Find the Right Light Friday – Tetons Moonrise

By Lane Erickson

There is so much beauty in the world we live in.  It’s in the quiet lakeside when a loon swims slowly by or a trout leaps for an insect hovering over the water. It’s in the robin flitting through the steam rising up in the majestic Redwood forest. It’s in both the laughter and tears of a child. It’s in the people, nature, wildlife, and buildings that are a part of our lives everyday. It’s everywhere for us to see  .  .  .  if we just notice.  And .  .  .   it’s in the light.

I named this website “Find the Right Light” because decades of photography have taught me to notice. I notice patterns in the leaves, and textures in the fields of grain.  I notice the sparkle in a person’s eye when they are looking at a loved one.  I notice reflections in water, glass, and even in car doors. I notice all of these things, but mostly, I notice the light.

Every great photograph I ever created or that others created and I admire captured the right light.  So my quest every time I look through the viewfinder is to find the right light.  This leads me to the purpose of a new series I will work on called “Find the Right Light Friday” which is where I will showcase just one photograph where I feel the right light was captured.  This will happen on Fridays (maybe not every Friday but hopefully most of them).  In this series, I will describe how the photograph was created.  I may include a diagram of the composition and lighting but even if I don’t I will describe the light and why I believe it is right.

So for my first submission in this Find the Right Light Friday series, I present a photograph I made last November (2018) I’ve titled Tetons Moonrise.

11-20-18-ID-Tetons_0108-(fr

As I’ve mentioned before in previous postings, I am an attorney by profession.  In November 2018, I had a hearing in Driggs, Idaho, which is a small Idaho town close to the Wyoming border.  My hearing finished.  I left the courthouse and walked to my car about to drive home when I noticed that the sky was clear.  The sun was getting lower on the horizon and with the Teton mountain range just to the east of where I was, I realized an opportunity was developing.  My ever present camera was ready.  All I needed was the right location.

I drove around crazily until I found the right view.  I pulled off an old farm road and waited. As the sun lowered, the sunset light burned onto the granite of the Teton mountain range.  Then the magic happened.  The moon rose.  It wasn’t a perfect full moon, but it was close.  Exposing for the moon darkened the light on the mountains until it glowed red.  A tiny bit of fading light strafed a portion of the snowy foreground.

I used a Fuji X-T1 camera with the XF 55-200mm lens nearly fully extended. This provided the right composition and compression and it magnified the moon to just the right size.  I utilized the Velvia setting to maximize the color saturation and contrast.  The exposure setting for any who care was ISO 200; 1/250 at f/4.8.  I had a Gitzo tripod in my car but created this particular image handheld.

Because this is simple sunset light coming from my right there are no diagrams.  Why is this the right light? The sunset light on the Teton mountain range by itself is pretty incredible.  Adding the nearly full moon to me takes this photo to the next level.

Always open to comments, I welcome your thoughts, suggestions and even your critiques. Have a great Friday and best wishes in finding the right light in your own photographs.

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