Monday, April 30, 2007

Processing an Image

The process required to bring a single image to completion is often lengthy. After a good day's shoot, often between 200 and 400 images, I look forward to reviewing the catch. That may take a full evening. Until I can see them on my computer monitor, I'm not sure what I have. Even then, my mind may not be made up, but if I'm lucky one or two images will jump out as keepers. Sometimes these need little more than tweaking, scrubbing the inevitable spots, the result of gunk that is always attracted to the ccd of my camera, a bit of sharpening, an adjustment of levels or a balancing of highlights and shadows. However, some images need time to settle in, for me to make up my mind, and often images take much work in Photoshop before they look the way I want.

This photo was taken at Kallstrom Farm during our one big blizzard this winter. At that time I was preoccupied with another image from the set. That shot has already appeared on the blog. I wasn't sure how I felt about this dark dance. When I finally went back and decided to finish it there was much to be done. Balancing tones to bring out the storm was tricky and of prime importance. The screen image was not quite the same as the printed image, and each printing gets a new letter designation. There was also a white rain gutter that glared in the gloom and had to be removed. By the time I had a print I liked, I was on version "c." Last week I gave a print to Brent Kallstrom, and he wisely wondered if the large stake in the center of the image might be removed. Rather than remove it, I have lowered it; I like the pattern of the wire fence that keeps us from entering the image, but I'd missed how distracting the stake supporting it was. It has been significantly lowered. Not counting the time spent shooting and identifying the image, there is at least 3 or 4 hours of process time in this, and the storm has long been history.

Images from new farms recently shot have been in process for several weeks. I will have to shoot more at each site and process some of those before I know which are ready for "Today's" and the blog. While I ponder those and wait for more good sky or sunshine or moody fog to make the landscape photogenic is a good time to finish up and publish images that have grown on me with time. This image is now ready.

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