One of the fun aspects of digital photography is that every time you open your memory card you get to revisit photographs that you took earlier in the year. This is especially true on a cold winter’s day when you get to see the pictures that you took during summer vacation. Ah the warm and photographic joys of a leisurely summer’s day! I was doing this the other night and I decided to see whether there was anything that I had failed to “work-up.” That typically means that I am looking for difficult to process images. And I found the raw image of Figure 1 that I had taken at dusk, when it was already pretty dark, on this past, and very warm, Christmas eve.
I had been attracted by the ghostly contrasts at the time, as well as the clinging atmosphere. While all of these aspects were in the image, it was pretty flat, dark, and kinda boring. It was going to require a lot of manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. A lot of manipulation smacks of photopictorialism; so I though that I would take that tact with the image. The idea of photopictorialism is to work the image hard; so as to create a sense that it is a painting not a photograph.
Usually this painterly quality requires addition of noise, but I found that that did not work here. I did however, use my second favorite trick that of darkening so as to vignette the edges and create the sense of an antique lens and there was also the slight over saturation of the color. There was fuzziness enough from the slow shutter speed. The final result is the image of Figure 1 – failure or success? I am seeing shades of the story “Sleepy Hollow” in this and expect at any moment to see the Headless Horseman come bolting on his steed out of the woods.
“On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck on perceiving that he was headless!–but his horror was still more increased on observing that the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried before him on the pommel of his saddle!”
– Washington Irving, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
Canon T2i with EF70-200mm f/4L USM lens at 78 mm, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority AE Mode 1/25th sect at f/8.0 with -1 exposure compensation.