Tonight I read a review of my book that – on a whole, felt pretty good. It was written by Kyle Wagner of the Denver Post. You can read it here. In the piece, Ms. Wagner made mention of something that has been a common topic of conversation – not only in the numerous interviews I’ve given – but in many of the lectures and book signings I’ve given. That subject is digital alteration and while Ms. Wagner falls just short of actually calling it that, she did label some of my photos in the book, including one of the opening spreads of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah, as “unnatural” in it’s contrast and saturation. One must wonder how well the book was reviewed as an entire page in the book was dedicated to discussing the strong use of color as well as my techniques for capturing it.
Since I was never invited to an interview by Ms. Wagner, I couldn’t comment or discuss this topic with her, however I’ve decided to post a graphic of my entire digital capture that evening in Arches National Park. As you can see, I stayed out until the very last of the winter light hit the arch. At first the color was boring – perhaps what many editors are accustomed to seeing. But as the clouds, haze and last light of the day moves in – you can clearly see the colors becoming more vibrant, full of shadow and contrast and truthfully – seemingly unnatural. It is exactly this reason why I spend so many late, late hours in the parks, often photographing far beyond sunset. It’s because I realize that almost always I’m out there alone, cold, tired but patient and unrelenting in capturing something that so many people miss because they pack it in early. I’m there to bring these spectacular colors that are natural into your home. As always, I’m happy to share my RAW files with anyone to share the moment as purely as it comes so you, too, can see what I saw that night and know that it wasn’t adjusted or faked or “unnatural.”
The final, circled frame was what was used in the book. Click the graphic below (screengrab from adobe bridge) to see a larger version of how the nights light took shape.