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Serendipitous Scenes


Brandon Olmscheid hits the road to capture landscape and nature photos with his Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 and SP 70-200mm F/2.8 VC G2 lenses.


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By Jenn Gidman
Images by Brandon Olmscheid


When Brandon Olmscheid is out taking pictures, how and where he's going to sell his work isn't what's on his mind. Instead, the Minnesota travel, brand, and commercial photographer is just focusing on what's in front of his lens. "I have a passion for travel, which has found its way into my work, so I don't take photos just in Minnesota," he says. "I'm constantly going on roadtrips, and when I'm creating, I'm simply enjoying being outdoors. Many of my images are unplanned, too—I'll stumble upon a spot and just get to work."

When he's out and about in nature, Brandon taps into the Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 VC G2 lens, especially when he's shooting wildlife and needs a bit more range. But the lens that's on his camera for the vast majority of his outdoor photography is the Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 VC G2 lens. "I love the versatility and tonality I get with the 24-70, and because I shoot mostly handheld, the Vibration Compensation (VC) feature is really important to ensure my images stay sharp, especially when I'm shooting in lower-light situations," he says.

While he takes pictures around the clock, Brandon's favorite time of day to don his photo gear is before most people have crawled out of bed. "Nothing is better than waking up when it's dark and being able to capture the sun coming up," he says. "The light it casts is amazing; it's a magical time to be shooting. I love sunsets for that same reason."

Brandon dives into post-processing with the goal of keeping his images authentic. "I don't use Photoshop too much because it's not my style," he says. "I like to keep my pictures natural looking—nothing that seems fake. That's why I may take up to an hour or two on each photo, because I'll take my time to make those subtle edits, making the colors really pop."

Read more on how Brandon used these two Tamron lenses to capture these seven nature and landscape photos during his travels around North America.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (40mm), F/4, 1/400th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

I wasn't expecting to see a goat during our hike at Hidden Lake in Montana's Glacier National Park. But we got up to the top of this one section and there was a whole pack of them hanging out. Then this one goat slowly pulled away from the rest and casually walked over to that rock, perfectly in position for this photo. I was speechless—I couldn't have planned it any better, with the mountains in the background like that. Many people see this image and think I added the goat in using Photoshop. But nope, it was just a lucky moment that I was able to quickly capture with my 24-70.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (52mm), F/5, 1/200th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

This is Mount Storm King in Olympic National Park in Washington. Three of my friends and I took a roadtrip there from Minnesota, and this was one of our very first sunrise hikes. The mixture of clouds and fog that morning was incredible. I was about 30 yards away from my friend, who was standing on the edge of that rather scary ledge. I don't usually go for shots like this, because I always try to be as safe as possible, but he was extra careful climbing up there. I repositioned where I was standing a bit so I could center him in the frame as much as possible.

I was really lucky to get that shot.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (24mm), F/2.8, 1/640th sec., ISO 160
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After my buddies and I got to the top of that same mountain, another couple arrived about 10 minutes later. They were locals, and they told us how you could just stick your hand out and a bird would land on it. You're not supposed to feed them (and we didn't have any food anyway), but we stuck our hands out, and sure enough, they swooped down onto our hands. I captured this photo of the bird on my own, holding the camera with my other hand. It was wild.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (24mm), F/4, 1/160th sec., ISO 200
Click image to view larger

This mountain reflection was taken in Grand Teton National Park. It was the last spot we drove to before we headed up to Canada. It was very cloudy that day, but when we were leaving the park, we suddenly started to see some color. We pulled off to the side of the road and hiked in a little ways, where we discovered this pond with that perfect reflection. There were some ducks in the water when we first arrived, and they were messing with the reflection a bit, but I waited about 10 or 15 minutes until they swam away. Then the water settled down so I could take the photo.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (24mm), F/4, 1/250th sec., ISO 200
Click image to view larger

This is Peyto Lake, in Banff National Park in Alberta. It was my first time visiting Canada, so there were a couple of "must-see" spots we wanted to hit and take photos of, including here. I took this photo during sunset, but there wasn't much of a sunset to speak of. Again, it was really cloudy. Still, the water was a stunning blue, and I was able to capture that very cool reflection of the mountains and sky. My girlfriend had just wrapped herself in that blanket and walked to the edge; I love the complementary blue in the blanket, as well as that contrasting red.

© Brandon Olmscheid
70-200 (200mm), F/4, 1/2500th sec., ISO 100
Click image to view larger

This shot of the sand dunes with the mountains in the background was taken in Death Valley National Park in July. So yes, it was super-hot—probably about 105 degrees. There was a sign there telling visitors not to go out on the sand after 10 a.m. because it just became too scorching. When I saw that person out on the dunes, part of me wanted to head out there, too, but I was worried I might faint during the walk. Instead I composed this shot with that nice break between the dunes and the mountains, zooming all the way in to 200mm. That person on the dunes offered a real sense of scale.

© Brandon Olmscheid
24-70mm (24mm), F/2.8, 1/800th sec., ISO 800
Click image to view larger

In Newport Beach, there's a spot called the Wedge, which is a hot spot for surfing and sunsets. I captured the latter here, with my girlfriend hanging out in the water. This was the craziest sunset I've ever seen, with various colors coming into play. And if you turned 180 degrees another way, you'd see a new set of all different colors. I really did very little in post-processing—what you see here are basically the colors I saw. I didn't have a water housing on my camera, so I took a bit of a risk, because I had to wade into the water waist-deep to get this shot. It was worth it, though. I appreciate every day, but a sunset like that just makes me appreciate everything a little more.

To see more of Brandon Olmscheid's work, go to www.brandonolmscheid.com.



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