Layers of gold

I learned many things during our Laos trip and one of them was to really appreciate gorgeous mountains. As every reader knows by now I tend to go on (and on) about wide open dimensionless desolate flat spaces. But driving around the incredible gorgeous mountains of East Laos blew my mind. Everywhere, absolutely everywhere my eyes darted, majestic mountainscapes were present. Another added bonus of mountains and the air in these altitudes were the incredibly blue sky and simply stunning cloudscapes masterly painted onto the big big sky.

The mountains pose a challenge though, finding somewhere to shoot! Driving on a small path in a 4WD, most of the time there are bushes, trees and all sorts of stuff in front. To get a clear shot requires testing gravity or towing a really tall ladder! Or just the patience to wait for a spot to pull over where the view is unimpeded. One afternoon as the sun was low and setting we were treated to some ethereal rays of lights shining through the clouds and I created this image:

Laos mountainscape golden hour blog

This is just a single image slightly cropped. There was not always time to setup tripod and shoot stitched panos etc. The important lesson here is take what you can get. I have warmed the colours some, in the original it has a more cold cast to it but I feel perfectly fine about altering the look of a scene like this. I am attempting to create art, this is not a documentary nor photojournalism. I was able to capture the dynamic range in one raw file and then worked the image in Lightroom and Photoshop to bring out the deep in shade foreground slight and warm the colours. What do you think of the result?

18 Comments on “Layers of gold”

  1. you're never going to get me to like a image like this Flem… why with the mountains, golden light, layers through the hills… never 😛

    very nice, you already know I love mountains so yeah, i really like this.

    hope you had a good christmas, and all the best for the new year too 🙂

  2. Really nice shot Flemming. I love the balance of shape and light. The warming worked well. Glad to see you are discovering the joys of mountains!

  3. really intense photograph, the rays of light are truely beaming!
    p.s. do you use your tripod for pano's(?) i never have, are they easier that way(?)

    1. Cheers Chloe !
      Yes I use my tripod for pano's. I use my tripod with mirror lockup and cable release for almost all photos, to ensure maximum quality. Sometimes there just isn't time or space though.

      As for pano's on tripods, takes time to setup as the whole setup must be absolutely level. In that way a hand held pano is easier. But once done right, a tripod shot pano perfectly level etc on either a pano head or similar will also stitch absolutely perfectly. PTgui is so good though that stitching problems are rare, just have to allow for some cropping especially when shooting handheld.

  4. Another cracker Flemming, I love the layers of colour and depth that the beams of light create which is set off well by the mountains in the background. Very envious of your nomadic lifestyle.

  5. Very nice effect flem – looks very moody and dreamy of a far off untouched angelic land 🙂

    all the best in 2010 mate !

    1. Cheers Fletch, I already worked the foreground some but see what you mean. There's not a lot of detail here though so I was battling some noise as well. Should have used GND filters but not enough time here to set up.

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