Mad River Light

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We’ve all heard that saying before, but the question is, have you listened to that advice?  Sometimes I think I know better and give up, figuring it will save the wasted time.  It’s a toss-up between giving it (whatever it is) another try or listening to that other phrase I’ve heard before;  insanity is the repeating of something over and over again, expecting different results.


Mad River Light – Warren, VT

I learned a while ago to never expect the same results when it comes to photography.  Too many changing variables make it an impossible task, although it might be a fun experiment to attempt: Try and take the exact same photo on two separate days.  I doubt an exact match could happen, but it would be interesting to see how close the two could get.

By the end of my most recent trip to the Mad River Valley, I was beginning to wonder if getting mediocre results was all that I was going to get at this one particular spot that week.  I had been there  every day of the trip.  Sunrise, sunset, cloudy, sunny, and each night when I looked through the days captures, I would be disappointed with the results.  Not always bad, but just not the beautiful scenes I was seeing in person.  I was missing something and made it a goal to go back on my last day and figure it out.

I sat there for about 15 minutes, just looking around while remembering the photos that had come up short.  I knew I needed to showcase the light better for this scene, but until then I had missed what I was doing wrong and I concluded that it was nothing.  The cloudy days simply lacked the punch that the scene needed and the photos from the previous sunny days had way too much contrast in them to ever photograph well in one exposure.

It was about an hour prior to heading home from our summer vacation before I figured this out, so I was feeling a little embarrassed, but I was also glad I hadn’t given up.  There was still time to shoot and I probably had some good sets from the previous days to edit as well. They just needed some HDR and color work.

That was still unproven to me though and I wasn’t going to rely on speculation for what I knew could be a beautiful image, so I grabbed my gear, setup, and refocused on the same rock I had the previous 4 days.  This time, paying close attention to the histogram on the back of my camera to make sure I captured the full range of light.

Processing was done with the following applications and in the sequence listed: Lightroom; Photomatix; Lightroom; Photoshop; Lightroom; Nik Color Efex Pro; and Lightroom.  Not every image I work on is quite this involved, but you can see that Adobe Lightroom is the goto program in my workflow.  After every step of the process, I look at it in LR and almost always make a tweak or two.  When I’m finally happy, the image gets added to a fav collection where I can export it in just about any format I need. There are limits to everything of course and LR is no different.  That’s where the other programs come in. Cloning and masking are done in Photoshop. HDR processing is done in Photomatix, and color tweaking is done with the Nik product.   They are all just tools in box.  If the vision is there, the results will follow.   This image was one of the last from the trip, but it is very high on my list of memories from it and it proved again, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I will add the before photos to the Facebook page soon if you want to see the transformation for yourself.

Mad River Light


Tomorrow I’ll have a “who to follow” and an image from Cape Cod.


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