During my hikes I have always enjoyed watching the warm tones of the day segue into deep and cool shadows before the fading ambient glow of the evening sky. Often there are many photogenic opportunities to consider when the light is in this state. In a more rugged terrain like that of the Cascade Range there are sequences of neighboring ridges that can create strikingly graphic compositions up into the sky. Though these compositions can seem simple to the eye, there are definitely some approaches that can improve their results.
Many of my favorite mountain layers images feature a strong focal point for the layers to lead into. In the instance of the featured image, Mt. Baker, a 10,781ft volcano in the Cascade Range distantly commands the background. It is especially helpful if there is a simple sky to complement the lower layers; I was lucky enough to get a horizontal band of clouds to help add interest to the image. As stated before, I enjoy the juxtaposition of the cool and warm tones in these scenes, and I was fortunate to get that right mixture in my image. The spacing of the ridges is also important; ideally there would be close to equal distances between each ridge to lead the eye evenly to the backdrop. Keeping the exposure of the shadows and highlights fairly uniform also strengthens the image; having a subsection of deeper shadows or an overly bright backdrop can disrupt the flow of the image.
There are also some routes a photographer can take to improve these types of images in post-processing. I find augmenting the... [vision_notification style="tip" font_size="20px"]Read the whole article inside issue 68.[/vision_notification]