Picture Lake Fall Reflection 5

Picture Lake Fall Reflection 5

Posted on

Picture Lake is one of the most iconic, and thus photographed, locations in my home state of Washington. The reflection of Mt Shuksan from the lake on a clear day is postcard perfect. In September, I returned to Picture Lake for the first time in a several years while instructing 2 private photography tour clients from Mexico. They had never been here before, so they were giddy with the perfect shooting conditions. Over the years, I have sold my original medium format film image of this scene numerous times, but I prefer this updated digital photo to the original. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 ZE lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filters on a tripod with minimal processing in Aperture 3. As always, the secret ingredient of this image was lots of patience waiting for hikers to walk out of the scene and a perfect reflection when the breeze stopped blowing.

Be social and share.

25 thoughts on “Picture Lake Fall Reflection 5

  1. Hey Jon. This is SO beautiful. I’ve really been enjoying your work lately, even though I haven’t left a comment. WOW! This is amazing. Thanks for sharing your gear setup and process used to create such a brilliant piece of art.

  2. No worries, Larry. As much as many photos as I produce and share, I do not expect anyone to pay attention or comment on all of them. My ultimate goal is to market myself by reinforcing the perception that I am always shooting new & exciting images. I think that I am successful at that.

  3. Jon, this is one of the better photographs of Picture Lake that I’ve seen yet. I really like the way you were able to capture the lake grasses. Time of year is just perfect.

    However, I much prefer the medium format version – the color is much more realistic. Sorry, film is still very much preferable to digital in the landscape realm.

  4. Thanks for your feedback, Robert. I’m just happy that anyone still appreciates my film images!

    The debate is now pointless between film versus digital. I shot 6×7, 6×9, and 6×12 for my first 8 years, but though I did not believe it for a long time, I can now make a much sharper, crisper, and higher dynamic range large print (20×30) with my 21MP camera than I ever could with my film scans from my Imacon (now Hasselblad) scanner. There is certainly a different look between them, but hopefully I’ll still be happily selling my film images for years to come.

  5. Both are beautiful in their own way. I find the new image richer, but I am slightly disturbed by the fact that the reflection appears lighter than the mountain (certainly a common shortfall of GND images).

  6. QT-I don’t want you to be even disturbed! I had not even noticed any difference between the mountain & reflection exposures, and boy, if there is one, it’s about 1/3 of a stop. Photography is an art of compromise, is it not? I go back & forth between using a 3-soft and 4-soft GND filter for this type of image, but the 4-soft has become my go-to filter for foreground-reflection-mountain images.

  7. Is it possible to finf the aperture and exposure time of your photos ?

    I love your blog, stunning images, make’s me want to go outside and shoot more !

  8. guilag-Thanks for your kind words! If you drag/copy my (copyrighted) image to your desktop, open it up in Photoshop and look at the File info. All my camera settings are there.

  9. Beautiful shot! This one has everything great color, great foreground, great angle of the lake and mountain. Very very nice!

  10. Hey Jon, If i was to buy just one singh-ray grad filter, what grade would you suggest? I can only afford one at the moment, and to start with I’ll be hand holding the filter as well.

  11. Adam-1 grad filter? Hmmm… 2-hard of 3-soft? They will do different shots. Probably the 3-soft.

  12. Ok that’s kinda what i as thinking. the hard isn’t of much use to me since i live in the mountains!

  13. Hi John
    Beautiful images, I really enjoy following your Blog.

    I actually prefer the framing of the original film image, apart from the shadow in the bottom left corner which can be cropped out. I like the way your eye can freely wander across the reeds and lake and on up to the mountain.

    In the new image, whist the foreground shrubs have great colour they feel like a barrier stopping me from “entering” the picture.

  14. Great image of Mt. Shuksan!

    In response to Guilags question about finding what camera settings were used: I use an extension for firefox called FxIF that allows one to right click and find all the camera information (if available) in the image properties window. A bit easier than saving the image to the computer.

  15. Phil-I am quite pleased to see some film image fans still out there! I wanted to do something slightly different than take the same photo as before plus I like getting down low & close, but what I really like is the punchier color and increased dynamic range of the new digital image.

    Michael-That is an awesome plugin! If anyone else is looking for EXIF data in a jpeg while using Friefox check FxIF out.


  16. This is gorgeous. Makes me want to be there. Great seeing, Jon!

  17. Yes. So great. So nice. I like this Photo. Thank you for showin. Tyce

  18. Thx for the FxIF plugin.
    Unfortunately, i’m a google chrome user, so I just did a search for “exif” in the extension gallery and found this one “ExifViewer”: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/nafpfdcmppffipmhcpkbplhkoiekndck?hl=fr

    It works pretty well too !

  19. I used to live in Washington and have been to this spot myself. Obviously I’ve taken a similar (not as good) shot because, as you know, it’s very difficult to make any other form of composition here because of the man-made construction just barely outside the frame.

    So the question for any artist then is how can a photograph with those constraints be reflection of the artist’s, hopefully, unique expression? This location more than any other I know (though I’m sure there are many) puts that challenge on the photographer and to me symbolizes the lack of creativity that is sadly wide-spread in nature photography.

    I’m not trying to point to you or this shot in particular. That wouldn’t be fair. There are countless similar photographs taken, but gracefully you have a way to comment and you’re one of the few photographers I follow.

  20. Marius,

    Here’s my take on shooting an iconic location like this. I was hoping for something slightly different with the clouds & light, which I got the day before, but not on this beautiful, blue sky afternoon. I do occasionally shoot icons, but in general I go to great lengths to photograph out-of-the-way locations. You can look through my galleries and see that I don’t just hit the National Park viewpoints. However, the reason that you see so many images from those locations is because,

    1. They are accessible
    2. They are iconic
    3. They still sell

    I also want to point out that I took 2 photo tour clients here who had never been to this location. They were ecstatic to see this world-class view for themselves. I did not need to personally go back to shoot here, but since I was there, I shot this image again. As I previously mentioned, I’ve sold this image a bunch over the years. I am sure that I will sell this image, too. I’m also not a big abstract shooter, since I mostly publish/license images. Abstracts never sell for those uses.

    So, for most grand landscape images, it really comes down to good light, beautiful clouds, and seasonal conditions to create a unique image. Thanks for taking your time for this discussion!

  21. Gorgeous Jon. Are you sure that you did trim the vegetation since the reflection fits so well in that gap? 🙂

  22. KK-HA! I always carry garden sheers in case I need to modify a scene. The original Photoshop!

  23. Hi 🙂

    I was wondering if you need anything to attach the Carl Zeiss lens to the 5d mk ii?

    Thanks, Kirk

  24. Kirk-No. Carl Zeiss makes their ZE series lenses already for Canon mount. They are awesome for landscape photography!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *