Cutting Room Floor

Images make the cutting room floor for many reasons.  While constructing this website I revisited many of my images from the past 5 years.  One in particular has haunted me, this dramatic sunset from the Mittens in Monument Valley, UT.  It was during the Natalie and Alain Briot Navajoland workshop on March 14, 2004.  The moment was one I will never forget as it was host to the most dramatic sunset I have witnessed to date.  I had been working on the Mittens Panoramic composition, which was 180 degrees from the sunset.  Moments after the light in the east had faded on my composition the sun decided to step it up a notch to this incredible display of intense light.  That is what I remember about it the most...the INTENSITY.  You could almost feel the heat of the moment.  It was very invigorating.  In my hands was my relatively new Canon 10D.  I was still learning the ins and outs of the system, but that isn't what ruined the technical execution of this image.  It was a simple matter of violating the 1/focal length rule for exposure times.  My focal length on this composition was 40mm and my shutter time was 1/10 of a second.  Too long to be hand held and there is a bit of softness on the image to ruin a high quality print.  I also left the ISO to 100 which could have been increased dramatically to shorten the shutter speed.  But it all seemed to happen so quickly, which is why we really need to be well versed in all of our camera controls.  Another problem I had with this image is that I really struggled with the color balance.  Bringing some new techniques, software, and a better-trained eye, I decided to take another run at processing the image today.  Most of the work was performed in Light Room 2.5 with some tweaking in PS4.  Even with all of this, the image would be very challenging to print well as the intensity of the color and light are difficult to translate from the monitor to the printer.  I have added no saturation to the image at I was intense.  I love the image for what it does for me...recalling an incredible moment in time of intense light at a beautiful location.  Enjoy the image and prepare for your next moment of intense light in the landscape.  Take care.