Best-of-2014 - shikha's photography

Heavenly Canadian Rockies dotted  by some of the most gorgeous lakes in the world, beautiful coastal view of Sonoma County in Norther California and Nature's rare light show in majestic Yosemite Valley summed up my nature odyssey in 2014. Thanks for visiting this page! Wish you a fabulous 2015 !!  Have added a section Answers to FAQ on my "Best of 2014" gallery at the bottom of this page,

Russian River meets Pacific in moonlight

April 16th, 2014 -  Russian river meets the Pacific Ocean as the moon rises behind.  Oh look how they meet - in a heart shaped pattern that dazzles in moonlight.  May I call it romantic ?The estuary is located at Jenner in Sonoma County, Northern California. 

Emerald Lake

July 3, 2014 - Thunderstorm and heavy downpour in the late afternoon was followed by fast moving clouds as the storm began to clear. Rain had enhanced visibility, clarity and accentuated the verdure with glittering water droplets resting on them. Rich emerald colored waters of the lake glistened in the magic light as the sun set behind the surrounding hills leaving the sky blazing red and orange. Rarely do you have a tryst with nature when both the sky and the water body are so colorful. One advantage of this viewpoint was that the skies reflected in the lake only partially - highly desirable else the natural turquoise colors of the lake would have been lost and it would have looked like any other water body reflecting the red sky. This was sunset and I was looking West. The challenge was to capture a high contrast light situation in  one shot such that both the sky and the lake colors are preserved.  Details in the sky were just as important as the shimmering lake and the bright leaves in the foreground.  I made use of graduated neutral density filter to block the light by 3-stops in the sky so that I could achieve a well balanced exposure. Wrong exposure could have overblown the sky highlights or would have rendered the foreground and the lake dull. I tried to do justice to both. Can you see rain drops on the leaves ? I allowed the shutter to remain open for 20 secs  to capture cloud dynamics in the aftermath of the storm. It was 10: 30 PM when I left this place. Long summer in higher latitudes can be very demanding. The next day was overcast and I gave complete rest to my camera.

Emerald Lake

July 3, 2014 - Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park in the late afternoon after thunderstorm

Lake Louise sunrise

July 1, 2014 (Canada Day) - Canada Day was marked by watching ethereal sunrise at Lake Louise as Victoria Glacier reflected in rich turquoise waters of the lake.

July 3, 2014 - Calm before the thunderstorm at Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.

June 30th, 2014 - Fluffy clouds caressed the peaks reflecting in Robin's egg blue colored waters of Peyto Lake. My only companion here were squirrels and birds. 

June 28th 2014- Bow lake in late evening.

June 28,2014 - Bow glacier and turquoise bow lake in the late stormy afternoon.I had just arrived in the Canadian Rockies , had travel fatigue, my body told me to get back to the lodge and sleep. But my heart wouldn't listen . Of course no regrets for listening to my heart. Can you also spot the bow falls ? Click on the image for a higher resolution image.

March 1st 2014 -  Most photographers left thinking that the sun had set.  About half an hour later, I got to see one of the best light shows of nature  that illuminated one granite tower after another !! Have seen numerous sunsets from tunnel view in Yosemite National Park before but never saw something like this. Storms are capable of throwing unexpected surprises in hills and mountain terrains.

Russian river in morning

Russian river during sunrise in spring.

Goat Rock in moonlight

April 17th, 2014 - Goat rock beach state park illuminated by moonlight.

Waterfowl Lake

Waterfowl Lake-  Driving along the Icefields parkway early in the morning can be a lifetime experience. Soft light on the rich blue green colored lakes, soaring mountains with clouds hugging them.

Answers to FAQ on my "Best of 2014" gallery

All the pictures are single shots, no HDR , no merging of multiples shots, no content addition or deletion from the pictures were done.

The sky, clouds and water look such because of long exposure ( varying from 20 secs to 6 mins ), not because of photo editing effects. I make use of long exposure to highlight motion in water and clouds against static objects in nature. High shutter speed is undesirable because it arrests motion.With the exception of night shots, all the images are shot with ISO 50, thus keeping the noise very low. 

I used Canon 6D and Canon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens on Silk pro tripod.

Wherever necessary , I made use of neutral graduated density filters that do not add any color cast but help in blocking light in high dynamic range situations. As always, I shoot only when I feel light is good for landscapes, thunderstorms and morning twilight being my all time favorite conditions.

Raw images were converted to jpeg in Lightroom. I further reduced highlights and corrected white balance where necessary, improved vibrance, contrast.