Dall sheep rams, Polychrome Pass, Denali National Park
Having just returned from a few days in Denali Park, it is clear that autumn is in full swing in the high country, and the vibrant colors have scattered the hills with richness. In the latter part of the afternoon while passing through Polychrome Pass, these dall sheep rams were resting on a mountain outcrop. White subjects on a sunny day can present an exposure challenge, however in this particular scene, some vital elements of a photo fell into place. In particular, I try to find a strong degree of perpendicular lighting if possible. This introduces many layers and brightness/darkness edges that make the composition interesting. Additionally, I looked critically at the background for linear dimension and angles, both for context and for visual interest. The low lying clouds just over the mountains create a strong mood for the mountain scene, and although there was blue sky above that, I preferred the tonal range of the grays. The initial RAW capture had a tiny bit of blown out highlights and blocked up shadows, but they were recoverable with basic adjustments, rendering a pleasing tonality with plenty of contrast. Eventually, the sheep stood up and walked from the ridge and began feeding in the willow bushes. The trip in general was filled with lots of sunshine, and at times too few clouds, but overall, very productive. It’s always a delight to be in Denali park during the autumn colors.