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One Four Challenge – December – Week One

Ghost Ranch Country, New Mexico. One Four Challenge December. Week 1. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Ghost Ranch Country, New Mexico. One Four Challenge December. Week 1. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

This is Week One of the December One Four Challenge. The One Four Challenge was originated by Robyn G. The idea is to start by selecting an image and then in successive weeks editing and post-processing the image in four distinctive ways. The image above is my first edit.

For this round of the One Four exercise, I’ve gone back into the archives and pulled out an image shot a couple of years ago (2012) in New Mexico. This scene is near the famous “Ghost Ranch” near Abiquiu, NM. For many years, the Ghost Ranch was the home of the celebrated and much loved American painter, Georgia O’Keeffe. This image, or variations of it (I have shot a lot in this area on multiple trips to New Mexico), has appeared before. But I’ve gone back to the raw, and I intend to start over with all new interpretations.

Editing and processing applied (roughly in order):

  • DxO Optics Pro 10: Raw conversion; noise reduction; camera/lens correction.
  • Lightroom: Exposure corrections; contrast increased; saturation, vibrance, and clarity increased. Cropped.
  • Nik Color Efex Pro 4: Polarization filter; contrast further tweaked; detail enhanced; colors “warmed.”
  • Lightroom: Slight vignette.
  • Nik Dfine 2: Noise reduction.

Here is the original. This has been processed from the Raw by DxO Optics Pro. No other tweaking except basic raw conversion has been performed (aside from touching up a few spots left by dust on the sensor). It’s very plain.

Ghost Ranch Country. Original. Raw conversion only. Nikon D200. 38 mm on 17-55 mm f/2.8 Nikkor. ISO 800. 1/1000 sec at f/16. New Mexico 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Ghost Ranch Country. Original. Raw conversion only. Nikon D200. 38 mm on 17-55 mm f/2.8 Nikkor. ISO 800. 1/1000 sec at f/16. New Mexico 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

The Ghost Ranch and the surrounding country is one of, in my opinion, the loveliest areas in America’s southwest. The rich deep colors of the land, and the incredible warmth and clarity of the light, make it an amazing area for artists. I love photographing in this area.

The Ghost Ranch story us most interesting. Following is from the Ghost Ranch website (Ghost Ranch today is a conference and retreat center):

Dinosaurs once walked the soggy wetlands that became the arid high desert of Ghost Ranch. Millions of years later Navajos and various other tribes roamed the valley. The Spaniards settled here and then came the cattle rustlers, the wranglers and the dudes….

When the cattle rustlers were hiding their stolen goods in the box canyon alongside Kitchen Mesa, they discouraged their neighbors from looking around by spreading the rumor that the land was haunted by evil spirits. “Rancho de los Brujos” it was called, “Ranch of the Witches,” which naturally evolved into Ghost Ranch. The turn-off to Ghost Ranch was marked by an animal skull long before Arthur Pack bought the ranch in 1936. When Georgia O’Keeffe came looking for the Ranch she was told to watch for the skull on a fence post. O’Keeffe made a drawing of an ox skull and gave it to Arthur Pack; he promptly adopted the artwork as the logo for Ghost Ranch.

Georgia O’Keeffe began visiting Taos NM in 1929. In 1934, she first visited the nearby Ranch and began spending summers there. She purchased the Ghost Ranch and surrounding land in 1940. It became her full-time home in 1949, and she lived there until her death in 1986. One of the major American painters of the Twentieth Century, O’Keeffe was married to the photographer, Alfred Steiglitz.


20 Responses to One Four Challenge – December – Week One

  1. coolquilting says:

    wow- gorgeous processing!

  2. svtakeiteasy says:

    Wow, such a warm, rich, sun drenched image – especially compared with the untouched and – forgive me for saying this – dull original! Really enjoyed reading the story too. Chris

    • Joanne says:

      Thanks for your comment! Glad you like it. Yes, the original is pretty dull – I don’t mind. I think it’s an example how post-capture processing is important in bringing an image out. And even dull originals may have good images hidden within. This is also an example of the significance of shooting Raw. I deliberately did not let the raw conversion do anything to “fix” the image so as to start with the plainest original. If you’d let the camera produce a jpeg instead of a raw, it would have automatically fixed up the color, exposure, etc (to a degree). Thanks.

  3. nice job,i really like how the richness has been brought out in the colors.

  4. Robyn G says:

    Yes this is gorgeous! The processing tells the story in this image of such a gorgeous place!
    I love Georgia O’Keefe’s work – she is a favourite of mine.
    Thanks for sharing the history – I really enjoyed reading about the place.
    I also said this to Michelle with her image – the edits and colours bring your image to life.
    A fantastic start to round 2 Joanne 🙂

  5. The processing is really nice and vibrant compared to the original. The one thing I prefer in the original is the deeper foreground.

    • Joanne says:

      Yep, I’m inclined to agree. It’s cropped drastically. I wanted the long format, and I wanted the horizon below center. But the deep foreground in the original is important and gives much more depth. Have to include that in another round. Thanks!

  6. suej says:

    Love the rich colours in this version, really makes the image ‘sing’ compared to the original! Interesting story, too. 😀

  7. lensaddiction says:

    Are the colours really that intense in real life? It looks very orange on the cliffs and quite yellow on the grasses 🙂

    I like the original composition with a bit more foreground personally, this weeks version feels like it has a bit much sky maybe?

    It looks like a wonderful place to take a camera tho!

    • Joanne says:

      See my reply to Ben Rowe – I agree that losing the foreground to an extreme cropping the pic loses something. I wanted more sky and less foreground but agree that the foreground is missed and I have to get it back in a subsequent edit. With the sun during evening “magic hour” the colors are intense, maybe not quite so much as in the image. But I like to produce what I think I see in my mind’s eye, or what I’d like to see (or want the viewer to see) rather that literally what the scene is “really” like. The grass does “glow.” Thanks for your comment.

  8. Wow, your post-processing choices work well. I actually like the way you cropped the image.

  9. Nic says:

    Wow the colors are so vivid and bright, really brings out the details in the red rocks. I also love how you cropped it to be more panoramic.

    • Joanne says:

      Thanks for your comments! While I tend to agree with others who missed the foreground which was cropped out, I do love panoramic shots and I like this aspect ratio a lot in landscapes. I’m trying to achieve happy medium next time around. Thanks!

  10. Pingback: Ghost Ranch Country II. One Four Challenge December Week Two | Random Sights and Diversions

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