I keep a lot of my older photos on my laptop. These are mostly photos I have never printed because somehow they didn’t satisfy me at the time. While I am on the road this gives me an opportunity to experiment with them to see what I can do.
This photo is a perfect example. I shot it in September, 1998 on a trip to Mono Lake, CA. A few of us made a vacation of it. We were Aaron, his girlfriend at the time (who will go unnamed), Jonathan, my nephew Keith, and myself. This particular day was mostly overcast. We were off road easily 10 miles away from the nearest pavement. I have been to this place at least 5 times. It is very lonely and very remote. The right of way of the old Bodie & Benton Railroad passed very near this spot so I call this ruin an abandoned railroad cabin.
The area always impresses me so each time I’m there I try some different compositions. The area is bleak & windswept on the edge of the Great Basin. The colors are usually muted by the weather. So it was this day. I shot my photos and later scanned the transparency into the computer.
Unfortunately, the print did little to satisfy my memory of the day. Here is the color version shot on Velvia with a Pentax 67 & probably a 75mm (slightly wide angle) lens.
The color is flat, the sky has no definition and the colors don’t pop. Worse still the composition is too broad and needs something to catch the eye.
Here is the B&W conversion I did in April, about 12 1/2 years after the original shot:
The left half of the original was unnecessary and has been deleted. You could accuse this photo of being a victim of my efforts to capture a grand landscape. Sometimes you can do that grand landscape successfully & sometimes you can’t. You don’t know unless you try. On the other hand it is always a good idea to include a little more in the photo when you shoot it so you can crop it down later. So what is right? Shoot expecting to crop probably.
The old fence post & wire now cup the cabin and hold the eye. The contrast is much better & the clouds are well defined. Finally, the sky is just how I like it, cold, dark and brooding, just as it was that day.
That’s all for now. My next posting will show some photos from a March Air Force Museum trip in May and whatever I’ve shot that’s interesting since then.