Just fooling around with the rather amazing set of tools called Perfect Photo Suite 7 from On One software. It was on sale a while back so I took the plunge. One could spend countless hours learning the capabilities of the various modules. This is Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska on a rainy day. I must be cycling back to my “anything (almost) goes” philosophy of photo editing. In time perhaps I will revert back to the more restrained philosophy.
So back in 2006, I’m in one of those once-in-a-lifetime locations, in interesting morning light. I’m standing outside the park bus in the Polychrome area of Denali National Park, Alaska. So what do I do? I decide to shoot jpeg only because I’m worried about running out of memory cards/storage later in the trip. Bad move! The plan was to stop at this area on the way back, get off the bus and roam. Great idea except the bus driver did not stop here on the way back. By the time I got off the bus he was already down the mountain. Anyhow, so that leaves me with only jpegs of this scene. The cloud tops were really blown out here and there, I expect I would have had better luck recovering some detail there if I had been shooting RAW, as I do 99.9 percent of the time. So I have added this to my list of “what I would tell myself if I slip through a hole in space-time and find myself having a conversation with my past self”. ” Tell dad to buy Pizza Hut stock (1960’s)! Buy Microsoft stock! Shoot RAW everywhere in Denali!”
I revisited this image, and did a single exposure HDR version…meaning I used the original jpeg, made -2 and +2 versions of it, then ran it through Photomatix. The result is what you see here. If only I had been shooting RAW, I think I would have had better luck with the sky/clouds. Anyhow, it is still pretty and I will always think of this scene the next time I am tempted to shoot jpeg only. I may have even posted this image in the early days of my blog, but I am a little better at the HDR nowadays so no harm done. I hope.
Another of my more abstract Alaska images, taken in Glacier Bay. This is actually taken from the deck of a large cruise ship, the captain was able to maneuver her quite close to the glacier. At least it seemed close. I like that there is no sense of scale here. That is actually what I would describe as a mountainside, and the glacier ice must be several stories tall. When watching pieces of the glacier calve off into the ocean, we were told that no, those pieces falling were not the size of cars, but the size of houses. Even viewing the scene directly there were no man made or other familiar objects to give the landscape any sense of scale. Alaska is humbling and fascinating at the same time.
This image is a few years old now, captured in the Toklat River area of Denali National Park, Alaska. This is as far as my wife and I made it into the park on the bus system. My intention was to then work our way back to the park entrance on the buses, getting off quite a lot for photography along the way. Turns out we only got out of the return bus once. Apparently there was some spousal apprehension that a grizzly might come walking out of the underbrush and have us for lunch. Anyhow, seeing as though although unlikely, it could happen, I chose not to make too big a fuss. I liked the semi-abstract nature of the composition in this monochrome conversion. This is one of those ‘photos I like, but…’ situations where I never got any good feedback from the family audience however.
This was the same morning I was able to get my favorite image of Mt. McKinley (Denali). This is looking down into the trees in the river valley below the Princess McKinley Wilderness Lodge. There was a fog in the valley that was beginning to burn off. I doubt I did it justice, being obsessed with the mountain left little time for what would otherwise have been my primary focus. One of those ‘just too much to process’ situations. Princess was in the process of building a wooden fence which would block this view, a few more steps forward and there would have been no more photographer-a pretty dangerous spot with an unprotected shear drop off. This was on the grounds of the lodge so I can see their point.
We were extremely fortunate on our Alaska trip to find clear skies over Mt. McKinley (a.k.a. Denali). This is unusual enough that even the employees at the Princess Wilderness Lodge where this image was taken were outside taking photos of each other with the mountain in the background. Princess would like you to believe that Denali is looming over the main lodge deck, but it is more like 40 miles away, about the size of your fist at arms length. Having said that, it was still a beautiful view.
The view from the Princess lodge is looking generally north, many photos you see of the mountain are taken from inside the national park looking west or southwest. On this particular morning my tripod was already on it’s way to our next destination in our big checked bags, so I braced my 70-200mm Sigma telephoto lens on a wooden guardrail and fired away. This particular image has had some photoshop actions applied, others in the linked gallery have only had level tweaks and such applied. I feel fortunate that we were able to see this great mountain so clearly, it was quite memorable.