Archive for February 25th, 2009



Rockys Tail

Rockies Tail

Sandia Crest is a famous birding destination. It is one of the few places in North America where you can reliably see at least two species of Rosy Finch, and often all three, in a single day. For a birder, no visit to Albuquerque is complete without the drive to Sandia Crest.

Sandia Crest is also the last major peak at the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains. From the crest, looking south, you can see the Rockies tail, so to speak, winding down one side of the Rio Grande Valley.

This is a difficult shot. There was a lot of haze in the air, and a heavy cloud cap to the south, and the mountains just kind of disappeared into the gray. Visually, there was significant detail, enough to make an interesting image, but I knew that the camera would catch mostly scattered light from the water in the air, hiding the distant detail. I also knew, from past experience shooting on similar days, that the scattered light is mostly blue light, and that, in Lightroom, I could lower the luminance of the blue channel in the finely divided luminance controls provided, and recapture much of that detail.

The image still shows more haze than I would like, but who knows when I will get back to Sandia Crest, and it is still as satisfying record of a magnificent and particularly significant view.

And, yes I did see the Rosy Finches: All three species, feeding on the deck outside the window, while I sipped tea and ate a breakfast muffin at the Sandia Crest House. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Sony DSC H50 at about 45mm equivalent. F6.3 @ 1/320 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, as I mentioned above, I first reduced the luminance of the blue channel in the Color panel, which restored much of the detail that otherwise was lost in the haze of scattered light. Added Clarity and Vibrance, and used the Sharpen landscapes preset. I pushed the Contrast up a bit.

From Albuquerque.

This is, by the way, my 100th Pic of the Day! Pic of the Day has gotten over 11,000 views since I started it in December. Thank you all.