Finding Order in the Chaos, Rocky Mountain National Park

There are many scenes that are beautiful to view, but not all are photogenic. On this snowy morning in Rocky Mountain National Park, there was plenty of beauty visible (after the storm subsided). However, I was experiencing a common landscape photography challenge. From a composition perspective, the beauty was lacking the order my eye sought to create an attractive image.

Upon entering a small clearing, I found what I was looking for. The trees had adequate light to grow tightly together, and there was balance in the form of tree size.

When hiking, I typically carry the gear in a backpack, and the MindShift Gear BackLight 18L was the choice for this hike. Because it takes time and effort to access a backpack's contents, I find myself passing up photo opportunities of marginally attractive scenes. The potential reward vs. time and effort required ratio is not high enough. Carrying a camera and lens in a toploader case keeps a camera and lens well protected while significantly increasing accessibility. The Canon EOS R5 and RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens, my favorite landscape camera and lens combination, were chosen for the toploader case.

Most scenes offer a variety of compositions. Spending time working the scene, assessing the various camera position and focal length combinations, typically leads to the best images.

My assessment of this scenario was that a level camera, keeping the trees straight, was optimal. While I liked just the trees in the frame, adding a base to the image (the ground) seemed best (and the R5's resolution makes changing one's mind later an easy option). A standing position at 35mm gave me the level camera with a bit of the foreground inclusion I was seeking.

I love symmetry in photography. While natural forest is not typically symmetrical, this scene yielded rather well in this regard. The size and shape of the trees are similar on each side of the central gap.

I waited a long time to share this image (along with a Merry Christmas message) — until winter. However, this image was captured in the summer. Sharing a snowy picture in the summer seemed wrong.
 

 
Camera and Lens Settings
35mm  f/8.0  1/125s
ISO 100
8192 x 5464px
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