Pinnacle Mountain State Park is located just northwest Little Rock, Arkansas. The park derives its name from Pinnacle Mountain, a 1,011-foot high cone-shaped peak that resides within the park’s boundaries. Pinnacle Mountain, which is part of the Ouachita Mountain range, was the first such shaped peak to be seen by early travelers as they journeyed west from eastern Arkansas.
I took this shot early one morning a couple of weeks ago. Because it is so close to my home, I have photographed the mountain many times. Unfortunately, I have always been somewhat disappointed with the results because I could only find good views from the mountain’s west side, and images I got were so similar to so many others I had seen. I have wanted to photograph the mountain from the east side for a long time, but I could just never find a suitable location. So, I pulled up Google Maps to see if I could find a good spot on the east side, and that’s when I found this small fishing pond. It is on park property and is only a short walk from the main road. There are often people fishing and picnicking here, but, at 5:45 in the morning, I was the only one enjoying the early solitude.
The skies were predicted to be clear that morning, so I was expecting the mountain to be bathed with nice golden lighting as the sun rose above the horizon. However, despite the prediction, the morning sky turned out to be rather cloudy. But, the clouds actually made capturing this image much easier since I did not have the extreme contrast I would have had if the sky had been clear. The clouds also kept the color temperature cooler which meant the picture would have a lot of blue tones in it that created, to me, a more peaceful and serene mood.
Once I got home, I opened the file in Lightroom and did some basic processing adjustments to contrast, clarity, saturation, and a number of other settings. I then opened the image in Photoshop and cloned out a number of distracting items, such as trash that was lying on the ground because someone had been too lazy to walk a few feet to a large trashcan. I also applied the tonal contrast filter in Nik’s Color Efex 4 to further bring out the various tones in the photograph.
But, I still wasn’t quite satisfied. Something still seemed to be missing, but what was it? I sat and looked at the picture for a few minutes before I finally realized what it needed. This image looked more like a scene you might find in the early fall when the temperatures are cooler, but the leaves haven’t started to change their colors. In that situation, it is not unusual to have a light fog form, especially around a body of water, like a pond. So, I again opened up Color Efex 4, applied a graduated fog filter and made some adjustments to the settings to get just the slightest hint of fog. I then used the brush tool to eliminate the fog from the foreground of the frame so it would appear the fog was just wafting through the trees that were in the background.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 32mm, 20 sec, f/22