Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Yukon Space, Yukon Light

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In the Field

Yukon Space, Yukon Light. Haines Pass, southeast Yukon Territory, Canada. November 26, 2017.

If you like wide open spaces and long hours of phenomenal golden light there's few better places to go than Canada's Yukon Territory in late autumn, winter, or early spring! While there's no doubt that going north at this time of year means you'll hit pretty cold weather. But, it also means that the sun never gets too far above the horizon which, in turn, means that you have the golden light of sunrise or sunset pretty much the entire time the sun is above the horizon (which was for around 6 hours in late November when this image was captured). So you don't have have long hours of daylight, but the quality of light is phenomenal for a huge chunk of those daylight hours. Works for me!

I captured this image using a Nikon D850 and Sigma's "new-ish" (at the time of this writing) 24-70mm f2.8 OS Art lens...which leads me to a few comments about them. While many pundits are raving about the D850 as a wildlife camera, I am most impressed with its attributes as a landscape camera. Shoot it at low ISO's (meaning about ISO 400 and below), with the right lenses, and with almost medium-format-like discipline and the quality of the output can be remarkable. Think crazy detail combined with crazy dynamic range (and great colour). But, on the other hand, I personally don't find the D850 to be a particularly "forgiving" camera - if you jack up the ISO, use less-than-stellar lenses, and sloppy technique and the camera will produce very so-so results. After shooting over 25,000 images with the D850 (under a huge variety of conditions) I have taken to thinking of it as the "camera of truth"! ;-)

What about the new Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art zoom lens? Well...after shooting a few thousand images with it I have learned a few things about how it performs in the field. First, if you're using it to shoot landscapes you can rest assured it has really good edge-to-edge sharpness at virtually all apertures you'd consider shooting landscapes at (by f4 the edges look good even when shot with the demanding D850). My own experience is that it has even slightly better edge sharpness than even Nikon's 24-70mm f2.8E VR. Second, between its relatively small size (especially compared to the Nikkor), very capable OS stabilization system, and its bomb-proof "can handle anything nature can throw at it" build quality I find myself "gravitating" toward taking it into the field whenever I think l may come across compelling landscape opportunities. Which, at least for me, is why I bought the lens in the first place!

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this mid-afternoon sunset shot for your perusal:

Yukon Space, Yukon Light: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.0 MB)


1. This image was captured during my "Kluane-Haines Explorer" Instructional photo tour in late autumn of 2017. Each year I offer trips into two different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well as one to photograph marine mammals and oceanscapes near the northern tip of Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as Dall Sheep, Bald Eagles, and more. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

2. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

3. Like all wildlife photographs on this website, this image was captured following the strict ethical guidelines described in The Wildlife FIRST! Principles of Photographer Conduct. I encourage all wildlife photographers to always put the welfare of their subjects above the value of their photographs.

Behind the Camera

Yukon Space, Yukon Light. Haines Pass, southeast Yukon Territory, Canada. November 26, 2017.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 250.

Nikon D850 paired with Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 OS Art. Hand-held with OS on.

1/250s @ f9; no compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Yukon Space, Yukon Light. Haines Pass, southeast Yukon Territory, Canada. November 26, 2017.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF using Phase One's Capture One Pro 11. Two raw variants (different versions of a single raw capture) processed, with the variants differing in highlight retrieval and clarity settings.

Further digital correction on resulting 16-bit TIFF files using Adobe's Photoshop CC 2018. Photoshop adjustments included compositing (blending) of the two output files from the raw converter, selective minor contrast tweaks (via two selective curves adjustments), selective colour desaturation, and final selective sharpening for web output.


Yukon Space, Yukon Light. Haines Pass, southeast Yukon Territory, Canada. November 26, 2017.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to The Raincoast Conservation Foundation.

The Raincoast Conservation Society (and Foundation) is an effective and efficient organization that has been fighting for protection of this unique habitat. If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the conservation of this amazing ecosystem, Raincoast will provide maximal "bang" for your conservation dollars.