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Wind Painting - Death Valley National Park

**UPDATE***: This image was awarded an Honorable Mention in Outdoor Photographer Magazine's 2012 Colors of Nature Contest. Check out the winner's gallery here:


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I posted two abstract shots in a row?? What is this world coming to? Truth be told, I'm not much of an abstract shooter. I just love grand vistas and soaring landscapes. But sand dunes are such amazing studies in lines, light, color, and textures that it's easy to lose yourself in these elements. The way that light and shadow feather so perfectly around the curves of the dunes is pure magic. The smoothness and subtleties can be so perfect they almost look like they were painted in.


It's fair to say I was in photographer heaven at these pristine, gorgeous dunes in southern Death Valley. Can't wait to teach our workshop here in November!



Tech Notes on this Photo


Nikon D300s

Tokina 12-24 mm @ 18 mm on a crop sensor

ISO200 - best dynamic respose of the D300

f/9 - nice, sharp sweet spot on my lens

1/6 sec

Lee 3-stop soft GND filter, handheld at an angle across the dark-light transition




In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)

- Processed single raw file once

- Global contrast for added pop

- Local contrast to add zip to the ridges


In Photoshop:

- Selective sharpening of foreground patterns only

- Minor s-curve curves layer to add global contrast

- Curves layer to brighten an area which was too dark from the filter


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Taken on February 28, 2011