Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Balsamroot at Sunrise

Availability: Limited Edition Print; RM Stock (??)

Previous Gallery Next Gallery

In the Field

Balsamroot at Sunrise. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 7, 2005.

I broke all the rules in shooting this image! I was working with some Tree Swallows at sunrise when the first light of day struck this Arrow-leaved Balsamroot flower. I didn't want to switch lenses or my position for fear of missing getting a shot of the swallows. So...I just turned my longest zoom lens on this flower, opened the aperture wide up, and shot!

Alert - Digitally Manipulated Image: This image clearly crosses the line from simple digital correction to digital manipulation. The soft, dream-like image you are viewing is partially the product of digital manipulation. For details on how this image was produced, see Bio: Techniques (I refer to this technique as the "Wildflower Effect").

It is my policy to clearly identify ANY images on this website that overstep the bounds of digital correction and enter the territory of digital manipulation (see Voice: Commentary: Digital Correction vs. Digital Manipulation).

Behind the Camera

Balsamroot at Sunrise. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 7, 2005.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) format; ISO 100.

Nikon D2X with Nikon 200-400 mm f/4G ED-IF AF-S VR lens @ 400 mm (600 mm equivalent with digital conversion factor) supported on Gitzo 1348 carbon fibre tripod with Wimberley head. VR turned to "On" and in "Normal" mode.

1/320s @ f4; no compensation from matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Balsamroot at Sunrise. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 7, 2005.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF, including first-pass sharpening, exposure compensation, and tone curve adjustment, using Phase One's C1 Pro.

All further digital correction on 16-bit TIFF file using Adobe's Photoshop CS2, including selective Gaussian blur, compositing and blending of blurred and sharp layers, selective saturation enhancement, and selective sharpening for web output.


Balsamroot at Sunrise. Findlay Creek, BC, Canada. May 7, 2005.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to Wildsight.

Species Status in Canada*: This species is not designated as at risk.

Arrow-leaved Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) is a striking flowering plant that is limited in distribution in Canada to open sunny areas of the Rockies. Balsamroot is a spring bloomer and when in bloom in May the flowers can dominate the landscape. Domestic livestock tends to avoid balsamroot, but deer, elk and mountain sheep graze on it. Historically, native peoples of North America used to eat the starchy roots and young shoots.

This specimen of balsamroot was photographed in the Columbia Valley of the East Kootenays. While this species is not currently not considered at risk, like many other species local populations are very vulnerable to habitat loss. Many ecosystems within the Columbia Valley face development pressure, including pressure from logging operations. Wildsight is an effective conservation organization that protects biodiversity and promotes sustainable communities in Canada's Columbia and Rocky Mountains. Support for Wildsight, through donation or becoming a member, will help ensure that they remain effective in their efforts to conserve threatened or endangered species and ecosystems.

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada