The Story behind the Winning Shot

Author: David Halgrimson

I was on an Arizona Highways Photo Workshop to the Canadian Rockies and stopped at Vermilion Lakes overlooking Mount Rundle.  As the group disembarked from the vehicles, everyone scattered along the shore line.  And while this location offered some nice rocks in the foreground,  I was looking for something different.  So off I wandered to find another area to shoot.  I came across this small island and thought it had some possibilities, so I navigated down to the shoreline.  Now at ground level the island composition didn’t quite work, so once again I searched for a better vantage point. Behind me was an 8 foot-tall bank.  I climbed up and knew instantly that this location was it. I was able to get the island, Mount Rundle and the reflection in the composition. I tried both horizontal and vertical shots but finally decided that vertical worked best.

To get the best image you sometimes have to work it, move around, wait for the light to change, change perspective, get higher, get lower, move left & right. I took 36 shots at this location to get the one I liked best. The histogram looked good for all of them even though the images looked under exposed on the camera. You can see the out of camera image and final image here.

In post processing I worked on the image in Photoshop. I had entered it in competitions but it took a few iterations in Photoshop to finally get a winning image in Outdoor Photographer’s 2014 Great Outdoor Photo Contest.

BTW, you can break the rules as seen in this shot where the horizon is not quite level.  If you like this shot, you can get your winning image on the next Arizona Highways Photo Workshop Canadian Rockies photo adventure, July 19-25, 2015 with instructor Jim Steinberg.


David Halgrimson is a trip leader for Arizona Highways Photo Workshops.
Images copyrighted by David Halgrimson