This Photo, #6

Two years ago, at dawn on a cold December morning, I visited Natural Dam and made one of my favorite photographs ever. There was a fog rising from the water, and the sun was just about to rise, and the fog glowed in the pre-dawn light.

December Sunrise

This was the first photo I made that morning, and after I tried some different compositions and exposures, I moved on to different locations around the waterfall. This is my normal approach – to look at a scene, and to explore different viewpoints.  Eventually, I saw this scene…

original_300x-05953

For more than 25 years, like so many other photographers in the area, I have visited Natural Dam, and made thousands of photographs. However, I had never noticed this red layer in the rock.
I made my photograph, and after a while, I moved on to other scenes and photographs. This was also the morning I photographed “frost flowers” for the first time…
Once I got home, I spent a good amount of time reviewing and editing the first images I had made. When I saw the photo with the red streak in the rock, I just could not see why I had made this photograph. The red was there, but very subtle, and the composition just did not appeal to me. But, I did not delete the image from my library.
A few weeks ago, I was preparing for a photo exhibition at the Center for Art and Education in Van Buren, and came across this image. I looked at it, and wondered why I had made the photograph. I must have seen something at the time…
In Lightroom, I first cropped it to a vertical image. It is not a standard aspect ratio, but that is OK; for the print I made, it did not need to be. Next, still in Lightroom, adjustments were made to shadows and highlights, and to color saturation, slightly, but enough to brighten the streak of red. I also used the Dehaze filter. Then, I opened the file in Photoshop, and removed some twigs and branches of a small bush.

This Way
The result is a photograph that, I think, pulls you into the scene, and says, “come this way, follow me, to the water…”
It is unusual for me to wait so long to revisit an image, but I often do. Sometimes, I see something that I did not on first review, but not every time. And, for some reason, I had forgotten about this photo, and I had never gotten around to deleting the file.
This is one time I was glad the photograph was still there…

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