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Saturday, October 16, 2010

To Dodge or not to dodge?

To burn or not to burn

Special weekend article, as I am troubled with this image that I have shown this image of the Yosemite valley as seen from Tunnel View already earlier this week.

I am a bit troubled with the triangular patch on the right hand side. The lattitude of an 8 bit display device like the computer screen is not sufficient to show the tones within the shadow. And as I read and re-read some of the articles by Ansel Adams, especially Moon over Hernandez, where he describes revisiting the negatives and reprinting them...when he revisited Moon over Hernandez, he printed the sky darker than he did originally.

He advocated the use of dodge and burn quite extensively in his printing. Many pages of his book "The Print" is dedicated to this. And I thought, perhaps this image might benefit from using a dodge technique to bring out some detail in the shadow areas on the bottom right.

Here is the original:

And a very simple process to experiment, using the dodge tool in CS4 to simulate the same during printing of a negative. I did this non-destructively on a duplicate layer, before blending the layers together to get the jpg file. I am very new to this technique, so the dodging is not done as well as I would have liked, but this gives the impression of what it would have looked if I did.

Which do you think is preferable? The shadows cast by El Capitan itself and on its foot is ok, as I had visualized that when I shot it, intentionally placing it within the deep shadows.

I think in a full sized print, with the printer's larger color gamut and tonal range, the shadow would have shown some texture of the trees, though dodging would still bring out the details more.

Thoughts appreciated.


small-luxury-world said...

Original is the way to go. To me it offers more "tension". If there is some drawing in the shadow - even better.


Bobby Wong Jr. ( said...

Hi Peter,

Your blog was sent to me by a friend. That's a very nice photograph. I'm personally not bothered by the dark triangle patch on the right hand corner. The location, and even the placement, of the dark patch is consistent with the overall bowl-shaped shadow over the valley. If anything, for me it reinforces the impression of depth and space.

But having said that, it's what the artist saw in his mind's eye that's more important. Dodging/burning aren't bad words in my book, rather, they help restore a scene to how the artist experienced it, and subsequently help him tell his story. Creative license.

Thanks for sharing your story.


P. Chong said...

Thanks Oliver.

Hi Bobby, thanks for your comments. I have also visited your blog from Ted Padilla's referral. Very nice.

Aditya said...

I think the original image has more depth and interest. The edited image looks nice by itself, but the original wins in comparison.

Some people say that a photo should be framed such that you shouldn't feel like cropping or editing it later. I agree with this, probably because I am lazy :-)