This is a shot from my trip around Andalucia in southern Spain last December. It's the only time I've ever had the opportunity to shoot mountains, something I've wanted to do pretty much since I started photography, so it was an interesting challenge.
Sadly, Spain's Sierra Nevada is hardly wilderness. It's a bustling ski resort and the mountain slopes are covered in ugly hotels, ski slopes, metal chair lift pylons and the thousands of people who come here for the winter sports. We only had a few hours up here and so I was limited to how far away I could get from urbanisation.
Still, the sky, the light and the distant mountains were beautiful, and at around 2500m the air feels so much more fresh than in the city of Granada at the foot of the mountain.
As I said, the mountain sides were covered with ski resorts, car parks and the like, so using a wide angle for a big, epic view was out. Instead, I used a telephoto and shot out, away from the mountain at the neighbouring peaks as the sun set and backlit the cloud settling into the valley.
I perched myself on a rock, settled the tripod as low as possible (it was very windy), and framed the distant peaks. I metered from the side of the mountain closest to me and then reduced exposure by 3 stops. I hoped this would be just enough to keep the detail there, and also bring out the colour of the sunset glow, but to make sure, I used a two stop soft neutral density filter across the sky.
I shot a frame, checked the histogram to make sure that neither the shadows nor highlights were clipping, and then recomposed to shoot some more.
This is my favourite from the evening.
I cropped the shot into a panoramic format as the top half of the picture contained only sky.
Levels adjustments on the RAW file, resizing and sharpening for web upload
Taken on Pico Veleta, Sierra Nevada, Spain
Nikon D3 | Nikkor 80-400 ED VR
Gitzo GT2541 tripod w/ Gitzo GH1780QR ballhead
Hoya CPL Pro 1 polarizer | Lee 0.6 soft NDG
1/500 | f5.6 | 195mm | ISO200
Workflow in Apple Aperture 2. Title in PS
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