Alaska Revisited, Part 10

· Reading Time: 6 minutes

Welcome back to my little journey through my Alaska RAW files from May of 2008.  In preparation for the move that is currently underway I had started to clean out closets at the old home and came across the box that stored all of my old originals from about 2005 until 2008.  Most of those are nothing special at all, but two of the disks contained about 90 RAW images from my Alaska trip twelve years ago.  In the days leading up to closing I went through these files to see if I could manage any new edits that made a difference.  I didn’t have much question in my mind when I thought that to myself because when I first edited these images, I only had about six months worth of experience with Photoshop and I was not good at it on any level.  I’m still not, but I have started using Lightroom which I am very comfortable with and have come a long way in my abilities in the four years that I have been using it.  It was going to be a fun little project for me to keep me from going crazy waiting for the two month process of painting and minor repairs on the new house.

Something that I have found out from looking at the images that I have from the trip, the vast majority of the 90 images that I decided that I liked came from a single day and situation.  The featured image today is one of those from May 16, 2008 when I took a day cruise from Seward Harbor into Resurrection Bay.  On this excursion, I used a single lens, no filters, and hand held everything I shot.  It was very much unlike my typical approach to photography and one that I have avoided in the years since.  However, after looking at some of these images I can’t help but see that they are technically as good as anything that I had shot on a tripod.  The compositions are possibly not as strong as I would have liked, but that was more due to the constant motion and not being able to fine tune a composition.  It was more of a gut reaction to the scenes that I was seeing unfolding with a quick snap of the shutter button.  It does make me feel good that I have quite a few compositions here that I think are still viable twelve years later after a lot more thought has been put into learning compositional ideas.

Arctic Landscape“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L

There have been a handful of images presented thus far that are replacing existing images in this gallery.  The image that I am sharing today will be among those.  The original presentation of the image appears above.  It has had an interesting life over the years.  It started out being a part of my website as it was in 2008 where it stayed for a while.  At some point over the years it dropped off of the gallery for a reason that I am sure had to do with the overall blue tone of the image.  With the bright sun that day and all of that snow, there was no way around getting a very blue image with just about everything that I shot.  When I started to look at a gallery room that all shared the same color tones, all of the images started to become very boring in time.  This one, of what I seem to recall as being Aialik Glacier was shot as we were leaving the area.  The clouds were clearing and there was a large expanse of blue sky at the top of the frame.  That diluted the drama visually for me in this one, but there was a lot to really like here.  I think between the sky and my growing dislike for all of the blue that was present in the images that I had this one got cut.  However, when my current website was being built, I needed to pull some images together to add to the gallery.  I took that as an opportunity to freshen up what I had.  This image again struck a note with me and I got the image prepped for upload once again.  It has been in this gallery since its inception at the end of 2018.

The same problems remain with it though.  The blue tones just have to go, and I needed a way to have the sky add to the photo instead of washing out like it did.  By this point, I had a couple of different options that I could do with it, but I felt that my best option was to do a black and white conversion.  There really wasn’t much going on with the colors here, even by changing the color temperature.  At best, I would get blue and white with the black shadowed areas.  It just didn’t have the drama that I was going for in color.  black and white was going to be my best shot at breathing new life into this one.

Layered Slopes“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L, No filters, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

One of the first things that I wanted to do was to apply a slight crop to the image.  Back in 2008, I was absolutely against cropping an image because I was scared to death to lose pixels.  I still don’t like it, and I’m not really fond of ditching pixels from a 40D image that is already lower resolution than my current 5D Mk3.  However, there have been great advancements in doing enlargements and I am less worried about the effect of resolution than I was.  A simple crop here to a 16:9 format did a couple of things to benefit the image right out of the gate.  First, it minimized the sky so the few clouds made more of an impact.  It also reduced the relative size of the water below so it didn’t have quite as much weight to it.  The more panoramic look of the scene suits the way the mountains looked and gave a much more pleasing position to the actual glacier on the left side.  It now balances very well with the snow that is cradled to the right.  The distant mountain is now much more prominent as well.

The conversion to black and white was a simple one and I just had to adjust some of the tones to add depth to the image.  The sky was darkened, but not as much as I had done in others.  The lighting called for more detail in the sky and I tried to keep it roughly even with the water below.  The end result with the composition and the lack of color has created a much more direct image with quite a bit more contrast and pizzazz than it ever had before.  It was a very quick edit considering the impact that it made.  It will make a great addition to the Alaska Gallery Room!

Thank you for joining me today for this newest re-release.  I’ll have another one to share with you shortly so stay tuned!