Thanks to all! Most people go to DVNP to see Badwater, the dunes, Artist Drive, Zabriskie, etc. with their only real mountain experience being Dante's View. For me some of the greatest attractions are the mountains -- and they are not necessarily hard to access. This was done from a spot less than a mile from the Skidoo Road. Easy walk up a gentle wash with an an interesting old cabin and various mining relics along the way. This late afternoon shot was done by my wife at the cabin. The view is 10 minutes from the cabin site. We were there to work with the cabin -- the view was a surprise bonus...
D800, 24-120 F4 at 120mm F8 at 1/60 handheld, ISO 400
This is a good advice I'll follow the next time I go to DV.
I love this photo. The contrast between bushes and the groud, the way the sun illuminâtes the heads of the bushes, the presence of the person. The texture is great.
Neal, if you want to try something, I would be very interested to see this photo darkened significantly so the soils in the shadow becomes much darker, the soil in the sun a little darker, and the house less HDR-like. I may be wrong but I think this would add something to the global texture of the photo. It is a very strong image that could IMHO benefit from such an attempt.
I may also be wrong and the only way to know is to give it a try
Not much to the cabin -- I don't have a sense that it was ever a living space, though it did have a privy. There are a couple of big holes in the hills there that only go in for 15 or 20 feet or so. My guess is that this was a work space for some guys who put in a huge amount of effort for no return at all. Actually, that's pretty typical of Death Valley mining history...
Both HDRs with D700. The exterior shot is the 70-300 VR at 155mm, and the interior with 16-35mm at 16mm.
That is a great book! I had some trouble reading it at first, as I was so unfamiliar with a lot of the places mentioned. It really is great reading if you keep a detailed map handy so you have more of a sense of things. I recommend the National Geographic Death Valley map. It's available through Amazon if you don't have a copy.
Our boss does want me to do a book on the cabins. Book projects are an enormous amount of work, though, and getting it published can be really difficult in todays publishing environment. I certainly do have a lot of book-worthy material, though. We'll see...
Sorry for not replying sooner (too much work at my job... sleeping 3-6 hours per night only!!)
SInce it is difficult to explain the effect I was interested to see in this superb composition, I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty to make a screen copy and do little processing in CNX2.
I first used Nik polarization filter at the default preset but applied it only to the dark soil using one control point covering the entire photo. Then, I used the Color contrast filter, applied it to the green, and turned the normal contrast to 0, brigthness down from default value, and the color contrast to about half of the default value.
After, I brightened locally very little in the area where the man walks. To make it look natural, I brightened a short imaginary path in front of him, each side, and in front of the cabin. My goal was to brighten it similarly to the path that is already there, on the left side of the cabin. This way, it would look natural.
I don't know if the final result is better, and I could have spent more time on it, but it is closer to what I was talking about.
Certainly, I could have done a better job with the original NEF file since I could have tried modifying exposure a bit as well as white balance.
As I said, it is a fantastic composition and I felt it could be made stronger with such a scene, texture and contrast. It is a very personal taste and I may be the only one trying to make it stronger.
Thanks to all for commenting, and especially to Yvan for seeing the strength in this composition by my wife Birgitta (and the man in the photo is me!). Your modifications are interesting, and do add to the photo. One problem I have with this ongoing project is that I'm working with very large numbers of captures at each site, and this often prevents me from giving each individual shot the full attention it deserves. I am always interested in anyone else's take on different ways to interpret these images...