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Saturday, 08 March 2014 22:14

The Enchanted Land

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If there is any place on earth that lives up to its nickname, it would definitely be New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. What the eye does not literally see, the mind will surely create. West of Tres Piedras the highway crosses a high dissected mesa in the Kit Carson National Forest before dropping down into the long narrow valley of the Rio Tusas. On the mesa are aspen groves with ethereal, wispy grasses spread throughout. My mind could not accept the grass as sharply defined stems, and so I decided to exacerbate what I "saw" in post-processing with negative clarity; and in so doing created a gauzy, airy feeling which was more in line with my experience. The aspen trunks retained their definition while the grass took on a softness that carried out the enchanted feeling I had. I positioned myself so that I was fairly close to the large trunk on the left, which became my foreground anchor. This trunk then led the eye down the diagonal left-right line through the frame by way of the open right side, encapsulating the grove as it went and providing a way through the image. It is sometimes useful, even for "realists" like me, to help the camera achieve your vision. A moderate telephoto focal length of 168mm gave me the magnification and angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/22 gave me depth  of field. And a shutter speed of 1/6th second at ISO 100 gave me a slightly-lighter-than-medium overall exposure.

Read 20332 times Last modified on Saturday, 12 April 2014 22:18

More in this category: « Light Play at Wiggler Bench


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  • Comment Link Katharine Langenberg Sunday, 13 April 2014 09:38 posted by Katharine Langenberg

    I absolutely love the mood and the texture of your image. It is magical. I look forward to each of your postings. Thanks for sharing your adventures and your photographic knowledge.

  • Comment Link Don McGowan Sunday, 09 March 2014 22:25 posted by Don McGowan

    Hi Everyone. Thank you all for joining me. Nancy T., as I know you know, negative clarity cannot be used on every image, but images do come along that demand to be processed in that way. One common factor that I think I have noticed is that they tend to be hi-key images with elements like grasses or leaves and the brightness and sharpness seem to clash otherwise. I hope the West Tennessee winter is coming to a close. Dorsey, negative clarity can be a very useful tool. The trick is in learning how much to use and when - just practice. I appreciate your comment about the counter-posed lines created by the trunks and limbs and their contrast with the grass. I agree completely; again we find texture at work. This image definitely lands in the category of impressionism more than photographic realism. Deb, gosh I am touched by your kind words. I wish you all the best on your artistic journeys, photographic and otherwise. Thank you for being part of mine. Ah, Pat, I am so glad to hear from you. This is a place we will share before too long. It will be interesting to see how spring changes things. I hope you are doing well.

  • Comment Link Pat  Crutchfield Sunday, 09 March 2014 20:55 posted by Pat Crutchfield

    Hi Don,
    As usual, you've magically captured the beauty of an image in it's grand simplicity. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Deb Allard Sunday, 09 March 2014 12:37 posted by Deb Allard

    Thank you for the grace of your artistic eye and reverence for the natural world so evident in your work. This week's image certainly captured a feeling of NM's enchantment given the various colors and sizes of the aspens while the negative clarity you created within the grasses elude a euphoric 'kind a' feeling. The image brings forth a sense of the mystical hiding amidst defined aspens and fluffy grasses. I've not been to New Mexico but this photo certainly evokes inquiry.

    I am only a casual photographer though I am learning. My dear friend Judy, shared your website with me and I am so thankful for your weekly photographic adventures that so kindly pop into my mailbox each Sunday.

    Your ability to articulate an image in the mind's eye and then use the medium of the camera to paint it inspires me as a quilt artist. The clarity of your teaching style encourages me to play with my high quality point and shoot which allows for changes in shutter speed, aperture and telephoto.

    Like you witnessing a photographic canvas within an image, I see a quilt form within an image and/or text. The explanations you give of your art work mentor my artistic thinking as well as beginning camera skills. Thank you for the work you do to capture the vast and simple beauty of this grand planet and taking time to teach others to do the same.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Sunday, 09 March 2014 11:30 posted by Dorsey Davis

    I love the aspen groves in the western mountain regions. I have never tried negative clarity on any of my images. It is an intriguing idea. I think the verticals of the aspen trunks crossing the diagonals give a nice balance to the composition and add a nice texture contrast to the grasses. Nice shot. I probably liked last weeks image better personally but either one is outstanding.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 09 March 2014 11:28 posted by Nancy Tripp

    I love how you saw these trees and I am glad you used the clarity slider to complete the mood of the scene. It must have been an awesome site. Thanks for sharing the image and details on how you captured it.

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