OREGON : FINAL VERSION
My troubles with my photographic archives have not caught the attentions of the FBI, but that doesn't relieve the headaches that can ensue during a simple search for an image that I have somehow lost. The fear is that the image is gone, but it's usually just hiding on my computer somewhere, out of sight of Lightroom. The analogy that software engineers use when discussing programs like Lightroom or iTunes, for that matter, are that these database compilations are like the library catalogs where you search for a book that is somewhere on the shelves. Bear with me if you have never seen a library catalog, or searched among the shelves. Let's just say that my photos are not in Lightroom, but hopefully in one photo file on my computer, or more accurately, on one of three auxiliary hard drives that are plugged into the computer. One of Fran's favorite curse words is "dongle", the annoying series of wires that connect these drives to my computer. The trouble is that Lightroom sometimes doesn't remember where the file is, since yours truly has messed up something once again. The converse is that the original file, if you find it, is not enough, since you are really interested in the post-processing you did in Lightroom, which is contained in my Lightroom catalog. Continuing with the library analogy, my organizational skills often lead to a situation where the librarian has lost both the dog-eared card in the library catalog, or has not put the book back on the right shelf, or maybe both.
LOST, AND NOW REDISCOVERED MT. BACHELOR : FINAL B&W VERSION
The result is that I literally have a continually updated list titled "The Missing", which lists the images that I currently have misplaced. The "Missing" are not some random forgettable images, but are often photos that have actually proven themselves in the marketplace. Frustration abounds. Recently I have tried to respond to the current economic conditions by re-emphasizing the position of coasters as central to my marketing efforts, such as they are. Customers are back, but they seem worried. I have returned to the idea that each coaster can trigger a sale, especially as a solo item, so that variety is again more important than concentrating on my best sellers. That single coaster, with an image that appeals to a tiny minority, can turn a complement into an actual transaction. Of course this only works if you can find the bloody image in the first place.
REDISCOVERED TEACHERS FOUNTAIN : FINAL VERSION
My recent forays into the archives have been actually more successful than usual. This past week I did find these two out of seven on my current list. What I would like to tell you about this week are about the half a dozen images that I discovered hiding in-not-so-plain sight during my search. These kinds of discoveries can find some hidden "gems" which I have never even realized that were there.
Sometimes my initial exposure decisions were so out of whack that I passed over an image that had some potential. This Oregon stream, don't ask me where it is, was lost in the forest murk until I raised the exposure a full stop in Lightroom. This is the kind of corrections that are possible if you shoot in RAW, which doesn't touch your original file, but allows you to retroactively rescue an image from yourself.
OREGON STREAM, BEFORE AND AFTER
This next image shows the value of emphasizing the image's original strengths while eliminating superfluous issues. Here the crop tool works to play to the wide angle view I like at the coast, and subtle exposure fiddling emphasizes the incredible light conditions that prompted my interest in the first place.
COAST SUNSET : ORIGINAL
COAST SUNSET, REFINED : FINAL VERSION
Occasionally I discover an image that I wonder why I ignored in the first place. In our search for "the winner" we sometimes overlook an image that deserves some attention. This reflection in a neighboring building is the kind of thing that caused me to put aside my polarizing filter, a landscape photographer's constant companion, once I started to concentrate on architecture and cityscapes. Reflections are just too much fun to try to eliminate - they are often what creates a unique view in the city. I just tweaked the image a little to brighten it up; the black and white version further emphasized the distorted details in the reflection.
REFLECTIONS ON ARCHITECTURE : ORIGINAL, REFINED, AND BLACK AND WHITE
This image of a water tower in Portland required a lot more processing to show it's potential. The vast differences in exposure required multiple graduated filters to both balance the exposure and then tweak it further to bring out the contrast. As usual, black and white allowed for more aggressive manipulation, especially in the sky. The sky had been so boring initially that I had felt that I only could improve the photo by croopin it out.
THREE WATER TOWERS : POLISHING A GEM?
The wreck of the Peter Iredale on the Northern Oregon Coast is a on every landscape photographer's bucket list. As is often the case, the image becomes so ubiquitous as to render your version somewhat superfluous. Here I set out to convert one of my efforts into a striking coaster, cropping to a square, and manipulating the exposure to render the wreck as a silhouette. Finally the black and white conversion makes the image even more graphic, and my Peter Iredale is certainly different, if not better than yours.
MY PETER IREDALE : WORTHY OF YOUR ATTENTION?
And finally we come to an overlooked image that might serve as a postage stamp or in a dictionary to illustrate the term "Oregon." I cropped to my usual square and used multiple graduated filters and some subtle dodging and burning to bring out all the variations of tone on one Oregon hillside.
AN OREGON HILLSIDE : ORIGINAL
OREGON : FINAL VERSION
I hope you've enjoyed this trip through the archives, and I encourage you to try a journey through your own so that you might also find some fine image amongst the murk. Otherwise that gem might be hidden in the warehouse next to the "Ark of the Covenant" at the end of Indiana Jones.