A beloved lost photograph and the opportunity to shoot it again, along with my attempts to emulate film in digital.
Above is one of my favourite personal photographs. Ironic, really, as landscape photography usually does very little for me.
That photo – the source file – was lost to one of my many backup fiascos. It was taken in the famous Verdon Gorges, already documented on DearSusan, almost 1000 posts ago 🙂
As I was going to walk this again, my #1 goal was to reshoot this with a more modern camera and save the file preciously. Even print it, who knows …
Yeah, right …
Spoiler alert: it didn’t pan out. At all.
But I made other memories. And that is the whole point of this post.
It should have been obvious from the start that this idea was futile. Everytime the recreation of an iconic photograph is attempted, the research leading up to the shoot is always far more interesting than the shoot results. Why should my humble attempt have been any different?
Never dwell on he past.
But since I was going to walk the exact same trail, why not give it a try? That was the reasoning.
So, what went wrong? Three things.
First, Southern France was going through a period of severe drout. In my ususally green part of the world, it hadn’t rained significantly since last November. That’s scary, not typical, and had drastically reduced the flow of the Verdon river at the bottom of the canyon. Instead of the usual blue/green/turquoise ribbon of water, there was only a shallow grey strip, which makes photographs less appealing.
Seconly, the light was harsher than I ever remember shooting in. At least in this area. Photos in the forests were already challenging, but those in the open completely stumped me. It was necessary to underexpose and then to finesse post processing so as to lower contrast and clarity in very significant measures. It definitely stretched the X1D to its outer limits and my PP know-how far beyond mine 😉 This still lead to a few ‘keepers’, thankfully.
Finally, and somewhat embarassingly, I never found the spot 😆 It should have been easy as there are not many with a stone arch above your head. But there you go. Stumped as charged, again …
I looked. And looked. Turned around often, explored little paths leaving the trail. All to no avail. Rhyming intended.
So there was no other choice but to photograph stuff along the way, as second prizes. Here are a few of those images, with occasional comments, and starting with early morning colour, for a change.
One of the great pleasures of this trip was to experiment with colour, trying to find a rendering that would evoke film, with its soft shoulders and gentle ways. That was definitely easier in the morning. During the day, it was necessary to resort to strong underexposure and, in post processing, big lowering of contrast. And even that wasn’t successful.
Here is a colour/mono comparison, as a transition to b&w.
Speaking of monochrome, this (below) is what my standard conversion process yielded. Heeeeelp !!! 😆
Resorting to other methods got me closer to a good photo, but never quite there.
There’s a moral lesson or three, in there, somewhere. Something about living in the present, printing while you can, paper lasting longer than silicon, taking notes, not being a dumbass with lighting conditions, getting a film camera if you’re so obsessed with a film look, and more.
But the higher lesson is this: I had fun.
That’s what our hobby is about 🙂
Never miss a post
Like what you are reading? Subscribe below and receive all posts in your inbox as they are published. Join the conversation with thousands of other creative photographers.
#1220. #MonochromeAugust (Pixii challenge)
#1217. Backyard Gems: On the Road Again (Finally)!
#1206. Why shoot in monochrome? Why shoot in colour?
#1190. “What was it like in the war daddy?”
#777. Monday Post (15 October 2018) 341 – a milestone of sorts.
#746. The older I get, the less I know
Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.