North Window Arch (My gateway to The Arcanum)

This is another photo that I had redone after getting more knowledge from The Arcanum. This is a recent photo. In fact, I had taken this photo ONE DAY before I got the e-mail telling me that my mentor / master, had chosen me. It was also among the first photos I processed from my vacation. I was very excited to have this photo when I first posted it. I still am proud of the photo. But I know that I would have been far more effective taking another photo like this in the future!


At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park
At the intersection of stone, horizon, sky, and sunrise: The North Window Arch at Arches National Park

What did I do differently? Well, in the original, the sky was getting a tonal shift. In this one, the sky is much smoother. The rest is finer detail work that increased the detail of the stones. I can honestly say it is an improvement! 

Chicago Skyline on liquid lights at night. (Redone)

I redid my Chicago Skyline photo from the Planetarium! This was, in my opinion, a significant improvement on the first one I did for many reasons. Not the least of which was the feedback and new skills learned in The Arcanum. This photo was taken on a relatively cool evening and Lake Michigan was still shaking off the last vestiges of ice on March 20, 2014. The thin sheen of flexible and floating ice is primarily the reason why the reflection looks like this. This was also the weekend after Saint Patrick’s Day. That’s the reason why some of the lights are green.


Chicago on Liquid Lights


I wish I was posting more to the blog lately. I’ve been getting a lot more information about photography while in the Arcanum. It is certainly informing my artistic choices. I recently had a review with my Mentor (they call it a “Master”, but I think to those not part of The Arcanum, it’s better understood as a Mentor).


I’ve basically learned that if I’m going to continue down this road of the ultra large panorama that I have to be committed to examining a lot more detail. I think this will give me a larger hurdle to jump than I previously thought. But it won’t keep me from trying! I’ve got a few more ideas to photograph. I got a couple in the works. There will be more to come. I know I keep saying that. But there will be.


Further processing notes about the photo:


This particular photo was stitched from 4 (but mostly 3) landscape positioned frames of the City. They were all 10 second exposures. I rotate the camera about one third through the frame for better stitching. When I processed the photos, the first thing I did was cool the color temperature down a bit so that I can bring out all the different colors of the lights. Then I used Microsoft Image Composite Editor to stitch the frames but to also save as a layered PSD file. Before I saved it though, I changed the stitching method and made the horizon level. (The original had a curved horizon!) I brought it into Photoshop and from there I did my final edits.


Please click on the photo to view it in Smugmug in super high resolution! This photo was made to be printed large on a 3×1 print. I recently changed printers with Smugmug to Bay Photo to accommodate this.

Sandstone Arch

The Sandstone Arch in Arches National Park is a really neat site. It is about three quarters of the way through the park on their main roadway. I highly recommend seeing it. It’s not along trail but it is a very unique one. The previous picture I released showed one of the ‘fins’ you have to walk between in order to get here.

As you can see, the colors of the sandstone is quite impressive. There are many variations of magenta, reds, oranges, and purples in these stone layers.

You have to walk past this cotton wood tree to get here, btw. But you still have to have water with you! When I got to this I knew I was already a bit dehydrated, but I also knew that it was a very short walk. If I knew the water spigot was not too far away, I think I would have stopped for that, first.

Why do I bring that up? I made a mistake in some of my shots here. I left my tripod in a scene. I wouldn’t have done that if I was thinking clearly. I would have been thinking clearly if I was hydrated.

Why did it take so long for me to post this? I’ve been learning a lot in The Arcanum. I put several new techniques into processing this. It’s funny, what I would have done two months ago would have been to just get it to where I’m ‘ok’ with it. But what did that feel like to me back then? It felt like I was turning in my homework incomplete but passable. Even now, I feel that there are a few small things I could do better, but I’m much more confident that these things that could have been done are minutia to most people.

I’m learning more and more every day. I only learn by doing. I’ve done a lot that I’m sitting on until after I’ve gone through a critique with my master/teacher in about a week.

I hope you enjoy it.

Thanks & more to come, swear.

Inside the Fins of Arches National Park

The geology is very interesting at Arches National Park. I highly recommend watching the video in the visitors center. I will try to summarize it in three sentences. The video was like 45 minutes long. So, don’t hold me to this!

Basically, there was a big salt dome that formed under ground that pushed all the ground above it up. The dome that formed cracked and created ‘fins’ and arches. Once the salt left, the dome collapsed and the fins came back together, leaving little slits that you can sometimes walk through.

What you see here is just one such fin that you have to walk through to see the “sandstone arch”. They are all made of sandstone, btw. But this one is actually called the sandstone arch. I think this has to do with the fact that there is a lot of loose sand here.

Walking inside a 'fin' on the way to see the 'Sandstone Arch'
Walking inside a ‘fin’ on the way to see the ‘Sandstone Arch’


With this photo, I took my rented 10-18 mm lens and took a bracket. But! I found out that I didn’t really need all of them. this was taken from a single raw file.

I hope my processing is coming around. I’m sorry I haven’t posted too much lately. I usually slow down my art when I’m learning more skills. Away from photography, I’ve also been working more overtime, too.

I am hopeful to get more up soon. Tomorrow, I will actually show you the Sandstone Arch, though!

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