Sometimes It Takes a Little Time …

It seems there are some photographs that just need a little time and aging before you can see their potential or worth – like wine.  That applies to today’s image of the Cable Grist Mill in Cades Cove, TN.

I had made a point of getting to the grist mill early in the day in hopes of getting to make this photograph before the main body of spring tourists and photo workshop groups showed up.  I had made a photograph of the mill’s water wheel last year that I was very pleased with, but I wanted to spend more time with the structure and photograph it more in context.  As it turned out, I was none too early in my efforts, so that even after just a few minutes, the first of the workshop groups were hovering to take over my vantage point.  They were very patient, even as I rushed through this five panel panorama, with each panel being shot as a 5-stop high dynamic range (HDR) image.

I processed the initial image, while still in TN, by processing each one of the five initial panel images into .TIF files in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2, using the same HDR settings for each. I processed each using settings that would give me the most realistic rendition of the scene. I then photomerged the five HDR images into a panorama using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS6, after which I did some fine tuning of brightness and color balance using Nik Vivevza and Color Efex Pro 2.  I wasn’t really impressed with the color version of the image, but that really didn’t matter as I had intended to make the final image black and white, which I did using Silver Efex Pro.  The final image was OK, but nothing to write home about to my way of thinking, so I just filed it away for another look on another day. Maybe I just had too much effort and energy invested in it at this point ….

Six weeks later I began looking for some images to print and hang in the associate’s gallery at the Workhouse Arts Center when I came across this image again.  After several weeks of gestation, I was now ready to look at this image again, and this time I really liked what I saw as a good start on the way to the image I had in mind when I shot it. All I did was a little “dodging and burning” in Viveza” – brightening the door a little in order to draw the eye to it, and darkening down the large exterior wall of the mill and some of the sluice panels that were receiving direct sun light.  Now this image works for me, and I have it printed, framed and ready to hang. I hope you enjoy it, too.