Granite Pine, Vernon, BC, Canada by Dean Cebuliak

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Ponderosa pine trees grow throughout our Okanagan Valley’s dry arid climate. Located in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, near the town of Vernon, this scene was captured at Ellison Provincial Park in late May along the shores of the area’s largest body of water; Okanagan Lake. The unique features here always bring back fond memories for me as a kid as I used to scramble on the granite rocks, jump from the cliffs into the lake, rock climb up the cliffs, lay on fine red granite beach, and even enjoyed peaceful evenings on the water while boating.

This peaceful evening, as a professional photographer years later, I brought my wife and was looking for an opportunity to try out my new 14-30mm f/4 S lens for my Nikon Z7. We hiked along the cliffs for a scene similar to this image that I’d previsualized in my head, meaning I’d likely seen it somewhere before and loved it. I finally came upon this tree on the shore facing the set sun and captured an image from its other side in landscape format, the side most of the light was on. Looking for something else while I was there, I also captured this vertical composition, liking the composition better but not necessarily liking the light.

Months later, after printing and hanging a copy of the other image in my home studio, I decided to try the new luminosity feature inside Lightroom on an image and ended up back at this one from that evening. I can still remember my wife waiting patiently while we were there, loving this composition but being torn about the light, and working around other people out there. Now, after some digital work with this new feature, I’m very pleased with what I learned and that I came back to this image. I call it Granite Pine because these hardy native trees are my favourite trees. They grow out of bits of built up dust in rocks along the lake obviously, as well as arid sun-burnt hillsides, they smell wonderful, and I love the burnt orange colouring and texture of the bark. Granite Pine represents new equipment, new training, new skills, and a new Dean.

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