Big Bend Mountains in the Haze

It was mid-morning and I was out site seeing near the river in the southwest part of Big Bend National Park when I noticed that with the morning haze, the mountain appeared as layers in the distance. I had to try to shoot a photograph or two of this so I headed for an overlook to take the entire scene in.

This was such a wide shot and the sun was not very high in the sky, so I had to make this a long panorama. This allowed me to get most of the mountains in the shot and keep the sun above the scene. Below is a panorama of 9 images shot at 85mm focal length (click to enlarge).

Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze
Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze

In post I brought up the shadows and boosted the contrast. I experimented with leaving the foreground very dark so that visual focus concentrates on the layers of mountain ranges in the haze (see below). This seems a bit more abstract and I am kind of undecided on what I like best. What are your thoughts?

Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze
Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze

I also was not certain whether or not the larger mountain to the right belonged in my shot. It does have a lot of visual weight and I thought that it might distract from the rest of the scene. So, I took some images at 120mm focal length to stitch in which I could get more of the distant mountains in the shot and exclude the big foreground mountain to the right.

Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze
Big Bend Mountains Layered in the Morning Haze

I also did a slight vertical transform in LightRoom to exaggerate the mountains as the mountains are the point of the image.

The sky was washed out with haze and light from the morning sun such that I really didn’t need to do much to the colors. The distant scene was almost black and white to begin with. I did reduce saturation on the earth tones in the foreground.

As an aside, the high cliff toward the center of the pano above is the South Rim. I hiked up to and around the South Rim last November. It was a fun hike. Below is a photo shot from up on that trail. You can see more on my original blog post.

Hiking at Big Bend National Park in Texas
Nikon D750 + 16-35mm,f/4; 16mm, f/5.6, 1/2500s, ISO100

Being from the coast of Texas, with the marsh lands and pine forests, the desert landscape is kind foreign to me. I find it fascinating that the tough little plants and animals can thrive out here in what seems to be a harsh environment. The desert does provide the opportunity for some beautiful landscape photography though.

Desert Landscape at Big Bend National Park
Desert Landscape at Big Bend National Park

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment below.

17 thoughts on “Big Bend Mountains in the Haze

  1. What breathtaking photos Jason. Being from El Paso there aren’t many scenic vistas here but the Franklin mountains are absolutely beautiful when the poppy’s are blooming. At dusk the seem a violet purple with the sun setting behind them they are gorgeous. The mist makes the mountains in you pics seem haunting but beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know, I went out there primarily for night sky photos, and the night sky was amazing Saturday night, but when I got home I was most excited about processing these panoramas. The layers of mountains in the morning haze was beautiful. Big Bend is a fantastic place.

      A bit north of El Paso is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I have been out there a couple of times and it is quite beautiful. It would be a fun daytrip for someone in El Paso. It is an all-day drive for me.

      I would very much like to return to Big Bend in the spring to shoot the wild flower bloom. I may plan that for April.


      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I probably like that one best as well. I created virtual copies in LightRoom to compare them. I do like the earthy tones in the foreground as well, but perhaps it doesn’t belong so much with the theme. Thanks for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I appreciate the nice comments.

      I guess I wasn’t thinking of a ‘mood’, more of the nice affect of the morning haze. If I think of a mood associated with taking the picture, it would be solitude as I was alone and I go out to Big Bend to be alone and away from the city. There are a lot of visitors to the park, but it is a big park and if you want to find solitude, there is plenty of it out there. Yellowstone National Park, by contrast, seemed about as crowded as a city to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the blue sky! I was in Texas one time when I was a child. We actually got stranded in Texas. Our van was in the shop for a week! Fortunately we had very nice couple that owned the hotel we were staying at. They showed us all around Texas. I remember being in awe of the canyon they took us too.

    Liked by 1 person

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