Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, April 13, 2012

April Showers, Peter's Valley, 2010




PHOTOGRAPHER'S JOURNAL - Does it communicate? I took this photograph on April 17, in 2010, a bit over two years ago. The barn is in Peter's Valley near the Delaware River in New Jersey. I was attending an annual photographer's retreat. I posted other photos from Peter's Valley intermittently in 2010 from May through June . One last shot appeared in July,  

If other photographers are anything like me, this photo illustrates the uneasy relationship we sometimes have with what we have shot, or am I alone in this?  Reviewing shots the day of a shoot or even the day after is almost always a disappointment. I like to get at least a week out before I comb for keepers and for shots I want to add to this blog. That's a good time to start reviewing and marking images I may want to process. While reviewing "the contacts," I resist the urge to stop, but sometimes I'm stopped by an image that calls to be processed now. 

However, it was months later when this photo called, "stop!" I thought I was done with Peter's Valley/2010 shots. It was not much to look at unprocessed, a difficult photo situation, and I prepared myself for an HDR, but after much tugging on tonalities and texture, I liked what I had and put it in a folder I keep for images I may use, and there it has sat, and it continues to draw my eye, but it's one of those images about which I wonder, does anyone else see it as I see it? Does it communicate the things I've come to enjoy in it?

What have I learned about processing in 18 months?  Perhaps to be more careful about red/cyan fringing, a sometimes unavoidable issue of lenses and light. In any case, the processing I had done was not acceptable to me. As red/cyan fringing must be handled at the point of converting RAW files into a working format, the task of reprocessing sent me deep into my archives and faced me with a mystery. 

I can't recall ever trying to duplicate a particular finish before, but I took that as my goal. The processing had not been simple. My collection of tools & techniques has changed in the intervening time. I've managed to achieve the same tonalities and look of the earlier image, the fringing is gone, and the sky behind the trees is superior here.  I'm still not sure if the first final image had been warped into its finished design or if it was a melding of two different originals. Enough to say I am unable to recreate its exact contours, and in that respect this image is different.

I have just discovered other photos from the Peter's Valley shoots that I think worth processing, and the anniversary of that shoot seems an apt time, and an opportunity to revisit from farther off.