Indian Paintbrush, Alabama Hills, California

(order ID # CT35-00889-B)

The Alabama Hills run a few miles parallel to the great eastern escarpment of the Sierra Nevada. They are a fascinating place to wander around in and the backdrop of the Sierra always adds visual zest. I was on a morning walk there when I found this Indian Paintbrush. The light was changing rapidly so I had to act quickly. I switched to my widest angle lens and got in close to the flowers, thus making them loom large in the photo. The background was already in the full light of the sun and hence too bright to record with sufficient detail on the film. I got out my split neutral density filter, designed exactly for this sort of situation to darken bright segments of the scene. I could see the line of direct sun sweeping toward me so I had no time to set up my tripod nor lock down the filter; I was squatting awkwardly over the flowers, juggling the camera and holding the filter over the lens with my hand. I struggled to squeeze off three shots before the suns rays touched the flowers, destroying their soft quality and ending the photo session.

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