I’m not sure who said it first, but the advice, “When you think you’ve found the best shot, turn around and look behind you” was the wise counsel that left me with a keeper during an early morning shoot in the Catskills.
I’d stopped to photograph a waterfall from a stone bridge when a cloud blew in silently but with amazing swiftness. Suddenly, the friendly upstate New York mountains felt more like a spooky English moor. The mist was so thick that the waterfall below the bridge utterly disappeared in the haze. Thinking that the best shooting for this location was at an end, I meandered back to the car to pack up and travel to another scene. Approaching the car, I turned around to look back at the bridge. Leaping lizards! The scene was completely transformed by the cloud; the atmosphere was filled with depth and intrigue, whereas moments before it had been as routine as cornflakes and nonfat milk. The camera went back on the tripod with a 24–105mm lens providing perfect fine-tuning for the composition.
Back at the studio it was time to build the image step by step, taking whatever liberties were required to add soul and interest to the Raw capture. I never even bothered with the earlier images shot from the bridge.
The experts tell us to make as many image adjustments as possible in Adobe CameraRaw (ACR) or Lightroom, and that’s just what I did, tweaking the shadows, highlights, and color as best I could with the controls in ACR. All my friends know I have a terrible fear of commitment (except in the all-important arena of marital bliss) and that fear is nowhere more apparent than in my digital workflow.