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New Life List: Shoot a Wall-Worthy Photo

The only thing equal to a life-list trip? An image that brings it back to life.

Key Skill: Scouting Your Shot
You’ll need planning for the best framing, light, and timing. Here’s how to nail the perfect alpine shot:

» Find a high spot that overlooks a canyon or valley and has a dramatic backdrop, like a peak or waterfall. In the Tetons, for example, one perfect perch is 10,700-foot Paintbrush Divide, with North Fork Canyon and Lake Solitude below and the Grand Teton looming above. In the early morning (for the best light), position yourself at that spot, with a hiking partner just below; have him walk up the trail toward you but at a distance of 25 to 40 feet.

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Frame the picture vertically, with your partner in the bottom right or left quadrant, and the canyon walls or another feature framing the sides. Zoom in to make the backdrop appear larger, but keep your partner far enough away—so he looks small, to convey a sense of scale.

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Take several shots, manually adjusting the exposure until the sky is a vivid blue and your subject not too dark.

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