Alaska Revisited, Part 5

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I assume that you are all caught up on this series of new edits for my Alaska images.  The four previous images are all new to this website and gallery and I have been very happy with that fact.  The image that I will be sharing with you on this one is a little bit of a different story.  I still shot it on the day cruise from Seward on May 16, 2008, so that isn’t where the story differs.  What makes this image so interesting for me is I have never actually processed this one.  I am thinking that I included this RAW image in the archived collection by accident.  Hey, out of 400 images I was bound to get something screwed up.  In fact, if memory serves I sat down and edited for a solid 27 hours straight to get the images put together and ready to be released.  I had no patience to wait any longer after my trip before seeing what images I had.  You see, after spending eleven days in Alaska, we returned and stayed with my ex-wife’s mother for another week or maybe a little more.  Yeah, that was a lot of fun!  When I got home, all I wanted to do was to go through the images from the vacation, which was what I did.  I don’t know how I stared at the computer that long for a single sitting, but I did.

Wave Catcher“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L, No Filters

I don’t even recall the image I will be posting, but I do recall the one that I ended up processing.  As I had mentioned on another one of these entries, I spent a lot of time shooting the same subject as the boat moved past it.  I did this because the background would change and the relationships would all be different.  That was the case with this little rocky island that we passed near Resurrection Bay if memory serves.  I had shot probably a half dozen images of this one as we moved around it actually turning the boat.  As is the case even today, I didn’t like empty skies in 2008.  That was why I moved past all but one of the images in this series.  What I was left with was this image that was ultimately titled Wave CatcherI remember having a hard time with this image because I really liked it, but I had it crooked and it needed to be cropped.  Essentially I shrunk the image more than I really wanted to.  It also clipped the sides of the island, but I still loved the colors that were here.  I am still happy with the processing job that I did in Photoshop and feel that the saturation suits it well.

It also doesn’t hurt that this was one of Toni’s favorite images from the trip and it actually graced a shirt that I made for her to promote my fledgling business.  Even to this day, she really likes this image so when I started to go through the images for some fresh edits, I really wanted to give this one another go.  As I was going through the two disks of RAW images, I saw the island and quickly set it up for import into Lightroom.  This was going to be good because I was so much better at doing what I had to do with this image to make it work.  The problem… wasn’t the same image.  What I had saved to disk wasn’t the image that I had enjoyed for all of these years.  In fact it was completely different in that the background was missing.  I just had water and sky with the island.

The Island“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L, No filters

I still don’t know how that happened, but I am sure it had something to do with the fact that I was about to fall out of the chair from lack of sleep.  I decided to try an edit on the image with a minimalist feel to it.  I quickly found out that I had done myself a little bit of a favor here.  I still liked my original image of this little island and now I had a whole different image of the subject to play with.  While the sky was bland, the lighting on the rocks was quite a bit better and provided a good deal of color balance to the image that I liked.  The more I worked with the image the better I liked it.  It has a completely different feel from Wave Catcher, but if I’m honest, I really prefer the minimal look to this one.  I worked with the color tones of the sky and added in a good deal of magenta to have it blend in with the ocean a little bit better.  The concept for this image was to have the island stand out much stronger in the frame.  When I was finished with it, I had achieved that goal quite well.  Now that I am comparing the two images, I am really surprised at how effective that empty sky is for the overall composition.  With the mountains behind it, there is almost too much to look at in the background, and the one portion to the left is too bright and pulls my eyes out of the frame.  With the new bonus image of this island, the eyes stay right where I want them to be.  The lighting is perfect, the exposure was perfect, and the minimal feel showcases the expanse of ocean which I was missing in the other version.

I’m still counting this as a completely new entry to the gallery as I don’t think I will replace the original.  Toni really likes it, and so do it.  I like this one more, and it has a more mature feel to it that fits my current style of photography much better.  I think that they can both exist in the same gallery and appeal to two different groups quite easily.

The story will continue…