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Rain Coming

Posted by
john4jack (Corvallis, Oregon, United States) on 9 March 2009 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Hope that everyone had a nice weekend.

Have been thinking a lot about the digital darkroom lately. The technology and software that is available today is astounding (and we are just in the infancy stage). Many of you love it and are doing excellent creative work using it. You have my utmost respect and admiration; you truly do. However, my goal is to try to get the photograph to look as close as possible to what I remember seeing. A couple of months ago, Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski, two experts and gurus who have as broad and as deep a knowledge of the technology and software as anyone, had a conversation on Photoshop User TV as to what they themselves actually "do." It went like this. They quickly delete anything that they think is not a quality photograph. Then they make a few adjustments (for them, generally in Lightroom, and occasionally in Photoshop) that RAW files require. And a very few photographs get a little further processing. It is a very quick, down and dirty process. I don't know why, but that conversation brought a tremendous sense of relief for me. I really don't have to buy and learn and use every resource that is available. What I am now committed to is learning and using a few resources well. I simply do not have the time or the energy, or, for that matter, even the desire to take in and digest and use all of what is available. I couldn't pull it off even if it was my heart's desire. What I love is being in the field and shooting. When I am out there shooting, I lose all sense of time (and sometimes, even space). I feel like I have died and gone to heaven. My heart and my soul overflow (I realize that that sounds sloppily sentimental, but it is true). Many of you know exactly what I mean! (And maybe, just maybe, I will be able to bring myself to get rid of that humongous backlog of articles and books and bookmarked files and tutorials that I will never get to.)

“Spirit isn’t a phenomenon; it is the whispered truth within a phenomenon. As such, spirit is gentle; it persuades by the softest touch. The messages never get louder, only clearer.”
– Deepak Chopra

NIKON D700 1/400 second F/8.0 ISO 200 70 mm (35mm equiv.)

rem_la from Villiers, France

c'est le calme avant la pluie !

9 Mar 2009 5:17am

Linerberry from Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand

I absolutely and totally agree!!!! Myself, jamesy and Maxine were only saying that very same thing the other day on our trip. I too am relieved that i won't feel under pressure to learn all that is out there....I can stick to my basic software and constantly strive for that perfect untouched image:-)
This is truely a beautiful shot with lovely tones and lighting...the rain is deffinately coming!!!

9 Mar 2009 5:55am

-1q5yChØt!c- from Persia, Iran

very lovely and beautiful day...perfect and excellent shot...bravo !!!i like it ;)

9 Mar 2009 6:05am

Yvonne S. from Tilburg, Netherlands

Rain is coming, nice shot!

9 Mar 2009 6:10am

Didier from somewhere, France

Beautiful light and colors

9 Mar 2009 6:19am

Mike from Lichfield, United Kingdom

I really like this photo. There's a lot of warm light contrasting against the clouds. great shot.

9 Mar 2009 6:28am

Jean-François from Les Issambres, France

superbe lumière sur ciel admirable !

9 Mar 2009 6:37am

Sof from Neuchâtel, Switzerland

J'adore ce genre de couleurs.. très intense avant que la pluie arrive

9 Mar 2009 6:49am

Stunner from Kingston, Jamaica

It is certainly coming with those dark clouds in the background! Nice shot!

9 Mar 2009 6:53am

mo.langel from Courtelary, Switzerland

Très belles couleurs et une magnifique lumière!

9 Mar 2009 6:53am

Nicholas from Shah Alam, Malaysia

Beautiful photo :) I guess some of us are artist right off the camera and some of us are artist when we touch a processing program. I am not sure where I belong to as I really enjoy both! :)

9 Mar 2009 7:11am

Craig from Vacaville, California, United States

An ominous sky!

9 Mar 2009 7:15am

Lydie et Roland from BESANCON, France

Fantastic saturations of the colors... And nice composition. Very nice Jack !

9 Mar 2009 7:21am

Marie LC from Voiron, France

Jolie compo et lumière superbe

9 Mar 2009 7:32am

socketless from Canberra, Australia

I love the brooding clouds. Great composition.

9 Mar 2009 7:43am

Mathilde from Fontainebleau, France

A thunderstorm forms in the sky! I love this very special light! unpredictable! Beautiful image

9 Mar 2009 7:57am

k@ from Paris, France

The rain coming, yes... and it offers such a great duet of gray & blonde tones !

9 Mar 2009 8:06am

chrissy from uk, United Kingdom

nice landscape

9 Mar 2009 8:24am

jamesy from christchurch, New Zealand

beautiful shot I bet it poured down

9 Mar 2009 8:56am

PATRICK from miramas, France

Beautiful composition and beautiful light before the rain but after the rain we also have of magnificent landscape good job!

9 Mar 2009 9:07am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

This is fantastic shot.. the dark grey sky and the earthy colours of the ground complement each other well!

9 Mar 2009 10:00am

dan from Paris, France

Between sun and rain the light floods this beautiful landscape.

9 Mar 2009 11:04am

don from spokane, United States

I like the developing clouds and the rain they appear to offer... very soon. An attractive scene with the barn and water tower for focus points. An effective shot. I liked your comment about the tools we use.

9 Mar 2009 11:45am

zOOm from Paris, France

I like when a storm is coming, there's such a weird color and light in the sky that violently contrats the yellow/green of the fields (when it's the season, of course). A perfect palette, a divine painting.

9 Mar 2009 11:55am

Ninni from Brazil

A wonderful photo! I love the colours, the warm yellow field and the the dark bluegrey sky...Sooo lovely!

9 Mar 2009 12:10pm

Judy from Brooksville, Florida, United States

How very timely, Jack! Your photo is beautiful, but equally riveting for me personally, is your text.

I was looking this weekend at some software online ... do I need/want it ... do I not? You've convinced me I do NOT! Last Friday I took about 200 photos of flowers. I needed some color in my life as our area of FL was hard hit by numerous frosts and so much hasn't greened up as yet. The azaleas bloomed (too early) in January due to a warm spell, so our normal February blast of colorful shrubery was missing. Anyway, I was thrilled with some of my shots ... not one STITCH of processing needed. A few I cropped to get ride of unwanted elements and a little sharpening sometimes, but in general, I was a 'purist' and it felt good! Some of them will appear here on AM3 over time.
Thanks again for your 'documentary'!

9 Mar 2009 12:27pm

@Judy: Judy, my situation is this. If I do the shooting that I want to do, I end up with way, way more photographs than I can conceivably use. In fact the ones that require little processing way exceed what I can use. In reality it is a rare shot that is worth extensive processing. I'm a rank amateur (which means lover); so I do photography only because I love it. Consequently my time and energy should go only to what brings joy and fulfillment. This does not by any means exclude hard work, but it is hard work that brings deep satisfaction.

Polydactyle from Montreal, Canada

Very nice contrast between the sky and the ground. Nice frame too!

9 Mar 2009 12:32pm

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

Excellent shot Jack! I really like the light you have captured, the contrast of the dark sky against the green grass. Your composition is beautiful!

9 Mar 2009 1:04pm

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

I know exactly what you mean by forgetting everything around you and getting caught by the photo virus ... it's great therapy and a great way to blow of some steam. This is a beautiful photo, exactly how I see a landscape when the sky gets dark ... the beautiful light that enhances the colors! Great capture!

9 Mar 2009 1:11pm

Alivia from Saint-Etienne, France

quel ciel merveilleux et quel lumière dramatique sur le jaune vert cru du pré, c'est un contraste étonnant qui crée une atmosphère tellement intense, magnifique John .

9 Mar 2009 1:15pm

Anna.C from LA ROCHELLE, France

I agree with you Jack and feel the same. You know I don't use processing software, just a very basic one for some light retouching. I love natural shot if possible ! I love your landscape today, especially this beautiful lighting, the dark sky and the strong contrasts with the colors of fields.

9 Mar 2009 1:16pm

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece

Wonderful colors!

9 Mar 2009 1:37pm

Barbara from Florida, United States

I love the light in the field and those dark heavy clouds.
The clarity of the image is remarkable, I feel as though I could step into the frame of the shot and be there.
I like what you expressed here. Capturing the image as you were seeing it, is a real photographer in my opinion. I think you passed that test here.
I completely relate to your experience of being out there in the field. As nature is my passion.
Although I do like to "tinker" with photo software from time to time.
Your part of the country has so much beauty to capture that a camera is all you need.
I always look forward to your images.

9 Mar 2009 1:45pm

@Barbara: Thanks, Barbara. I have learned a great deal about the digital darkroom these past few years. My problem is that there is so much that is available that one could drown in it. When you shoot in RAW, as I do, you have to do some processing. The questions become: 1. how fulfilling is this part of the photographic journey? and, 2. how much time do I want to devote to it? You mention "tinkering"; sometimes I enjoy playing around just to see what things will do.

Ajay from Pune, India

A very unusual shot. I like how the land has so much lighting under the dark clouds. That's just so beautiful.

9 Mar 2009 2:29pm

@Ajay: It's the direction from which the light was coming that created the effect.

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

I just love this light! Electric!

9 Mar 2009 3:08pm

Pradeep from Chennai, India

Beautiful contrasts, amazing light. Superb :)

9 Mar 2009 3:16pm

EYES WIDE SHUT from United Kingdom

I think you truly summed up why so many of us enjoy photography in such eloquent and heartfelt words, Jack. I think the amount of time and effort devoted to processing our images is a really personal thing, and ultimately in my humble opinion, if we are not professional photographers, and not looking to make money or a living from our work, then it becomes a personal decision that only we can make as to the processes used, and what goals and rules we set ourselves.

Losing all sense of time, when out taking photographs is one of those marvellous feelings that I can relate to, and I bet so can everyone here. Oh, and a marvellous image by the way, with wonderful composition and such atmosphere from those ominous clouds.

A great post, Jack

9 Mar 2009 3:36pm

@EYES WIDE SHUT: Thanks, Paul! I am very much with you about processing being a personal thing. I write these little messages primarily to imbed them within myself.

Veronelle from Lens, France

beautifull landscape

9 Mar 2009 3:42pm

Michael Rawluk from Williams Lake, BC, Canada

Although I occasionally 'play' with a shot, I usually do what I used to do in the darkroom. It is all interpretation from the moment you decide to point the camera. Just look at Ansel Adams shots for examples of a master of manipulation.
I am like you when it comes to wandering with a camera. Hours go by and it seems like minutes.

9 Mar 2009 3:47pm

@Michael Rawluk: Ansel Adams did almost all of his truly creative work in the darkroom. He is the paradigm for those who love to spend time in the digital darkroom.

Diane Schuller from Hythe, Canada

That is my process exactly Jack and my philosophy (in my "about" page I have written that I use a very light hand with post processing). I do experiment a bit but my post processing is "quick & dirty" too. I love my time behind the camera so much and am like a kid waiting to see if what appears on screen is as I saw it in the 'field'. Love your colour contrasts especially with this stormy sky. Fine work.

9 Mar 2009 3:48pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

That sun wont last for long. The rain is definitely on its way. Nice.

9 Mar 2009 4:17pm

@Steve Rice: That was taken a very short distance from our house. By the time we got home, the first drops were coming down!

kerfendal from Paris, France

great atmosphere, just before the storm, before the crisis it's not yet the crisis

9 Mar 2009 4:19pm

@kerfendal: The quality of light before a storm is often exquisite. For me, it was the light on the water tank especially that made the shot.

Manel from Girona, Spain

About your aticle question: Art is art, the way you used to arrive, is not important. The final result is all. If we have talent we can do a work of art, in any art discipline. All we must to looking for the masterpice, and for that there aren't rules. So... the final result of your today's photo is exellent, if you are happy whit it, me to. Thanks

9 Mar 2009 4:34pm

@Manel: Indeed, art is art, Manel. The article arose out of my own very personal need to not be drowned in the deluge of technology and software that is available. It was a message to myself.

Hema Iyer from Bangalore, India

Very beautiful shot, Jack.

9 Mar 2009 5:10pm

marc battault from clermont ferrand, France

fantastic ambiance ! wonderful shot !

9 Mar 2009 5:15pm

NarB from Bruxelles, Belgium

Superbe composition et très jolie lumière, j'aime beaucoup.

9 Mar 2009 7:17pm

Yvon from Orleans, France

very nice shot, I can see rain coming, wonderful, artistic like a painting

9 Mar 2009 7:20pm

shallowregret from Kongsberg, Norway

very beautiful light.
I too try to keep it simple, extensive manipulation turns me off.

9 Mar 2009 8:11pm

dogilicious from Millerstown, PA, United States

I would have to assume the fable "calm before the storm." The light makes for a nice contrast between the sky and the earth.

9 Mar 2009 8:25pm

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

First off, Your shot is wonderful, just the way it is....if you can catch a real sense of what was there, without help, it's just wonderful......Now here's my big BUT..... not only do I love my time behind the camera, I'm also learning to love the possibilities that are out there for manipulation!!! And fact in point is.... I have posted hdr shots, not heavily manipulated, without mentioning hdr, and have had wonderful comments from people.... so I am a firm believer in making a shot even better, if possible...... Sorry to the purists, but that's just me!!!

9 Mar 2009 8:31pm

@Susan: I am far from being a purist, Susan. All you have to do is look at my frames, vignetting, toning, etc. to see that. What I mean by learning and using a few resources well is this. In my workflow, I try to be ruthless in deleting lousy shots. Then I go into the Develop module of Lightroom and make certain basic adjustments. I am working on learning LR well. If I need to do cloning or use certain plug-ins, I go to Photoshop CS4. I use either Nik's Dfine or Noiseware to get rid of noise. All of my B&W conversions are done in Silver Efex Pro. On occasion, I use Nik's Color Efex Pro. I use Nik's Sharpener Pro 3.0 for output sharpening. If I want a frame, I use onOne's PhotoFrame 4.0. That may sound like a lot, but it's really not; especially when compared to what is available. All of it is very helpful in creating what I remember seeing. Because of the limited dynamic range of capture of "all" digital cameras, I am learning Photomatix. My goal in HDR is to be able deal with wide dynamic ranges of exposure. If I learn to use all of this software well, I will be one happy camper. Plus, plus, sometimes I like to play. I have become intrigued with Amy's composites (background layers); some of her results are outstanding.

willow from United States

I know what you mean about being out and about with a camera in my hand - it's almost a form of meditation for me - I can get so lost (happily lost) in what I am doing and seeing that nothing else matters and time stands still. That's why I never schedule anything else on planned "photo days" - I always wind up losing track of time and/or totally forgetting my other commitments. I also know what you mean about processing - I'm not a "purist" either, but I enjoy taking good images so much that processing is really just the finishing touch. It is fun to play around with different effects oince in awhile just to see what happens, but I'd much rather have my finger on the shutter than on the keyboard.

Nice image btw. Perfectly lit to show off the landscape despite the ominous clouds.

9 Mar 2009 9:17pm

@willow: In an economy of words, Willow, you state my position perfectly!

Observing from North West, United Kingdom

Exactly Jack, I fully agree. These wonderful photographic tools that we have should be used to record the true moment only, and I always try to preserve what I've seen. That's a nice old storm coming up there !!

9 Mar 2009 10:36pm

Francesc B. from région parisienne, France

Fantastic light, and great tones... tomorrow... under the rain ???

9 Mar 2009 11:00pm

vu@granby Gilles Martineau from Granby, Québec, Canada

Very beautiful colors and wonderful light popping out of the grass!

9 Mar 2009 11:02pm

Sandrine from Cincinnati, United States

Wonderful lighting! Beautiful place...

9 Mar 2009 11:20pm

JJ from Jersey City, United States

Such a great shot, such dramatic clouds
Interesting to read your write up, I too enjoy most the shooting and try to make my processing look like what I saw when I shot, I do must of my work in Lightroom and try to do it as quickly as possible to get a shot pleasing to my eye and like what I actually saw, I dont really have the time or energy to try and get into any more depth editing

9 Mar 2009 11:27pm

@JJ: Well, JJ, your results are outstanding!!

akarui from Kagoshima, Japan

The light is wonderful and the sky gives a dramatic mood.

10 Mar 2009 12:17am

Lee from Fort Frances Ontario, Canada

Very well said Jack. I am the only one I know who can go on a walk, for 3 -4 hours easily and not travel a few hundred yards. It may cost me 4-5 gb of memory cards, but it's well worth it.
As for processing, I'm with you. As little as possible. I don't even spend much time on Silly Tuesday processing. Speaking of which.

I do try to show what I saw. Perhaps that's why it takes so many cards and memory. Bracket, bracket, bracket, re-adjust, reshoot etc etc etc..
By the way, great shot, excellent light.

10 Mar 2009 12:49am

@Lee: Thanks, Lee.

Susan from Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States have fun with's possibilities are almost limitless, and learning just the right way to adjust it is fun, and quite satisfying!!!

10 Mar 2009 2:25am

amy from Nanaimo, BC, Canada

Hmmm.. you give great thought ... or as I just heard earlier this evening; a pond cannot reflect unless it is absolutely still. That one is still resonating with me. I call it being in the zone when I'm out there with my kit... it's almost a form of meditation. I too do back flips when I get that perfect shot but my mind's eye is also seeing the possibilities of things unseen but felt; dream-like emotions, I guess. The whole process for me from being out "in the field" to sitting down at my digital darkroom is all part and parcel of the artistic endeavor. Each of my composites are a labour of love... pouring my heart and soul into the image and peeling away the layers of what moves me. What I can't articulate with words I try with my art. I never could colour and stay within the lines LOL!! And yet what you've achieved with this image is so perfect with the light and composition and it's a true delight to the eyes and senses.

10 Mar 2009 3:33am

@amy: I am absolutely enchanted with your work, Amy! You can take almost any photograph and transform it into a work of art. I prefer it when you do your composites; they are so exquisite! That is clearly what you do best, and no one does them better. It is so obvious that you love creating them. Every day I search you out on my blogwatch, anticipating what jewel you will share with us.

Cricket-Tammy from United States confession time. I do not own any processing software other than what came with my IMAC. I do not fault those that use it I just don't have the time to alter my images. While taking my pictures I try my best to take them as I would see them on my computer without any alterations. I convert to B&W, sepia, etc. but my capabilities are rather limited.

I am drawn to soft images and those that are not altered that much. On the other hat goes off to those that have the time, skill, and patience to work with a picture. I do enjoy viewing those images as well...and many times I will say, "AHHHHH" when I see what amazing things can be done.

So....with that being said I want to tell you how much I love this picture. The sky looks wicked!

10 Mar 2009 3:52am

@Cricket-Tammy: You produce some amazing results with such limited post-processing; just amazing! Bravo!

Scott Schilling from San Martin, United States

This is great - I can almost smell the rain! Wonderful colors and tones.

10 Mar 2009 4:48am

@Scott Schilling: Thanks, Scott.

Anita from West Nottingham, United States

Beautiful light in this image.
I see your post got a lot of responses! One of the many benefits of computers is that they allow us to use them as much or as little as we want. I find that most images shot if RAW, require a little processing. However, I am still using PS7--years old. It meets my needs.

10 Mar 2009 11:06am

@Anita: Good for you, Anita.

Martine from Brest, France

Très jolie lumière !

10 Mar 2009 3:49pm

Laurie from New Jersey, United States

Wonderful country scene. I love the dark sky and quality of the light.

I am pretty much a minimalist when it comes to processing images. Lightroom RAW conversion and then PS for curves when needed. I like the control I get with photoshop for applying curves. 9 times out of 10 that is it in terms of my processing. I have found some interesting presets for Lightroom. I will play with those from time to time.

There are some occasions where I will apply some other techniques...usually subtle and most often because I want to create a certain mood...often for a particular for a client. You will see me apply these techniques to photos on my site(s) from time to time in an effort to learn what works and more importantly what doesn't. Sometimes softer quality and muted tones are required than what was original to the image so you will see that from me. Sometimes a client is looking for a little more punch so I will experiment with that some as well. I've also been doing some more variations on monochrome images...just for fun. Some work some don't. I am still using cs2 with no plans to upgrade...I am comfortable with what I have and what I already know how to do.

Like you I much prefer to spend my time behind the camera than in front of the computer screen. But I've also found that sometimes, at least when it comes to the work part of what I do, some artistic interpretation in editing is required. It is growing on me but I still don't spend more than 5 or 10 minutes on an image, often less than that, and most of that time is spent debating with

10 Mar 2009 4:23pm

@Laurie: Thanks, Laurie, for your thoughtful comment. It's nice to know your workflow.

Denise from Perry, United States

This photo is beautiful, looks like it could have been taken from my back yard. The clouded sky is ominus, yet for those in areas of potential drought it is the answer to prayers.

11 Mar 2009 2:08am

Lesley from Lincoln, United States

Fantastic shot! I love the lighting. This reminds me so much of our summer afternoons when the humid is building and the thunderstorms are about to let loose.

I also enjoyed reading your thoughts on the "digital darkroom." Personally, I don't have the time or inclination to learn all the bells and whistles to alter my photos. Like you, I'd much rather spend time outside shooting the photos and tweaking them a little bit (lighting & cropping) to bring them as close to what I remember shooting. I'm in awe of all the talent here at Aminus3 and my own preferences are in no way a judgment of those who choose to use extensive post-processing. It's just not my cuppa.

11 Mar 2009 2:22am

@Lesley: Right; thanks, Les.

Véro from Peisey-Nancroix, France

Beautiful atmosphere and contrast on these threatening clouds.

11 Mar 2009 4:59am

marcel lemieux/star_cosmos_bleu from Bedford.Quebec, Canada

Lovely landscape capture that composition....nice light since its fairly hard to get in this type of upcoming weather..very lovely..and the intro is cool..i do some post- processing and other time its straight from the camera..just a bit of for when in the nature..i,m like you on that one...i blend in and am part of it...have a nice day

12 Mar 2009 2:28pm

Alfredo J. Martiz J. from Panama City, Panama

Beautiful photo Jack, my opinion on this conversation is as follows, the amount of software that exist for doing creative work and processing photography is impressive, surely mastering all of them takes time, sometimes so much time that we end on spending less time discovering curious things, visiting interesting places or enjoying life with the loved ones. This doesn't mean that I disagree with learning different techniques and applications because that is not the case, we should welcome them but we should not forget that balance needs to exist and that sometimes the simple things convey more emotions than something extremely processed or retouched.
After the time I have spent on this photography journey during my free time (don't want to get to personal but would like to share this), I have found that I enjoy more wandering through different places and allowing precious moments to present themselves as I discover these unknown locations, rather than spending hours in front of the computer processing hundreds or thousands of photos; what I try to do, or my rule is to process only one photo a day, trying to keep a simple workflow and avoiding extreme changes, although I welcome experimentation or further processing if needed to express a feeling but being careful of not overdoing it; the photo processed that day is the one posted in the photoblog.
I believe that it is important to learn the basics, develop sensibility and experimenting from there, of course it is important to discover what do you like and what is it you are trying to find answers through your photography, and to have sources of inspiration for continuing a nurturing process, but must important of all is to have fun, love and believe in everything you do.

17 Mar 2009 3:19pm

@Alfredo J. Martiz J.: Thank you, Alfredo, for your very thoughtful comment. My desire is to support each person in whatever his or her goals might be. Last night at our Digital Photography Group meeting, the presenter seeks to think like a painter and he makes extensive use of Photoshop. I respect that, but it is not my goal. I am much more like you I think.

Mobius Faith from Akron, Ohio,, United States

A beautiful pastoral shot.

21 Mar 2009 9:49pm