I took this image back in 2016 on an epic road trip from San Francisco to Denver, via Seattle. The mountains in the the distance are at North Bend, the iconic location behind one of seminal TV Series, Twin Peaks. I always liked the simplicity of the image, and I have a canvas print of it on my wall at home. It was one of my earliest experiments at ‘proper’ landscape photography, though, and as such I feel that it falls short of my current standards … and I have to look at it every day!
On a transatlantic flight this week I decided to come back to the original image using some of my newer processing techniques. For the Photoshop aficionados, I’ve been getting heavily into colour dodging and burning, advanced colour grading, and Luminosity Masks, all of which I use in conjunction with ‘Blend If’ (as super powerful tool in Photoshop). In the case of this image, I spent a good hour or two working at adding subtle colour contrasts and trying to bring something out of the tree line on the other side of the placid lake, but the reality was that something fundamental was missing. Like many of my early images, the real issue is with the focusing, which isn’t as tack sharp as what I can currently achieve, so this somewhat limits what you can do with the finished product.
Not to be deterred, I decided to try something different. I took an image of Chele in her red coat, taken in Iceland, and composited her into the image on the far side of the lake. When the shot really came alive was when I started experimenting with a radical radial blur to create a sense of extreme focus on my newfound subject. I realised that sometimes you have to step back from an image and accept its shortcomings before you can move forwards with creative intent. Take your time with an image, and don’t be afraid to try something completely different.