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Last Light on Navajo Bridge


Posted by Jens Peermann on Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:50 am

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My favorite shot from a trip to the Utah/Arizona border region a few month ago.

This is a milestone image for me, in two ways. On the technical side, it's the first image I entirely processed in Capture One, without any touching up in Photoshop or with NIK filters. I did process it first with touching up in PS and NIK to my liking, and then did it all over again to see if I can do the same in Capture One alone. It actually came out a tad better.

On the artistic side it's another step on my journey away from  technically perfect renditions of subjects and toward compositions that rouse the brain and prompt emotions. Using the subject as a accessory to support the composition, rather than using the composition to showcase the subject.

In those regards I consider this image a big step on my way to becoming a photographer.

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by SantaFeJoe on Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:24 am
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You are a photographer. Just look at the images you have posted here at NSN. Now you are working at being an artist, just like my signature line implies! You are breaking out from the mental corrals we tend to impose on ourselves. I think the exposure control is great, especially considering you had quite a challenge balancing the light shadows and the dark. Colors are really nice. My only critique is regarding the rock(?) in the lower left blocking out the corner and merging with the bridge.

Joe
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by Jens Peermann on Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:14 pm
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SantaFeJoe wrote:
You are a photographer. Just look at the images you have posted here at NSN. Now you are working at being an artist, just like my signature line implies! You are breaking out from the mental corrals we tend to impose on ourselves. I think the exposure control is great, especially considering you had quite a challenge balancing the light shadows and the dark. Colors are really nice. My only critique is regarding the rock(?) in the lower left blocking out the corner and merging with the bridge.

Joe


Thanks for your reply, Joe. You're right, it is breaking free from restrains that, for no obvious reason, hang in the back of the head.

But what made me do it? Abstract paintings did. There were some in the gallery that sells my pictures and they looked rather pleasing. So I tried to figure out why; after all, there really wasn't anything recognizable in them. I finally concluded that it must be the composition and color harmony. And that's when I knew what really is important in a picture, and it isn't the subject (although it doesn't hurt to have one).

In this particular image here there are two curved lines, one going from about the center to the top of the frame (the dark hill slope) and the other going in the opposite direction to the bottom of the frame (the bridge's arch). Those two form a unit. Then there is the rock formation in the upper right and that fuzzy brown thing in the lower left that balances it (I did another shot without it and the whole picture falls apart). The rest is a play of light and shadows with warm colors that contrast with the cold steel of the bridge, creating some tension (action). The result is an image with components of equal importance, as opposed to one that has a dominating subject and the rest is just background and filler.
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by SantaFeJoe on Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:37 pm
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I agree about the nice balance and would add that the lines of the bridge top and the lines of the distant plateau just above it balance each other nicely, as well.. I feel that the textures of the mesa on the top right and the textures in the cliff below the bridge balance each other well. It is more evident when the image is clicked on. All artists, and observers of art for that matter, see differently for some reason, and that's what makes the art world go round. It would be boring any other way. No offense intended, Jens.

Joe
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by Carol Clarke on Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:25 pm
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What a shame that dark shadow/rock cuts across the arch of the bridge in the lower left corner. That's my only nit in an otherwise very nice scene in dramatic light, Jens.

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by E.J. Peiker on Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:07 pm
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This is super cool! Is this the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge? So much to examine in this shot!
 

by Jens Peermann on Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:23 pm
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
This is super cool!  Is this the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge?  So much to examine in this shot!



No, this is the older one (completed 1929) of the two Navajo Bridges across Marble Canyon and the Colorado River. I am standing on the new one (completed 1995) than now runs US 89 ALT. Glen Canyon Bridge is at Page and runs the regular US 89.

Marble Canyon is the stretch between Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.
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by Cynthia Crawford on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:25 pm
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What a wonderful, thoughtful post and discussion. Your composition is wonderful as well as your concept-it leaves much to the imagination. I first saw a castle instead of the rock above, and was think of the juxtaposition of new and ancient. That holds true anyway. I like the dark and light elements and the bit of blue below the bridge complementing the sky. Have to agree with Carol about the dark blob on the left- to me it breaks the lovely curve of the bridge. There is plenty of dark under the bridge to balance the hill in IMHO. Perhaps it is because the blob is , well, a blob, and blurry, that it doesn't work for me.

I really like what you are doing here, in any case. Looking forward to more.
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by Jens Peermann on Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:50 pm
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Cynthia Crawford wrote:
What a wonderful, thoughtful post and discussion. Your composition is wonderful as well as your concept-it leaves much to the imagination. I first saw a castle instead of the rock above, and was think of the juxtaposition of new and ancient. That holds true anyway. I like the dark and light elements  and the bit of blue below the bridge complementing the sky.  Have to agree with Carol about the dark blob on the left- to me it breaks the lovely curve of the bridge. There is plenty of dark under the bridge to balance the hill in IMHO. Perhaps it is because the blob is , well, a blob, and blurry, that it doesn't work for me.

I really like what you are doing here, in any case. Looking forward to more.


Thanks Cynthia,

I like that castle you mention because that's what I first saw, too. I actually named the layer on which I made the local corrections for this rock in the working file "Castle".
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by E.J. Peiker on Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:20 am
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Jens Peermann wrote:
E.J. Peiker wrote:
This is super cool!  Is this the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge?  So much to examine in this shot!



No, this is the older one (completed 1929) of the two Navajo Bridges across Marble Canyon and the Colorado River. I am standing on the new one (completed 1995) than now runs US 89 ALT. Glen Canyon Bridge is at Page and runs the regular US 89.

Marble Canyon is the stretch between Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon.

Doh, I recognize it now - it's just such a unique and unusual angle.  I've shot California Condor off that bridge :)
 

by Jens Peermann on Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:41 am
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E.J. Peiker wrote:
Doh, I recognize it now - it's just such a unique and unusual angle.  I've shot California Condor off that bridge :)


The compression from the lens rally changes it. The "castle" is quite a distance away, past the road to Lee's Ferry.
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by SantaFeJoe on Wed Aug 22, 2018 4:57 pm
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Hey Jens here’s an article you may like. This guy writes some great stuff.

https://davidduchemin.com/2017/12/tired-of-perfection/

Joe
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by SantaFeJoe on Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:00 pm
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And another two:

https://davidduchemin.com/2018/05/better-than-like/

https://davidduchemin.com/2018/05/leaving-dafen-from-craft-to-art/

I highly recommend subscribing to his newsletters.

Joe
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by Jens Peermann on Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:51 am
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SantaFeJoe wrote:


Thanks for those links, Joe. I bookmarked them and will read them over the weekend. I'm sure there's something very useful for me in there.
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