I made my plans early in 2013 for a September trip to Yosemite and Mono Lake in California and the Maroon Bells in Colorado. Reservations and prepayments were made. So far, so good.
Then, a careless hunter started a major forest fire north of Yosemite when he just had to have a campfire one afternoon during a major drought when open fires were banned. (He was caught leaving the area as the fire team was coming in). But I was committed so off I went.
First of all, the waterfalls were practically nonexistent due to the time of year plus the drought. And by the way, there was flooding just east of Yosemite in Nevada. I had to detour around one of them! But the reflections were lovely due to the placid Merced River. Everything was fine in the Yosemite area for the first few days. The smoke went north and east (and made it as far as Detroit). But then the winds shifted. The view from Washburn point looked like this.
The next day's view from Glacier Point looked like this.
In the days of film, game over. Either the sky or the valleys are unacceptable. But this is the digital age. I took a sky from the first day and, in Photoshop, inserted it into the sky from the second day using layers. The result after a lot of work is this
I think it is a big improvement. Do you? So with digital a lot of wasted time and money can be salvaged. Other images could not be saved and will require another trip.
This type of editing is a no-no for documentary photography as the National Geographic Magazine knows. A photographer moved an Egyptian Pyramid to make the image look better and it was picked for the cover. The editors didn't catch it but readers did. Then the editors did catch a lot of flak! But my fine art photography has a different goal. I want to present a scene as I felt it, as it is when it lives up to its potential. I salt to taste digitally speaking! But nothing is new here. Ansel Adams used his darkroom like I use Adobe Lightroom, except I have much more flexibility. His Moonrise over Hernandez print changed a lot over the years for instance. A lot of “editing” was done with filters on the camera lens. Then, color film users picked the film they used based at least in part on its color bias. Warm colors, cool colors, high or low contrast, etc. All this to allow a photographer to present a scene to his/her liking, which extends in the digital age to... salvage operations!
print only pricing
2013 marks the first year I have offered a print only option which allows the buyer to mat the print as desired. Simple enough until time to set the price. You see, I crop many of my images....
Not all photographers crop. In fact, some photographers used to include the film sprockets in their prints to show that they were presenting the entire image. They cropped in the view finder. Others, including me, feel we can get a stronger image (Edward Weston terminology) by cropping and we're not willing to throw such an image away. We crop! Such an example is shown below. The first image is the un-cropped version.
The subject of this image is the fantastic colors in the rock wall by the stream and their reflection in the water. But the foliage to the left adds nothing to the subject and in fact, the bright area in the upper left attracts attention away from the wall. So, I cropped.
Is the cropped image the better one? I think so, but as in all things art you will have to decide for yourself.
Since the image is somewhat smaller now should the price be the same? If it is matted, I would place both images in the same size mat. The cropped image would simply have a different border. Based on this fact, I am pricing each print based on the mat size I would use for it.
Art Festivals - The Process
2013 is well underway and my art festival season is just starting to take form. Am I procrastinating? Well, no. It takes awhile. The process goes like this.
- First, I select a set of art fairs that I would like to exhibit at.
- To apply I send a jury fee ($30 typically) and three or four examples of my work plus an image of my booth. I am told exactly what to submit and how to submit it. A jury uses these images to select participants.
- I then wait for the results of the jury selection process. I can be accepted , put on the wait list or rejected. If a spot opens up, the spot will be filled from artists on the wait list.
- If selected, I then pay the exhibitors fee ($200 - $500 typically) and mark my calendar.
- If rejected, I now have an open spot on my calendar. Typically it is too late to apply to other art fairs happening on that date. For that reason some artists will apply to multiple art fairs on a given date hoping that they will be accepted by at least one of them. That of course drives up the cost of admission...
While all this is happening, the work to be exhibited is being readied and the booth is being upgraded and repaired. When all is ready with the booth the work to be displayed is set up in it and a photograph of the booth is taken for next season's jury process (if needed).
As each art fair weekend approaches, the weather report for that area becomes very interesting!
Oh yeah, also during this process, plans are made to take images, images images. Some of these will be used next season and some may be used this season. This September I'll be shooting in California and Colorado as well as around my home in southwestern Virginia - so far.