Those who know me know I have an incredibly low boredom threshold.  And all of this imposed quarantine due to the virus plus my crippled immune system due to the chemo, has simply pushed me into a near catatonic state of cabin fever.  I’ve cleaned gear, rearranged gear, charged batteries, all to sort of deal with a state of critical image-making withdrawal but not much was working.  Had it not been for the Spring online class someone would find me crawling the walls here.  But as soon as I get the final grades in that will be over.  Uh-oh… now what?

Summer appears to be a bust since our classes were cancelled.  That creates multiple issues for me but mostly it gives me little to relieve the boredom.

But wait…  I still am scheduled to teach the advanced digital class in Fall so this would be a good time to work out how to do that remotely and also add material I’ve learned since the last time I taught it.  And that sent me back through the archives to find some older work I shot but have not done anything with as a means of practicing some new stuff.

I came across this shot.  It was taken in 2010 on a fieldtrip to The Alabama Hills.  It is a shot of sunset along Tuttle Creek looking back to Mt. Whitney.  It was taken with a Canon 1Ds MKII (18 mp) and a Hasselblad Zeiss 150mm lens adapted to the Canon.  I’ve always loved the snap and color of those magnificent Zeiss lenses even though they must be used in complete manual mode with the adapter.

Sunset, Tuttle Creek Corral 2010

This file is the initial conversion from Canon RAW format.  I thought it had some potential but for some reason set it aside and haven’t seen it until a day or two ago rustling through old archived folders.  Maybe I just wasn’t sure what to do with it, and sometimes it takes some time to set a shot aside then return with fresh eyes.  But this time, I knew exactly what I wanted it to look like and between then and now picked up on some techniques I thought would help get to that point.

I had purposefully shot it fairly flat so that I kept needed details in all of the tonal areas, but now I wanted a much more dramatic finished piece to try to match the drama in the sky and ridgelines of the scene.   THe original was a start but did not really convey the emotional response I had standing there.  I had loved the way sun streaks highlighted the grasses and bushes along the old corral so that is what I pushed for.  And it gave me the chance to practice a few approaches for the new class.

So here is my final version

Sunset, Tuttle Creek Corral 2010

I don’t often use adjustment layers but this time, since I was experimenting, I used them extensively along with layer masking, luminosity masking, gradient mapping, LUTs (Look Up Tables), and various blend modes, not to mention some burning and dodging.  It was a fun exercise for me.

Now to turn all of this into lesson plans…

I really want to make the Photo 243 Advanced Digital Class a good one where we can explore a host of advanced digital shooting approaches along with some advanced editing techniques.  Those who have followed me know I believe ART is about interpretation not narration.  One of the reasons I gravitated to digital in the first place was the expansion of artistic options.  And it just keeps getting better.

Now it makes me want to go back through some other archives to see what I might be able to make better.  And I can hardly wait to get back to Alabama Hills!



About ndking

Commercial Photographer and Professor of Photography at San Diego City College
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2 Responses to BORED

  1. gene wild says:

    Like it a lot…if it were mine I would probably get rid of some of the foreground…maybe even go to a square crop but that is just me.
    I have been going through old shots also but haven\’t found much that has caught my interest…still it is something .

  2. ndking says:

    I think those are good comments. I’ve always liked the square format from back in the medium format days — I love shooting record jackets that were square. I had such a strong set of leading lines coming back and forth through the bushes I left it but will certainly now go back and take another look at it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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