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Photo Information
Copyright: Don Eason (naturalverities) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 12 W: 5 N: 37] (246)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2002-05
Categories: Nature
Camera: Graflex Century Graphic 2x3, Schneider 65mm F8 Super Angulon, Fuji NPH 400
Details: Tripod: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-12-02 20:27
Viewed: 1519
Points: 2
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Ancient cottonwood trees hang onto life on a sunbaked and overgrazed bench (terrace) in Moki Canyon. This shot took two days to make, in a manner of speaking. The trees were quite close to my campsite and I had decided one afternoon that I wanted to take their portrait, even working out the composition ahead of time, but the light was just not right. I should explain that behind this camera position (to the west) there is a massive curving wall of golden sandstone 50 meters or more high, and I knew that there would be a time in the early morning when the wall would be directly sunlit, creating a gigantic gold diffuse reflector, but the trees and BG would remain in shadow vis-a-vis direct sunlight. I awoke early the next morning to catch this lighting condition, but the sun was obscured behind a cloudbank so I "scrubbed" the mission for that day. The following morning I tried again and this time the light did just what I wanted and expected it to.

The low-contrast wedding and portrait film I was experimenting with captured the full dynamic range with no difficulty, but the resulting scan has a flat, drab FG if I hold the sky values to a realistic lightness. So after denoising in Neat Image I had to resort to fairly drastic PP in Corel PhotoPaint to get the FG properly illuminated. Fortunately, there is a distinct tonal separation between the FG and sky, and the sky is of a uniform blue-cyan hue, so I created a B&W mask from the blue channel and increased its contrast dramatically with a linear tone curve adjustment so that the sky was white and all other areas black, with a sharp gradient between. Then I inverted the mask so that the sky was black and the FG white, and placed it over the image. At that point I was able to stretch the lightness of the FG upward in the histogram to increase both illumination and contrast of the FG while not affecting the sky. I left the mask in place for sharpening also, so the grain in the sky was not accentuated. I also adjusted R,G,and B levels separately to clean up some color shifts. I'm quite pleased with the result, and I hope you like it too!

Thanks in advance for any comment and critiques.

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To Texan: Thanks!naturalverities 2 12-04 11:53
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Texan Gold Star Critiquer [C: 543 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2006-12-03 18:37]
  • [+]

Stunning simple bold statement nice use of light. Challenging to the eye powerful a bit in your face. Sadly underrated!

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