25mm, f/22, 1/60 sec, 200 ISO
When shooting into the sun, you never know exactly what you’ll get…but stopping down the aperature to f16 or higher will generally result in a starburst effect like that above. The little gem colored geometrics falling from the star were a bonus from lens flare. Backlighting often results in flat subjects, so bumping up the contrast a bit is necessary in processing.
In the winter the only way to access Two Top Mountain, 11 miles south of West Yellowstone, is by snowmobile. It’s a bumpy, winding, exhilerating ride!
Certainly not the most interesting light, but the flat frontal lighting (with the sun at my back) made exposure a breeze. Just spot metered on the snow and dialed it up to 2 to match the tonality of pure white.
At the top of the mountain you’ll see trees covered in a thick hoar frost that take on the appearance of fantastical shapes…like this one. Doesn’t it look like a snow ogre guarding the arched entrance to her frsoty home?
The best time to see hoar frost on the trees is on a cold, clear day. On the morning of my particular visit last week it was plenty cold: 24 below! When I removed my bulky snowmobile mittens, two pairs of glove liners underneath kept my fingers nimble to operate my camera. At least for awhile. I was concerned about battery life in those temps, but my fingers froze first. The hotels in town rent snowmobiles and gear, so if you’re in the area it is a worthwhile trip.