Friday, February 21, 2014

Contender David Ritchie

2014 American Landscape Contest Contender David Ritchie searched for a composition with a lupine foreground and Columbia River background

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Photographer: David Ritchie,

Location: Columbia River overlook, Rowena, Oregon

When did you take this photograph? April, 2010

Equipment: Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 lens, Giottos MT9251 tripod, Acratech head

The story behind the shot:
During Adamus's workshop in Oregon, we traveled to these hills overlooking the Columbia River. One of his key lessons during this workshop was to get in as close as possible to any foreground subject so that its composition, color and detail will dominate the picture. With this in mind, I did a good deal of walking around the hills looking for an interesting lupine that could be used as the key element of a picture, but also wanted to find an angle that would contain the Columbia River as a backdrop to emphasize place. Once I found this particular plant, I set up my camera and began photographing.

Did you use any special techniques in-camera or in post-processing?
I photographed the lupine about an hour before sunset, so that the ground was well exposed, but the sky was pretty washed out. I then waited for sunset and took several photos exposing for the sky. For processing these two RAW photos, I started with the lupine photo and used Photoshop. The resulting composite was then opened in NIK Viveza 2. I selectively brightened the lupines, and then moved to NIK Color Efex Pro 4 and selectively used the brilliance/warmth filter to add a very slight warmth to the grass areas in order to bring out the browns among the more numerous green grass blades, and to make the lupines really pop.

Why is this scene of the American Landscape special to you?
I grew up in California, spending whatever free time I had enjoying the Pacific Ocean, hiking in the Sierra's, or camping in the Anza-Borrego desert. To me, the American Landscape includes any area where life is allowed to prosper without any human "management." This particular scene represents life as it has existed for eons in this particular area. I deliberately left the dead leaves and twigs in this photo because to me, they represent the continuity of life and, most certainly, the absence of human management.

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