The view I had hoped for of a sky that was full of clouds that were a blaze with color never materialized. Instead there was just a thin layer of clouds that arched across the scene as viewed in the previous blog. And while that turned out to be a beautiful scene on it's own, with the unique arching clouds, it still wasn't what I had hoped for.
As the clouds drifted to the south and gathered around Bridalveil, some new clouds were coming into view from the north and framed El Capitan with color. And while the whole scene looked pretty nice now with some balancing clouds that had caught color from the sunrise, I chose to focus on the clouds and how the light began to turn them on fire.
Here is the scene as I focused solely on Bridalveil. As the sun continues to rise the clouds are changing from an orange to more of a yellow color. I resisted the temptation to overly brighten the scene. Having the scene darker allows for the colors to contrast more and then stand out.
In Landscape photography, we tend to shoot wider to capture more of a scene. I had been shooting at 16mm on my 16-35mm lens. But when I saw how the clouds were framing Bridalveil, and then also how the snow covered grasses in the foreground lined up nicely for anchor point, I went vertical and also zoomed in tighter to 35mm to capture this scene. In addition, I cropped in slightly on the top where there was mainly just clear sky. I didn’t want the interesting color of the clouds to get lost in the vacant sky area.
So as you are out shooting your wide horizontal landscape shots, keep an open mind and a quick hand to change your composition by focusing in closer on where the light is putting on it’s display. Eliminate elements from a scene, like an empty sky that doesn't add anything to the scene, and instead acts like a vacuum to pull the attention from where the viewers eye should be focused.