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Posted November 21st, 2016

Autumn Renewal

After traveling past Sheep Mountain with my visiting friends, we continued up the Alaska Highway into Alaska and then turned off onto the Taylor Highway. This region is forested with generally stunted and spindly spruce. Forest fires in recent years have charred vast areas. But deciduous vegetation soon thrives in the open and ash-fertilized burn zones. In early September, it treated us to a fresh, magnificent tapestry of colour, contrasted against the stark, blackened tree skeletons. No smoke at this time, but fog was widely dispersed the day we passed through here and that is what softened the background in this image. Otherwise, the image was softened by my post-processing technique, in which I combined the photo with a blurred copy of itself. Many long time photographers will recognize this as comparable to an old in-camera film technique known as “Orton Imaging”, or an alternate method that involves sandwiching transparencies. André Gallant calls the technique I used “digital dreamscapes”. It can also be done the old way using a digital camera that has multi-exposure capability, and I have had some success trying that too. The effect is not identical amongst the different approaches. The great advantage of the post-processing method is that it can be applied to any digital image after the fact. I was inspired to do it in this case to emphasize the glorious, uplifting wash of colour over the landscape that represents the new life, whilst minimizing the distraction of the haphazard clutter of the new growth and deemphasizing the solemn starkness of the burnt trees.
Pentax K-1, Pentax HD D FA 28-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED DC WR @ 73mm, f/11, ISO 400