Rockies Insider guide to nature photography with Raynor Czerwinski

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Written by Patrick J. Smith posted on Monday, July 26th, 2010

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Keep in mind the light and background with up close shots. Photo by Raynor Czerwinski.

Colorado photographer Raynor Czerwinski moved to Crested Butte, Colorado, to blend his passion for the natural outdoors with his artistic skills behind the shutter.

Eight years later Czerwinski has a personal and defined style on display at his local gallery as a professional natural outdoor photographer, and is our latest insider to drop some tips on shooting landscapes and nature in the Rockies.

Wildflowers: Look at background, light and shadows

When shooting wildflowers, Czerwinski advises to keep in mind shadow and background.

“If you have a shadow and light running across a flower all you see it the line because it’s stronger than the petals,” says Czerwinski. “What a lot of people don’t realize is you need to diffuse the light to get a soft image.”

The issue is the finite amount of space to work with when capturing nature up close and personal. In this way, the light is imperative to the big and beautiful subject.

Simple solution: A white, plastic garbage bag. Czerwinski admits he always has one on hand. Place the white garbage bag between the light source (the sun) and the subject (a flower), and keep your camera on a tripod. Czerwinski says this diffusing technique will soften the light as the colors on the subject become more vivid.

“The flower takes center stage. You can do this during mid-day, even at high noon when it’s not recommended to shoot landscape,” he adds.

Background composition is just as important as the foreground when working with high magnification shots. Czerwinski says to watch out for sticks, or a rock standing out as an ugly blob in the background.

“A lot of people don’t see that stuff, but once you start noticing you can’t stop.”

Landscape is in the clouds

Classic landscape shots need identity, and Czerwinski says it’s all about the clouds.

“Clouds are paramount to have in an image. I don’t go out if there are no clouds, you don’t have anything to reflect good colors,” he adds.

Bluebird days are some of the most boring times to shoot when including the sky, says Czerwinski, because it’s just a plain blue palate. A safe bet is to head out when there’s a 30 to 40 percent chance of rain.

“Go out with some clouds and you’ll haves some amazing sunset reflections. Even dark clouds in the background help mountains pop out,” says Czerwinski.

And the best time to shoot? Czerwinski is usually out both before down and just after sunset to search for good lighting. His latest interest is shooting the opposite side of sunrise and sunset and capturing pastel gradients from the earth’s shadow.

“I just go out and look for balanced composition and hopefully some interesting light will come support it.”

Find more of Czerwinski’s photography and

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