Week of Dec 3 - Photo of the Week, Sunset Forest

December 3, 2023  |  Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Before The Buds

Bare trees and bushes at the end of winter basking in the sunset light along the Columbia River.

Canon 5D MKI - EF 70-200mm f4.0 at 200mm - f/16 - 1/6 of second - ISO 400

As you can probably tell by the camera specs this is an old photo. Well, fairly old in regards to how long I have been photographing. I took this near the end of winter in early 2010 in the Columbia River Gorge at sunset. A few folks might recognize it but only if you have been following my work for many years. It's not been shared for a long time.

I always liked the scene, one of those completely unexpected moments when out photographing on a peaceful sunset by myself. No one else around in this area at the time. Prior to this photo I hadn't thought to photograph this specific area because I was never drawn to it. Yet here I was on the opposite pole of the forest magnet being pulled in. I recall seeing the potential quickly take shape as the last warm beams of sunlight bathed the sea of tree trunks.

This is a case of what is old is new again. I did not sit on this photo for 13 years before processing it. I processed it shortly after taking it. However, my processing style was not only different then but my skills in regards to processing were more rudimentary, how I looked at a photo when processing isn't the same, etc. One would hope that over a long stretch of time change happens within us, it's natural. The original edit was during my brief Orton glow phase where I was adding that glow pretty liberally at times. That along with some processing that blew out the highlights in spots when zoomed in, bugged me for a long time. That is why when I launched a new website a couple years back it wasn't included.

"Creativity is a function of the previous work you put in." — Robert Greene

Taking a fresh look it I realize the coloring could be better, falling more on the warm side to accentuate the warmth of the sun hitting the red and orange colors in the trees and the bushes. To me this makes more sense than too much of the Glamour Shots 90's glow (hard to tell in the small version below but very evident in the full resolution file). Nothing against glow. I still see it used in plenty of photos that I think look good, and on rare occasion I still use it too. Yet here I personally don't feel it was the best way to process the scene. We are all different and you might think the old one looks better. I always say processing is a personal decision based on what a photographer wants the photo to communicate or feel to the viewer. For me I like the new version better. What will I think in another 13 years? I am sure I will change and my view on this photo could change along with it.

Below: Top is original edit in 2010 and bottom is the new edit in 2023.