
Many photographers have already written about it and I am going to say so too. Wait for a little more time in the evenings before packing up for a dramatic light, and rise up a little early in the morning to catch those pristine scenes.
To pass the time, I clicked some images to create yet another panorama. These evening panoramas of the Himalayan peaks are a crowd puller to our home-stay – Maini’s Hill Cottages. Panoramas are easy to create if you get some of the basics right. For more information, do read this – Panoramas, Snow & Coffee
The light was getting dark but it was still a long way to go. I captured another photograph of the peaks while framing them in the window formed by silhouette of some trees. This was also interesting and more of a single time ‘wow’ but nothing interesting to remember.
The birds were starting to settle down for their night. Chirping had almost ceased though occasionally I could hear one or two calls.
Just for a few seconds, the light turned perfect. The peaks were lit up in fiery red color, from top to the bottom. My instincts said that this was the moment I had been waiting for and I had just a few seconds to capture the fleeting moment.
(Nanda-Ghunti peak in full glory of Alpenglow!)
This was the photograph that I had been waiting for. The colors were perfect. The top of the peak was clear. The clouds were behind the peak and darker in shade. Nanda-Gunti is not a very high peak and so its top was not hidden by the clouds, as was the case today with Trishul and other peaks.
The above image was captured hand-held. Shutter speed of 1/400 seconds at f/8 aperture. ISO was at 720. The focal length of the lens was at 380 mm. The Sigma lens is a soft lens and causes excessive vignetting. My choice of focal length was to have a good enough dark foreground with cool colors with some simple lines, and a balance to hide the limitations of the lens (softness, vignette). I used simple center-weighted metering for determining the exposure (though in present days, one can practically use any metering, preview the histogram and readjust the exposure).
I had captured a image that I had visualized earlier in the day. Now, I could go back in and relax with a glass of good rum and some Simon & Garfunkel songs. It had been a fruitful evening. A memory was created.
The image was captured as raw. Later I post-processed the image on Affinity Photo. No filters were applied or any drastic changes were made. This is how nature presented to me on that lucky evening. An enlargement of the photograph is now going to hang at a friend’s house.