Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

By

Ghost Ranch Country IV. One Four Challenge December Week Four

Ghost Ranch Country IV, New Mexico. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Ghost Ranch Country IV, New Mexico. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Here is my final image for December’s One Four Challenge. In the One Four Challenge (Initiated by Robyn G), we choose one image and do four different process edits in four successive weeks. This is the last week of the December cycle.

Starting with the original image, this week’s edit is cropped sharply to a panoramic view (which we’ve decided works best for this image). (Click image for larger – Looks Better.) All of the editing this week is done in Nik Silver Efex Pro, including a few exposure adjustments, the vignetting, and toning. The final image replicates an early film style. The style seeks to emulate the pictorialist style of the early 20th Century Photo Secessionists. (I’ve recently done a series of images in this style.)

Besides giving the scene a kind of “old west” feel, this treatment completely alters all the relationships in the image. No longer are the cliffs the main (or only) point of interest (it seems to me); now the overall fields, the road and the fenceposts converging, make up the main theme.

Love this One Four Challenge! – Great fun!  Here are the original image and all four edits for December. Tell me what you think. Comments definitely welcome!

By

Ghost Ranch Country IIIb. One Four Challenge December Week Three

It’s still week three of the One Four Challenge for December. Several people have made very welcome and apt observations about the image framing and the horizon line, and about the sky and it’s relationship to the rest of the image. I agree with all. I love getting feedback! I’ve continued playing with the image, and so here I post an updated version. Speaking for myself, this one is much better.

Ghost Ranch Country IIIb, New Mexico. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

Ghost Ranch Country IIIb, New Mexico. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

By

Ghost Ranch Country III. One Four Challenge December Week Three

Ghost Ranch Country III. One Four Challenge December Week Three. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

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

Here is my Week Three version of the December image, Ghost Ranch Country, New Mexico. I have used this particular combination of filters before – though not often – to produce a dark, moody, stormy appearance. I don’t think there is anything especially creative about it, but it’s a different look. I do think it brings out the textures of the land and the brush quite a bit differently. It’s moody in the extreme.

In the One Four Challenge, led by Robyn G, we select an image and then process it  in four distinct ways on successive weeks. This is week three of the December cycle. Here are the original and weeks one and two.

Added: Several suggested a crop that shaved some off the sky so as to put the cliffs more at main focal point of interest in the image. Here’s a recrop to do that, just a little:

Ghost Ranch Cuntry IIIa. Recropped.

Ghost Ranch Country IIIa. Recropped.

By

Ghost Ranch Country II. One Four Challenge December Week Two

Ghost Ranch Country II. One Four Challenge December Week Two. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

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

Ghost Ranch Country - One Four - Orig

Original Image

This is week two of the December One Four Challenge. Click the thumbnails for the original image and last week’s image; see last week’s post for the camera data and information about the scene in New Mexico. (In the One Four Challenge, initiated by Robyn G, we use one selected image for editing and processing four distinct ways on four successive weeks.)

Ghost Ranch Country - One Four - 1

Week One

What I tried to do and what I did differently here:  I wanted a black and white image, and I knew I was going to want it to be very sharp. So, starting with Raw, I again did the raw conversion in DxO Optics Pro. However, this time, I also tweaked the exposure and sharpness quite a bit in DxO Optics. Also, DxO offers a choice of noise reduction algorithms; I used the most extreme, Prime, which they tout as one of the most effective noise reduction algorithms available. I also did the conversion to black and white in DxO before returning to Lightroom; usually, I don’t do black and white conversion until I get to Nik Silver Efex Pro.

Then back to Lightroom. I wanted to include more of the foreground and still retain this horizontal aspect ratio. In order to get the necessary balance and the location of the horizon, that required careful cropping and shifting the image around somewhat. This was all the processing that I did in Lightroom.

Then I used Nik Silver Efex Pro for further sharpening, increased dynamic range, and pushed contrast. Then I switched to Nik Color Efex Pro, which is usually used for color work, although it can of course be used on black and white images though I rarely do so. In Color Efex, I added a digital neutral density filter to darken and enrich the texture of the sky. I added a thin black border.

I like the results but am eager for feedback. Thanks.


 

Added: The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe is mounting an exhibition of O’Keeffe’s paintings of the area around the Ghost Ranch. See this post.

By

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.

By

New Mexico Landscape

New Mexico Landscape. New Mexico 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

New Mexico Landscape. New Mexico 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason 2014.

For a complete change of pace… This New Mexico scene is one shot a few years ago and which I’ve just edited and reprocessed to black-and-white. The location is somewhat east of north central New Mexico. I think this captures several elements that seem quintessentially part of the New Mexican landscape. As well, the image depicts a certain slice of modern America in the relatively poor homesteads pictured. (Click image above for larger.)

%d bloggers like this: