Random Sights and Diversions

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Week Four – One Four Challenge, January 2015

San Bernardino Mountains IV. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains IV. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

This is the final image in the January 2015 One Four Challenge. In the One Four Challenge, launched and led by Robyn G, we work with a single image of our choosing over the course of four weeks, developing four distinct edits or post-capture interpretations, published on successive (AU) Mondays. This month’s original and all four weekly images are exhibited below.

I was at somewhat of a loss about how to approach this week’s edit. I don’t know how to do better that last week’s color image which I was more than satisfied with. But the main thing here is to experiment, discover, try different styles and methods. I think we ought to be sure that we have a good sense of play in our art. Play leads to a more uninhibited and spontaneous spirit or exploration and discovery. And it’s also fun.

As I played with the image, I found this style emerging. I imagine it in the style of an intaglio or relief print. Some of the textures are simultaneously downplayed and enhanced (like the grass and bushes in the foreground). Some of the details are left out while other details are more prominent (see those bare branches among the lower branches on the tree). There’s something I find captivating about this image. I hope you’ll give me your comments. Thanks.

 

(Recall that I did two versions of the black-and-white image in Week Two.)

Original photo data: Fuji X100. 23 mm. ISO 400. 1/350 sec at f/11.

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Week Three – One Four Challenge, January 2015

San Bernardino Mountains III. One Four Challenge. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains III. One Four Challenge. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

For this week’s One Four Challenge (Week Three, January, 2015), I have gone back to color, starting with the original image again. On first glance, there may be little different from the Week One image. But I felt that the original image, and the Week One edit, lost much of the feeling of sunniness in the scene. I’ve tried to bring in significant sunlight to tis edit. That has also had a significant secondary effect: In the original, and the way I framed the scene when I shot it, the tree was not a main point of interest but more of a framing around the more distant mountain scene. By enhancing the sunlight on the tree, the tree becomes more of the main interest. I don’t know if this is good or bad. I like the results this week, but as always I’m eager for your comments.

For comparison, the original and weeks one and two (both versions):

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Week One – One Four Challenge for January 2015

Happy New Year to all! I hope all have had a restful and satisfying holiday period. It’s a pleasure to start back up with the One Four Challenge in the new year! And many thanks to Robyn for her leadership! In the One Four Challenge, we select one image and then edit/process it in four distinct ways on four successive weeks. This is Week One.

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

This is a scene in the San Bernardino Mountains, in the Angeles National Forest above Los Angeles, California. Shooting data: Fuji X100. 23 mm. ISO 400. 1/350 sec at f/11. The original image is below. There isn’t a great deal of difference in appearance between the original and this first edit, but there’s a lot of processing to get the image cleaned up. Processing included polarization (post-capture) and other exposure and contrast tweaks to try and get rid of the haze over the distant mountains. Color has been intensified overall, and structure and detail has been brought out. DxO was used to create a single image HDR and color balance corrected; then tools in both Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro were used. I like the outcome – Not sure to what to do in coming weeks.

The original image:

San Bernardino Mountains - One Four - Original. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains – One Four – Original. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

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Los Banos

Los Banos. California. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Los Banos. California. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

I’ve worked on this image a number of times. This image is one of several that represent for me a quintessential California landscape. The undulating hills are soft and rugged at the same time.

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Mohave Desert

Mohave Desert 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Mohave Desert 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Continuing in the landscape vein… This image is recently edited and reprocessed to black-and-white from an image in the earlier “Desert Series.” Rather than the bleak and lifeless expanse the desert is often depicted as, I find the high desert to be a scene of uncommon beauty and abundant life. In particular, the desert teems with a spiritual life that speaks of both power and intimacy, depth and meaning. The air – more sharp, crisp, and clear than anywhere else on the planet save the high mountain range – envelopes all in a benevolent life-giving spirit that belies the apparent harshness of the desert environment. This scene in the Mohave Desert is in southeastern California. (Click image for larger.)

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Fog of San Francisco

[vimeo 69445362 w=600]

This beautiful time-lapse video, titled “Adrift“, is by Simon Christen. Christen subtitles it “A love letter to the for of the San Francisco Bay area.”  I used to live in San Jose, in the South Bay, for a number of years. I easily fell in love with San Francisco and the whole Bay Area. Frequently I made the drive back and forth to San Francisco and enjoyed the fog that would flow like a river in the sky over the peninsula hills. The fogs in San Francisco itself were splendid. And this video truly does justice to the Bay Area and its fogs.

I found this video at The Atlantic, here, “Fog, More Beautiful Than You Have Ever Seen It Before.” It was posted on Vimeo where the video has received three-quarter million views in just a week. Simon Christen writes:

“Adrift” is a love letter to the fog of the San Francisco Bay Area. I chased it for over two years to capture the magical interaction between the soft mist, the ridges of the California coast and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. This is where “Adrift” was born.

The weather conditions have to be just right for the fog to glide over the hills and under the bridge. I developed a system for trying to guess when to make the drive out to shoot, which involved checking the weather forecast, satellite images and webcams multiple times a day. For about 2 years, if the weather looked promising, I would set my alarm to 5am, recheck the webcams, and then set off on the 45-minute drive to the Marin Headlands.

I spent many mornings hiking in the dark to only find that the fog was too high, too low, or already gone by the time I got there. Luckily, once in a while the conditions would be perfect and I was able to capture something really special. Adrift is a collection of my favorite shots from these excursions into the ridges of the Marin Headlands.

I hope with my short film I am able to convey the feeling of happiness I felt while I experienced those stunning scenes.

Simon Christen’s website is here, where you will find more timelapse video work as well as stunning travel, landscape, and abstract still photography.

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