Tools of the Trade


“Dodging and burning are steps
to take care of mistakes God made
in establishing tonal relationships.”

Ansel Adams

Based on the above quote, I like to imagine that Adams would be a fan of Photoshop, if he was shooting today in the digital photography age. That he would be enthusiastic about using all available digital tools to realize his photographic vision.

In this image, I wanted you to feel the heat of early morning sunshine and experience the overwhelming golden glow of light filtering through the columns. To notice the criss-cross pattern of blinding white and deep shadow on the concrete. free of distractions. To add an ethereal, dream-like quality that represented the quietude of early morning – the time of the world’s awakening.

And so, I utilized every tool in my Photoshop toolbox to bring to life my vision for this image.

For me, that is the nature of photography – to translate the three-dimensional, sensual world into the two-dimensional, visual-only domain of the photograph. Using all the tools of the trade to show you what I saw and experienced and felt at that moment.

I like to think Adams would agree.



Posted on September 12, 2013, in Photoshop and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. HA!!! I do wonder what Ansel would say about the world of today’s photographic technology. Love the processing and final effect!

  2. beautiful light, so dreamy!

  3. Brenda, I think you accomplished what you were seeking with this image — I definitely feel the warmth. The quote is great — it’s interesting to know that Adams was okay with manipulating his photos. I sure love to use my editing tools. However, it seems that many of the famous photographers seem(ed) to think it is wrong to change the original image.

  4. I went back and forth between the before and after versions of the image. I looked (and looked and looked) for obvious additions or subtractions between the two and (of course) didn’t find any. And yet, because of your skilled workmanship, your final version is simultaneously richer, softer, and more mysterious. Well done!

  5. I love seeing your processing. It is an artform all itself. You are a maestro-your images sing with what you do to them and this images again proves that point. I like that you shared the before image too. It shows your amazing talents.
    Ansel totally would have been into Photoshop.

    In my one photography class that was a question-about whether it’s right to alter a photograph so much-is that still a photo?
    I think taking a photo is an art, and enhancing it with PS is another art. They feed off one another. Certainly film images were enhanced in different ways-but I think there’s great composition and great processing. They can be two separate things or a combined effort.

    Glad I popped in. I started a class at the community college-this time learning Web Design. I am in the land of HTML right now with all it’s formulas and such. Bending my brain away from the creative side. And those damn 20 year olds move so fast on the keyboard. In the end tho, I’m sure I’ll create better results. Like the turtel and the rabbit. Hope to get around to blogs and to blog myself, but I’m under the gun also on my Cuba gallery show at the local library. For month of October it will be on display. Have I ordered the prints yet or the mats and foam board? Um. No. I am so screwed.

    Hope you have a happy day my friend.

  6. This image glows!
    I like the soft, bright light in the upper left, and the crisp light in the lower right. Marvelous, subtle colors. As always, outstanding composition!
    I understand that Adams wrote down detailed notes for darkroom processing of his images.
    In my view, all photos are processed, beginning with what the digital camera does, (and before that, what type of film was used). Your editing skills bring the image to us as you saw it, not as the camera recorded it.

  7. Wow! This you did an amazing job on this, Brenda.
    The light and tones are gorgeous!

I greatly appreciate your comments!

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