Bend in the road
With apologies, one more shot of the climbing tree, the gravel road, and our larger "yard" as the season creeps down over our valley. Most of the leaves pictured clinging to the maples a week ago have joined fallen brethren on the gravel and have been churned to brittle brown flakes by the few passing cars that use what most of the time seems like our private driveway.
A slow, quiet Saturday morning might be a good occasion to talk a bit about my taste and philosophy of photographic treatment. As is frequently the case, for any given picture I post, I get two kinds of responses. There may be emails and comments saying how pleasing and captivating a certain picture was that day. Less frequently, for that same picture, there will be emails or comments that dislike my choice of expression, objecting to my "mucking with" the straight image by using Photoshop tools. For them, the straight unaltered shot is necessarily the better choice.
In making this decision about how an image would be best displayed for the web, I am at a disadvantage in a sense, because the first thing I see is the full-resolution image full of detail, texture, depth. Then I shrink that image to a tenth or less of its full size to fit the webpage and reduce it in quality to make a smaller, faster-loading file. Especially for landscapes, there is considerable loss in both of these reductions, and the tiny image loses much of the appeal of the larger one.
Secondly, what I enjoy in photography is creative expression. I hope not so much for reportage with a strong need for accuracy and clarity and detail as for the gathering and sharing of impressions, interpretations and stories from the images. The picture posted today is not an unaltered image. I've tried to bring out the reality of the contrast between the shaded roadway and the grassy area beyond, under a hazy-bright morning sky. I've used "accent edges" filter to bring out some of the lines in the tree branches and to bring some texture to the leaves along the road. And as I said in a recent post, for me, autumn is suffused with this soft light of nostalgia, and a painterly portrayal seems to suit. For this reason, you'll see our maples--like this one in this series of recent shots-- shown in a more impressionistic way.
My camera lens saw it the way the scene, in fact, was on that October morning. So often the straight documentary display through the clear, objective, non-distorting glass of the lens fails to show what I have seen through the lens of imagination. This image appeared to me as it was rendered in this posted picture. I didn't see just the objects in the viewfinder. I saw the storybook qualities of light that were so extraordinary as they illumined an ordinary scene, and this is what I wanted viewers to see, to share with me.
Of course there is always the risk of TammyFaye-ing a picture too far. Too much makeup can hide what potential beauty might have been underneath. Most of the time, and within the constraints of web image size and quality, I present what I think does the best job of showing the scene as I saw-felt-experienced it. But then, sometimes, my mascara will run. Thanks for caring.