I mentioned that the editing was about to start on my images from this fun trip, so I decided to tackle the most complicated task first! One of our sunrise shoots was at Elephant Rock, which is a magnificent sandstone arch formation in the shape of a Mastodon!
While doing this shoot, the sun was slowly rising behind the arch formation, which gave me an idea to create something like this…
As the arch is formed of gorgeous red sandstone, I wanted to be sure to get its color represented in the image. However, backlighting would make this very difficult to achieve in a single shot; so I hatched a plot!
In order to expand the range of light captured by my camera I shot HDR sequences to feed into this image. One sequence to capture the color of the rock…
…and another HDR sequence to get color of the sky back into the image…
The above two images are the in-camera JPEGs of the HDR sequence, which was shot at 0 EV, -2 EV and +2 EV.
So all I had to do was process the HDR images and then combine them into a single image. Simple enough except for the mask to combine the two HDR images, which took a bit of trickery and some cool tools from Tony Kuyper. To keep you in suspense, I will write a separate post about the entire creative process.
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
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2 thoughts on “Valley of Fire – ep. 2”
Once again, I’m speechless 🙂
You’re too kind!