Alaska Revisited, Part 9

· Reading Time: 5 minutes

Welcome back, I’m so glad to see you again.  We are about half way through my collection of newly edited images from a trip that I took in May of 2008 to the great state of Alaska.  This has been my favorite destination by far of any place that my camera has taken me.  The problem with it was, I was still a very inexperienced photographer in general and was also using equipment that I wasn’t all that well versed on.  The fact that I came back with around 400 images from 11 days there is testimony to just just how beautiful the scenery is there.  I whittled that number down to around 90 images that at the time I was happy with.  Most of those were added to my website at the time and then over the years as my hosting changed, and website formats changed the pictures dropped off from the galleries bit by bit.  By the time that this current gallery was being built I only had a handful of images that I was even remotely interested in sharing.  This was partly because I had been looking at these images for ten full years by this point and I was getting a little bored with them.  The other part of that equation was my skills had come a long way since I had captured those images and so many of them just didn’t quite fit with my current crop of images.

It was that last part that really got to me more than anything else.  I felt like I was diluting the quality of the images that I was offering through the online gallery.  The image that I am sharing with you to day fell by the wayside years ago and I don’t remember exactly when it happened but it never made it to this gallery at all.  I remember the original edit quite well and it wasn’t a good one at all.  As with so many of the other images that I have discussed in this series, the overall blue tones just failed to impart the drama of the scene.  It just seemed too heavy handed and when you placed all of the images together, they all started to look alike with the cool blue tones.  Over time, they lost their individuality and I lost interest in them.  Now that I am looking at the RAW images once again, I am seeing an opportunity to bring back the individuality that they have been missing, and maybe add a little drama back into the image.

Thus far, my best course of action has been to take the overly blue images and convert them to monochrome.  While that is a very effective method of dealing with an image where the color really isn’t a key component, I didn’t want to do that with all of the images and risk the diluting of the overall impact the same way that the overabundance of blue had done earlier.  I needed to be careful with my edits and do them specifically to the image I was working on rather than just fitting it to a basic theme as apparently I did in my original edits.  Granted, I am not sitting here at the computer for 27 straight hours going through these images as I did before, so I am much better able to keep some personality attached to each image.

Catching Morning Color“, Canon 40D, 70-200mm f/4L

This is another one of the images that I shot while on the day cruise that started in Seward Harbor on May 16th.  It is a little deceptive with the way that I have chosen to edit it though.  As I said, the original edit was very blue and lacked a whole lot of personality.  When I pulled this one into Lightroom, I had a different vision for it.  I didn’t want to see it as a black and white image, even though that was what I was leaning towards.  What I wanted to do was add some color separation to the image and give it depth through color.  Yeah, it might not be completely true to the scene, but it was how I envisioned this one twelve years later.  I started to work on it by working the color temperature a little warmer which brought in some nice new colors.  I was seeing that the one lone cloud at the top was getting a bit of a glow to it, so I boosted the magenta hues just a little to emphasize that.  It also brought more color into the snow that really suited the image I thought.  In order to really make it work the way I was thinking it should, I did a little split toning work with it that I usually don’t bother with, but for this image I thought it might suit it.  It did, and I was able to fine tune the relationships between the highlights and the shadows to create this image here.  After adding some subtle grad filters to close in the sky, I had the image that I had seen within the RAW file.  It showcased a different time of day with the warm light on the cloud and I loved it!

This version is worlds away better than the original edit and it stands on its own so well.  I can’t believe that I spent so many years looking at this one as a basic blue toned snowy mountain scene when this was hiding in the pixels all along.  This is really a great illustration of why it is good to keep your RAW images for looking at later.  You will always learn new skills along the way, and the software will get much better as well.  These images are benefiting from both of those aspects right now.  As I have mentioned, my Photoshop skills are very limited even now, but back in 2008, I really had no idea what I was doing.  I now have four good years of learning Lightroom and that has really helped me to get my visions out of my RAW images.  With that experience and with the software, I am able to really bring out all the goodness that I had envisioned so many years ago.

I’m happy to add this one into my gallery and thrilled that I get to introduce it to you here in this series.  Stay tuned, we are only half way to the end!