I’m a perfectionist in everything I do. And I’m twice perfectionist in photography. In the field I keep taking photo over and over changing my position, perfecting composition, and changing settings perfecting my exposure. In post I can spend endless hours on a single photo perfecting every pixel of it to tell a clear story with my photo.
This was the case with this photo. It looked like illuminati sign for me. The problem was that pink spot in the sky was too weak. I wanted to make it clearly visible. Except I could not get it too stand out more without color shift and without impact on surrounding clouds. I’ve spend many many hours on it, printed proof after proof all of them going to garbage.
Finally, I think I got it. One thing is that it is unlikely you’ll be able to appreciate it since it pushes the limits of what uncalibrated regular monitor can show. That’s the problem with subtle color variations. Even on my laptop where I type this post I cannot see pink in the sky. I can see it on wide gamut calibrated monitor that I use for photo editing and on prints that I produce.
I’m not sure whether it is a period in my life or my art but I’m more and more drawn to pastel colors. I remember seeking the brightest most vivid colors possible. I remember pushing colors as much as they’d go. Don’t get me wrong. If a photo has bright colors and it works I’ll keep it that way. But I see more and more photos in my collection with muted soft pastel colors.
Such as this photo. The is no awe inspiring sunrise or sunset on it but there is soft pink glow in the clouds that make my crazy about this photo.
The challenge with sharing such photos digitally is that subtle variations of color in most cases are lost when viewing them on non-calibrated monitors which is vast majority of monitors. Well, not much I can do about that.
[Good] photographer is the one that does not show bad pictures.
There are days when I take photos that excite me, photos I love. And then there are other days when I get none. That’s ok. It is continuous learning experience, continuous self-development. The important thing is not to lie to myself and pretend that mediocre photos are good ones. Just because I put up a lot of effort in taking them does not make them good.
On my last trip to Rainier two weeks ago I had those two days. On the first day I was treated to a nice sunset with great color in the clouds and a pink tint on everything on the ground from the light reflected from the clouds. (That’s when I took the photo below.)
On the second day nothing worked out. The photos turned boring and did play any tune in my heart. And you know what? I’m not going to show any photos from the second day. I’m still going to look at them; see if there is anything that can be photographed differently; what and why did not work. I’m learning from bad photos and you’re enjoying good ones.
Sunset at Mt Rainier
I have a pattern of being later. I always get too involved in photographing wherever I’m and end up being late for photographing sunset wherever I want to photograph sunset. Or I wake up just a little bit late and late to photographing sunrise.
Sometimes it plays out well though. Like in this case I was driving to photograph sunrise at mountain Rainier and I was late, I was too late.
On the way there I was passing a lake as usual. The morning was very cold and steam was rising from the lake. The sky had just a touch of pastel pink from a distant sunrise. I decided that this scene was worth stopping and photographing. Even though I was in a hurry. And that’s how I met the sunrise.
I’ve passed by Lake Crescent many many times. It is a large lake and one of the important features of Olympic National Park with its deep incredibly clean water. Over the years I’ve stopped at different places around it and taken several photos, but have not got any really interesting ones.
Eventually I gave up and was just passing it by on my way to the beaches of the Pacific coast. But as you know persistence pays off. So, this summer I was driving from the beaches back home and as usual my way back was around the lake. This time was different…
I saw this beautiful scene. Finally the lake opened up its soul to me. It was calm and serene. Mist was hanging over the lake hiding the west bank. Mountain ridges were coming down to the lake becoming softer and softer in the distance with shades of pastel blue. The water was like a glass perfectly reflecting the mountains and the pastel pink sky. Two trees were standing aside on the right bank. And one small next to them. Like a family that came out to the lake to have fun by its side.
Dawn at Lake Crescent
Only the first morning at Shelter Cover had clouds. All the days after that the skies were incredibly clear. The only thing that was left to photograph at dusk was gradients in the sky:
Combining with long exposures of moving water which I love to photograph:
And sun rays:
Spring time in Seattle is a time of blossom. Lots of trees in parks, in back yards and along the roads are in blossom. As I drive I note places with a nice display of flowers and then return back with a camera.
One of the local favorites is magnolia with its big flowers. One of the challenges photographing magnolia is its really bright petals. This particular tree was in deep shade while background was in an open space with more light. This allowed for some well-balanced photographs.