IT CAN BE REALLY BLUE - 26 April 2014
Sunrise and Ranch Road - Milnesand, NM
Full resolution file can be found here: http://www.tom-hill.biz/Galleries/Scenics/New-Mexico/i-Q9zr9Zj/A
Sometimes looking at pictures after you're done shooting and sitting in the comfort of your office, you look and wonder how the colors can be what they are. "Can they be this blue?" Yes, they most certainly can.
The human brain is an amazing computer. It does things so automatically that rarely you're conscious of what it's compensating for. In this case it's color. Our brains make a strong effort to change colors, or at least the colors we perceive so that the environment appears more natural. The most obvious example of this is what happens when you're shooting pictures at high altitude, let's say 10,000 ft.
Back in the day, we used to use compensating films that warmed up a scene that was excessively blue such as when you were at the top of mountain peaks. This happened at high altitude where the blue in the sun's light rays were more scattered than the other colors. If we didn't know this, we would be surprised by our "blue" pictures when we got home. We didn't see the blue yet, the camera captured it. What was going on? The brain was compensating for the blue because it's one of the things it does. But, if you really think about it while you're up there standing on the mountain peak, you can actually see that blue tinge. It's the same with these sunrises.
This leads us to this image. As much as I might think there's a more subtle contrast between the red and blue, in reality the color difference that's captured is much more dynamic which has the ingredients of amazing dramatic images like we have here. Of course, I modified the tonal relationship between the brightest and darkest sections of this image. I made the lighter sections a bit dark while bringing up the darker ones. Otherwise, you couldn't see the tone/color balance you see here. Does that mean I "Photoshoped" the image? I guess it does. Does it mean I up this image and the colors weren't there? No, I did not. I try to limit my tonal manipulations so I only realize in my final product what I believe I saw out there. I see an image in my mind's eye. I capture images with my camera out in the field using exposure settings that'll give me the best chance back in the office when I do my manipulations. Then, I try to bring these image files together into a final product that's representative what I was saw with my mind's eye back when I pushed the shutter.
This process sounds complicated but it's not. The only complicated part is developing the discipline to create a process from imagining what you see through your final product.