30 Sep 13. Well, here we go, with the fist of many images for the first third of our Colorado Plateau adventure. We left early on the 16th taking the Bainbridge ferry to Seattle to quickly get on I-90, but it didn't happen as quickly as anticipated. We were traveling with a new Tom-Tom gps and it got lost as soon as we exited the ferry in the city, so getting to I-90 was as quick as we had planned (we let it take us the way it wanted just to see how well it navigated which in downtown Seattle was poorly, but thereafter it was right on the money). As we hit Seattle the rains began and followed us all the way into eastern Washington, whereupon they vanished leaving us with what can only be described as spectacular clouds. Our first stop was at the Ginko Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage, WA, which will also be the first photo I share. It was very windy while we visited requiring fast shutter speeds to keep most everything that was not "tied down" from moving. Even so, the plants were hard to get crisp, so I've elected to make them a little soft for effect. Now, for those of you who generally read the narrative before looking at the image, stop reading and go look at the image, then come back to this point. The selection for today is one that in its original is not what you might consider worthy of sharing, but I wanted to use it to talk a bit about image creation. The shot is not a creative one in the normal sense of the creative images I share, but rather one in which I've endeavored to take a mundane starting point and making it something better. If I've done my work right, your eye went directly to the yellow flowers in the middle of the photo, then to the petrified wood at the bottom, and then either to the clouds or back to the flowers. The yellow flowers should almost stand out as if the image was in 3 dimensions. Here is what I did. Starting with the captured image, I duped it as a new layer in which I used a filter to increase the micro contrast of just the clouds. I then combined those two layers onto another layer and enhanced just the yellow flowers using another filter. Next, I selectively lightened the petrified wood at the bottom of the frame, and then adjusted the contrast of the entire selection using a curves manipulation. Then I employed yet another filter to selectively brush on some additional micro contrast and finally added a layer in which I removed the "noise" in the sky resultant from the macro contrast manipulations. Then all that was flatted into a single layer and given a color adjustment for computer viewing. Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture priority; ISO 200; 1/800 sec @ f/ 9.