Monday, December 7, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside

It's getting to be that time of the year, you know, when outdoor photography gets to be the realm of the intrepid. Those who aren't afraid of a little frostbite, who have invested in hunter's mittens. The ones with the trigger finger hole, so you can stick that all important digit out just enough to have a good feel on the shutter release. One of the funny things about winter photography is how fickle it can be. One day it's great, a brisk but not bone chilling cold morning and another day when the tears streaming down your cheeks freeze in place because you're so cold. Those miserable days are the days that you get some of your best shots. They don't have to be in January or February. One of the coldest evenings I've ever spent was in October a few years ago. Even being dressed properly for the cold, the wind just blew the chill through every layer I wore and got right down to the bone. I thought the night would never end. That's why a lot of photographers head inside and shoot setups. But, there are times when the heavens align, when a shot presents itself that you have to say "cold be damned", I've got to get this image. Such was the case of today's image. To find out "what" about the image made it worth stopping on cold, late fall afternoon, hit the "read more"

It was the clouds that made me stop. I already had the silhouette of the bridge. That was taken on a warm day in July or August. A drab day with a zero sort of sky. It's one that had been in the files, just waiting for the right match to come along. That match came along in the middle of October. The leaves were still on the trees and there was a couple of ways to shoot the scene. I could have included the actual ground where I was, but it sort of sucked. I'd been driving home from a business trip and saw the great sky as I was in the middle of nothing interesting. Without thinking of the bridge silhouette I knew there was potential in that rosy sky. It could be used for "something". It would have to be something special, not an ordinary scene. It would be pretty obvious in most situations so, for the moment, it was shooting for the files.

The silhouette of the bridge itself wasn't without its own issues. As I made a digital Kodalith out of the original silhouette some of the cables dropped out. They had to be restored in Photoshop in a time consuming, piece by piece insertion. It wasn't hard work, just tedious. Once the two shots were matched up it was a simple Blend Mode change that made the bridge pop out without any fringing. Blend Modes are your friend. Learning to use more than Overlay and Soft Light is one of the handiest Photoshop techniques you can have in your arsenal of tricks. When they work they make life easy.