Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Going back in time, sort of

Duluth breakwater lighthouse

I was contacted by a woman last week who had seen my photographs of Racine, Wisconsin on Flickr and was interested in purchasing prints. She was searching for photos of various cities in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan for a client who was looking to decorate some office space. I mentioned that I also had photos of Duluth, Ironwood and Wausau. Those cities were on the list, so she requested to see them.

Those photos were taken in the summer of 2004, so I had to do some digging through several years' worth of prints, negatives and CDs (I've only been shooting digital for a year and a half). It was an interesting exercise to see how far I'd progressed as a photographer. There were more than a few "if I knew then what I know now" moments. Missed opportunities. A few gems. A lot of junk.

The photo above was taken before I had completely gotten a handle on the art of exposure. It was taken midday (mistake number one, but our travel schedule didn't allow a visit to Duluth during the golden hours). The day was hot and hazy and I overcompensated for the haziness and overexposed most of the pictures.

Photoshop to the rescue. For this photo of the South Breakwater Lighthouse in Duluth, I brought the midtones down, which helped bring out the details of the pier and lighthouse. The sky and water still had a lot of white, so I created a masking layer. I used one of Photoshop Elements' preset gradients -- a purple to orange blend, set it as a semi-transparent layer over the photograph and voila! Instant mood. Original photo posted at right in the interest of full disclosure.

Cheating? Maybe. Back then, I could have sandwiched a couple of filters over the lens to get basically the same result. I was even carrying a graduated orange filter and blue filter in my camera bag that day.

So I just pulled them out a few years later electronically.

Photograph © 2009 James Jordan.

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