It’s easy to over complicate landscape photography. There are rules about foreground, depth of field, where to put the horizon, etc. It’s good to know all of those things but sometimes simple is good. This image is a perfect example of that. I did use the rule of thirds to place the tree and the horizon but there is essentially no depth of field and nothing in the way of foreground. I like it nonetheless.
I made this image one morning up in the foothills to the East of Sacramento. I was actually standing on the hill pictured in my Orion and Oaks image. The reason for the trip was to shoot the full moon setting over Sacramento but the angle wasn’t right. Since that wasn’t going to happen I started to look for something else to capture. I spotted this tree way off in the distance, all by itself on a ridge. It was so far away that I had to use my Canon 100-400, zoomed all the way to 400mm, to get the shot. The exposure was 1/160 sec at f / 22 and ISO 100. Depth of field wasn’t an issue but I knew that I needed the narrow aperture to get the rays from the sun. The effect is actually caused by the pattern that the aperture blades in the lens create. At a lower f/stop it wouldn’t have been there.
The exposure was straight forward but the capture wasn’t. I set up shortly before the run came peaking over the ridge. When the first hint of light came over I realized that I’d misjudged my location and it was well to the left of the tree. I grabbed all of my gear and when running, like a mad man, down the hill so that I could get another shot at it. The second try is what you see here. I’m certain that it was a pretty comical scene to watch. It’s probably just as well that no one caught it on video.