Steadfast in Dormancy – Revisions

Original after colour correction.

Recently, I mentioned a couple of my photography redos. While I’m at it, I’ll show one more.

One of the photography blogs I really enjoy following is Brian Gaynor Photography. Brian recently posted a shot of a small tree in a snow blind setting. He titled the post “Break in the Landscape”. It’s a beautiful landscape image that reminded me of a maple that I shot in February 2008 during an ice fog.

This isn’t exactly an image made out in the woods. My wife and I were actually driving around the countryside, looking for interesting rural scenes to capture. I wasn’t focussed on nature photography. We had made a few stops but eventually we came across this tree in a field. I got her to stop the car and I made my way closer to what I was seeing. As she saw what my attention was directed toward she exclaimed that she saw it too.

It was such a bright and exceptionally cold winter day that ice crystals hung in the air making nearly everything in sight foggy yet glowing at the same time. There were no human, domestic or wild animal tracks visible, no man-made obstructions abound, not even a bird on the branch. Other than a small forest off to my right, this little maple was completely isolated in the elements.

The first B/W version.

The second I saw this tree as we drove by, I was struck by the dichotomy of impressions that welled up in me from looking at it. The scene almost looked like a lost and lonely child, yet strong and independent as it braved the cold. The vision gave me warmth. I was observing not just a sight but a moment in nature and time. Like any artistic photographer, I strived to capture that moment. Relying on carefully selected manual settings, “Steadfast in Dormancy” was the result. Out of all my nature photography, it has become a bit of a favoured image with people looking for photographic art.

I wound up writing a poem in response to the experience of seeing this little tree in the bitter cold, and tried to convince myself for a very long time to be satisfied with making and displaying one B/W version of the image but I have never been truly happy with the rendition that I had let others see; which is the first monochrome version.

At the top of this post is the original after colour correction. Nobody has seen this version until now. The only version that some have seen is the first monochrome rendition that my wife fell in love with, framed and hung in our dining room, and that others have purchased prints of.

I did also prepare a second B/W version with increased contrast that is the most like Brian’s image but I never let anyone see it either until now because I don’t like the way it negates too much of the natural ice fog effect.

The second B/W version.

Brian responded to my comment on his page, and asked to see my picture. So here it is in all three current versions.

It might not be in keeping with the title of this landscape piece, and the poem that I wrote but I’m open to hear critique. What would you think I should do this improve this landscape piece?

The world is a cold place, as everybody knows.
It’s so difficult to stand on your own.
Sometimes you must sleep deep to regain your strength.
Even worse, is when you can weather the harshest season
But others see you and assume that you are incapable.

Do not waste time and energy seeking their validation.
Find it within yourself to stand strong.
Even while you sleep, your senses must remain awake.
Prepare to blossom
When spring comes around.


26 thoughts on “Steadfast in Dormancy – Revisions

  1. I actually can’t decide between the monochrome one you have on your wall and the original colour corrected version. There is something about the tonality of that one that I really like – partially because the gound is a bit more evident. Both are great.

  2. I prefer the original after colour correction. In the BW versions the background blends to much into the foreground, but in the original you can catch a glimpse of the fine line that separates foreground/background.

  3. I’m with the cardinal above, and I prefer the first version. But then, I’m a bit of a purist where photography’s concerned. However – I don’t know if the colour correction has caused that pinkish bow at the top of the picture, and in its current state it looks great.
    But …. I hope you don’t mind, but out of curiosity I copied your first picture and put in on PShop. I tried “apply image” at various percentages and increasing the contrast at various percentages, and I’ve noticed that any further correction just distorts that bow. My guess, if you really WANT to make any other changes (which I don’t think you need personally) is that you may be better going back to the ORIGINAL original (before colour correction) and make your changes in contrast or whatever first.
    But I love it anyway.
    Oh, and don’t worry – I’ve now deleted your pic off my computer 🙂

    • Yes, if I were to make more changes I’d definitely work from the uncorrected original.

      I’m glad that you experimented (and thanks for deleting afterward), it’s always indicates to me that there is a dedicated artists that wants to push themselves and hopefully inspire others. I like to network and collaborate with other visual artists for creativity and the proliferation of each other’s work. I totally welcome it.

  4. Beautiful. I like the color “correction” one, but the original is lovely and there is something in me that…pauses at the word “correction.” Why don’t they say alteration or enhanced instead of corrected? Aren’t you manipulating the image to bring forth what you feel in it… Maybe it is corrected in the sense that it corrects for us what was in you…maybe I just have word hang ups.
    When I lived in Italy it snowed a LOT. One morning I woke up and the snow was literally a orangish pink hue. I thought my eyes deceived me but no, it was the sirocco winds blowing sand over from Africa. Amazing. Your “corrected” photo made me think of that quite strange morning.

    • I get your meaning. I remember this discussion from way back when I started photography lesson in my highschool art class. Colour correction is somewhat of a subjective term, and somewhat of a standard in photography jargon (but most shooters don’t get hung up on the details of its use after they’ve been shooting for some years).

      It is widely recognized that from the time of the daguerreotype, cameras are incapable of seeing and recording scenes as humans can which is a purely mental ability. This still exists today with even the most sophisticated still photography and video recording systems (like bullet time) that come pretty close. Generally, colour correction refers to efforts to manually overcome the mechanical limitations of the equipment to replicate at least the colour (perspective is another critical aberration) of a scene as viewed in nature. The deliberate alteration of either a natural colour that was manually achieved or the near natural colour produced by the equipment is considered to be a manipulation or “alteration”.

      I am so glad that you brought that up!

  5. I thought the top color corrected version was beautiful until I scrolled down and saw the original. That one is the best in my opinion. There’s something about the entire outside edge of the branches. Fog or mist or halo or something. I like that. Your poem ends with giving me hope. This was good to wake up to. Thanks.

  6. I loved the second one (first B/W version). [Please note that although I see some of the comments above mentioning about the “original one”, I don’t see the “original one”…I see only 3 photographs. Anyways …]
    I loved the second one because, it generates a mystic feeling in me … undistributed by any color. Also white is peaceful. The contrast is just right as opposed to the third one which in my mind has a little too much contrast.

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