“The Gut – Revisited”
“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”
― Pierre-Auguste Renoir
I’ve contemplated this image many times. The original photo was very dark. I was trying to capture this beautiful gorge, aptly named “The Gut“, near Apsley, Ontario this past summer. It’s a very challenging photo due to dark shadows caused by the deep canyon walls to the left and the intensely bright cliff walls on the right. Yet my eyes saw this beautiful verdant passageway and all its colours as one evenly lit image.
There’s the problem we often face as photographers. Our eyes see something and the camera is just not as versatile as our eyes and brain in interpreting the image. That’s a reason I’m quite clear in stating that my photos depict ‘how’ I saw it. A person standing with me might not see it the same. Different eyes, different brain.
The joy in owning my Nikon D300, even though it’s a few years older, is that the image sensor is able to pull so much detail out of the shadows, with very little noise, when I edit the RAW image. I spent a bit of time dodging and burning the image, trying to balance out the light, yet even then, the image was not quite close to my vision.
I pulled the image into my Topaz Impression plug-in and rendered the image as an Impasto painting, with no further adjustments and, Voila! I had an image that did justice to what I saw that day. I don’t see this as cheating, rather, it’s a way for me to communicate my personal experience in a way that others might appreciate it.
The final image above shows all the richness of the forest, the glow of the afternoon sun on the cliff face and the movement and shimmer of the river, as it winds its way through the gorge. Very close to how I saw it, that wonderful hot afternoon in July.
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200
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…and I thought it was a Renoir 😉 Beautiful!
Very nice processing. I don’t think that manipulating a photo to produce the image we want is ever cheating. Regardless of the media, all artists use various tool to achieve the look they want. The problem in photography is when someone tries to present digital art as a photograph. And here the problem is how does one establish or define when a photograph become digital art versus a “pure photograph”.
I suppose if I wanted ‘pure’ I’d be a photojournalist:)
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