As I mentioned in other posts, in 2004 we closed out company of 20 years, sold our house, and were looking to relocate from the Detroit area to . . . anywhere else.
We had read that Bellingham was a great area to live . . . well, we just had to go see, and so in the fall of 2004 we flew out to Washington. The state, not the cesspool housing our so-called elected representatives. We were in Washington for two weeks, and I’ve documented some of our travels in the area (use the search option on the sidebar to search for Oregon, Mount St. Helen, and the Olympic Peninsula).
One of the places we visited was Mount Baker. Like many mountains, it has a highway leading you up it. I was quite perplexed heading up there . . . strangely, despite the name, there were no baked goods to be had anywhere, and believe me, I looked.
Luckily, we had gone to the Lynden Dutch Bakery, in Lynden WA, and they did have baked good. We still talk about the scones we bought there . . . and lament the fact we had only bought a few.
Anyway . . . a few sight on the way to the Mount Baker Highway . . .
Look at that . . . a nice sunny day! Sunny, but only until you start heading up. Then you get into the clouds. It’s great if you like very moist, very lush landscapes.
Now, green is a great color, but it can get a bit boring, so I did some playing around . . .
I mean, it looks nice, but perhaps not as striking as some like.
There are people who like B&W photographs, so I continued along this path.
Hmm . . . not really gut-punching me. Let me try another plugin.
OK, so far I still like the green the best. I think the B&W is nice, but it all starts to blend in. Too much detail to take in.
Let me try the Restyle plugin Topaz released last year.
You know, I like that. Unfortunately, it looks more like a stroll through an Hawaiian forest rather than climbing the side of Mount Baker.
Let me take a bit more care with what I shoot, how I process it , and how I present it.
See, that looks a bit better. I’m focusing on a smaller area, and balancing the crap-load of green with the surrounding textures and details, like the little flowers.
Now I can try a B&W treatment, and I bet it will look better.
Better, much better.
I will digress a moment, speaking to photographer in particular. When I started this, I had twelve photos in the folder labeled ‘Mount Baker’. I know me . . . even in those early days of digital, I know I would have shot more, and I did.
The problem was that many of the photos were dark, and many more did not have the punch to hold my interest . . . so I had blown them away.
Ten years later, the tools I have available are MUCH better than what I had in 2004. For example.
Its not a great photo. I mean, I like the colors, but it’s not very sharp. It annoys me just looking at it, so I had blown it away.
“Hey! . . . if you blew it away, how come it’s here?”
Well, Bob, this is where anal retentiveness comes in handy. I back up everything . . . in triplicate. So I went down to the archive vault (also my gun vault), and retrieved one of the two surviving DVD backups from 2004 (the third was a hard drive that has since died), and reloaded all 65 original photos. Of those, 56 were salvageable, with the rest being either duplicates or beyond my help.
So, what can I do with that photo now that I could not do before? Well, I could go nuts on it, but it does nothing for the focus problem.
BUT . . . I can also do this:
That’s a photo I can live with. Had I just shown that to begin with, it would have made this post shorter . . . not much shorter, but some.
But I can also do stuff to photos I kept.
Here are two more photos I had discarded
They are not bad, but that’s the limit of what I can easily do in Lightroom. Now, here’s the onOne Effects treatment (various layers with differing effects and filters).
Now, maybe some will look at this and say it’s not an improvement . . . true. Understand, the ‘as shot’ has been processed in Lightroom, and I don’t mind them now, but it was a different story 10 years ago. What I could do then was very limited compared to today.
I don’t have a problem showing the as-shot now, but I had to manipulate the contrast, brightness, exposure, shadows, darks, clarity, saturation and sharpening . . . and when I did all that, the graininess of the photo, the noise, increased a whole lot. So I then had to play with adjustments that removed the noise and make the photo presentable; I did not have to play with onOne filter . . . it was a one-click adjustment.
I like the onOne treatment for the zoomed in photo, but not for the wider view.
Again, I must stress . . . I delete those photos (it takes a lot for me to get rid of photos). Had I shot these originals on film I would have thrown away the developed picture without a second thought.
You can click on each to see more details on a larger view, or go to the SmugMug gallery HERE, but be aware SmugMug is like many other places; they tweak stuff, and the end result is they mess things up. Right now, if one is at SmugMug and chooses the ‘Original’ view, and then tries to scroll side to side to look at different areas of the photo . . . you can’t. You can scroll up and down, and that’s it. Jerks!
Anyway, here are a few photos I did keep.
This was literally at the side of the road. I had to park the car further up, and watch for oncoming cars as I stood halfway into one of the lanes with my tripod. This came down nearly perpendicularly from a rock face, making it a tall and narrow waterfall.
I could not capture all of it at once, despite the thing not being more than 10-15 feet tall (I could today).
Here are a couple of additional shots.
Yes, I played around with a few of them.
The next group of photos are all photos I had discarded. If you see two that look similar, the first is the Lightroom adjustment, and the second one has additional processing using some of the other programs.
These were literally too dark for me to do anything with 10 years ago. This speaks to both the advantage of shooting RAW, and to how far our tools have come in 10 years.
I was fascinated with the glacier, I could see the waterfalls, and was tremendously disappointed to find I could not share these photos until now.
. . . the captions tell you which process is used.
Okay, let’s all agree these are not great photos. I know that the low-light capability of my D7000 (or any of the higher end cameras) greatly exceeds that of the D100. Add that to the capabilities of the tools, and the photos under similar conditions today would be orders of magnitude better than these photos . . . but the point is I was able to recover photos I had thought unusable.
Here are a few more (this is, after all, a WPLongForm post).
OK, you get the idea . . . there are more photos in the SmugMug Gallery HERE, than what I posted (seems almost incredible, right?), as well as the photos being available at full resolution, but for most people these are probably the best size to view these. You can click on any of the photos to get a larger, but not full size, version.
Now, on to the next series . . .
I’m relatively happy with this shot. It’s a huge improvement over the original, but if one has the inclination, one could really push things . . .
On this one, you don’t want to look at the original . . . way messy. BUT . . . even clicking on it, you get a decent photo for casual viewing.
While the first version is closer to the actual view, and is a better photo rendition of reality, the second one is likely to elicit more exclamations of approval. It has more of an impact, raising the question of what one should present . . . real or stylized?
This was a nice place to stop and take a few photos, each trying to get a portion of the whole as if it were the complete story.
Here’s a slightly different angle.
Hey! . . . I like that tree on a rock!
The ground itself was quite interesting, and reflecting the lushness of the environment. I leave you with four shots, two as shot, and two modified by Topaz Restyle.
That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.
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Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.
If you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to: https://disperser.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/palm-vx-and-i/.
Note: if you are not reading this blog post at Disperser.Wordpress.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website. Could be they also torture small mammals.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.