A few weeks ago I was invited to speak about photography at a real estate conference in Central Oregon. My return trip from Bend brought me to the Crooked River bridges including the railroad bridge which sits about 320 feet above the water below. Given the opportunity to photograph an interesting structure, I pulled into the rest area adjacent to the highway and river.
The Problem: Midday Light
Photographers know that midday light is bad. There’s a reason that photographers get up early and stay up late… that’s when the best light occurs naturally. The high sun angle in the middle of the day results in blown highlights and harsh shadows. Given that I arrived at the bridge around 12:30pm with bright sun and an air temperature around 95 degrees, things couldn’t have been much worse. I present to you a program-mode image:
Making Something Out of Nothing
I knew in the field that a “regular” photo wouldn’t cut it if I wanted anything presentable from this little stop. While there, I decided I’d see what I could do in the digital darkroom to create something that wouldn’t be purely a photograph but rather a bit of digital art based on a photograph. I made several images in the field; a few days ago I spent about 45 minutes creating the following image. Is it a photograph? Is it digital art? Does it matter what we call it?
How’d I do? (Yeah, I know the image is missing a train…)