10 Mar 15. Today's submission is one I shared with you in color the 3rd week of January; if you are keeping the images you may want to view them side by side. The blog, for lack of a better description, that parallels these mailings, provides me with a set of statistics on how many views each image receives. On average the images get between 100 and 500 hits daily, but every once in awhile a specific image will get between 4000 - 9000 hits. I've looked over those images that get the huge number of views and for the life of me I can't imagine why, as I'd rate them in the bottom 10%, quality-wise, of the images I'm sharing. One specific image I shared back about a month ago which garnered little comment from the Daily Image mailings was submitted to a national competition site and has received over a dozen awards so far. I liked the image a lot, but do not consider it to be anything great. Yet it keeps stacking up awards. All this to say I apparently have no idea about what constitutes a good image. Or perhaps the audience has an even lesser idea than do I. A very good friend who is a VERY accomplished photographer and one who has won MANY international awards states regularly "What do the judges know?" This of course translates quite easily into "what do the viewers know?" All of which leads me to believe that a good photograph is nothing more that one the connects with the viewer, whomever that viewer may be. Of course one could argue all the fine points of art, and there are MANY, but in the end, regardless of the value or quality of the image, if it doesn't connect (tell a story) with you chances are you will not see it as something worthwhile. Which brings me back to where I began. The B&W version of the trees and god rays may strike you quite differently than did the color version. I made several versions of this shot, I like them all, obviously, or I wouldn't have made them, but this version is by far, to me, the most expressive of the scene I saw (in color) and provides for me a real moment of inspiration. Perhaps it will for you also.
As I stated in the earlier mailing, the creation of this began with five shots which I combined together. Using that output as my base image, I first did a perspective alteration to straighten the trees, making them all as close to parallel as they were naturally. I then added an inch of blank canvas to the top of the frame where I added in the missing sky and tree top and then blended in the skyline to give it a seamless appearance. Then I added a B&W gradient layer and curves layer on top of that to insure I had the full dynamic range I wanted. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 400; 1/1000 sec (middle of 5 frames) @ f /10.