Welcome to Incredible Photographs, a series of short interviews on South Africa’s very best nature photography. We ask the photographers a set list of questions to gain insight into the previsualization, planning, capture, editing and reflection of their best photographs.
Where was this image taken?
Near Somerset West, Western Cape.
Did you plan this image or would you consider it a stroke of luck?
I’d say it’s more of a planned image combined with I was lucky all the elements aligned for it. There’s always a luck element for weather events.
Was this image inspired by another photographer’s work or a specific image?
If planned, how many times did you visit this location?
I see this view from my backdoor and constantly see the changing weather and clouds as they move across the mountain peaks. I’ve been waiting for the conditions to align for this type of image with the misty rain and rainbow. I’ve attempted to shoot it at least twice on previous occasions, but on both of those occasions the cloud settled over the peaks so the image wasn’t possible.
Did you use an ephemeris or AR planning app like Photopills or TPE?
I do normally, but for this image it was pure watching the weather and seeing how the clouds and rain were moving across the peaks and getting out in front of the rain to capture the image.
Do you have any images of failed shoots to provide some background on what goes into an image like this?
Not for this particular location.
Is the location physically challenging to access or is it a brief walk from a parking lot? Also, would you consider the location safe to go shooting on your own or should one be cautious?
The location is about a 200m walk on fairly level ground, but you don’t necessarily have to go too far from your car as it was shot on a telephoto lens. Yes the location was on a wine farm so very safe.
Did you go out on a whim or was this shoot carefully planned in consideration of weather forecasts?
This type of weather chasing is all about watching the weather apps and planning the location and weather direction and then waiting and watching and if all the elements align it’s getting there in time to capture the image. So it doesn’t happen often that the elements align but when they do you need to be ready and know where you are going.
How did you feel when you saw the screen light up with that result?
It was great when the rainbow moved into position over the peaks. I’d been watching the rainbow slowly moving across as the rain approached and set my gear up, ready to capture the image. The rainbow only lasted about 5 minutes on the peaks before the light was blocked by the clouds so I was happy that all the waiting paid off.
Let’s discuss the technicalities –
- Shutterspeed, ISO, aperture, anything else? 1/200th second, ISO 100, f11
- Body and Lens used? Nikon Z6ii and z 70-200mm lens. Captured at 200mm
- Tripod? Leofoto ranger
- Filters? NISI polarizer, to help pop the rainbow colours
- Anything else you consider an essential piece of gear? For this image an umbrella was essential to stop the fine rain from sitting on my filters/lens
Did you edit it the moment you got home, or did you leave it in the photo cellar to mature?
Generally, I leave my images to mature for a few weeks, but with this image I didn’t need to do much editing so I got it out the next day.
Let’s talk about enhancements made in editing
See unedited image below
Do you think this image is one of your all-time top 10 photos?
No, but it is a scene I’ve wanted to capture for a few years now and have been just waiting for the elements to align.
Do you feel you’ve done the location justice and you can move on now?
This is a tricky one to answer, especially with weather elements such as rain and storms as the image is unique and can’t be reproduced again, which means when you shoot the same location again you could have completely unique weather features creating an entirely different look and feel. I love visiting the same locations under different light and weather so to answer the questions I feel I’ve done the location justice for the unique weather conditions I experienced, but I will be visiting the location again in the future.
Any advice for someone wanting to capture an image like this?
The best advice for an image like this is to try plan and know which way the weather is moving so you can get out in front of the storm or rain. Once you are in the rain, generally the light is flat and there is no definition in the clouds so it’s always a good idea to get ahead of the storm. Also with rainbows, they are normally only visible 180 degrees from the sun so make sure you plan your composition accordingly with the sun at your back.
Is this image for sale as a print?Yes, it is. You can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for enquires.
A big thank you to Kyle Goetsch for taking the time to answer our questions and his willingness to share the journey of creation behind the image. Below are the details to all his social media – please give them a like and a follow to show your appreciation. If you’d like to learn from him, check out their workshops and most of all, if you absolutely love this photograph, consider buying a print to support the artists.