East of Eden

Owens River Valley

Owens River Valley, photo by Harold Davis. View this image larger.

Exploring the high volcanic tableland in Owens Valley with Steven, I positioned my tripod on the brink. Far below, the Owens River meandered, with the snow-capped Sierra Nevada range of light in the background. Here’s a shot of Steven and Harold close to the position from which this photo was taken.

A great comment on Flickr from Davide Bedin about my photo: “The first thing came up to my mind as I saw this picture was the book East of Eden by Steinbeck. Salinas valley (the valley of the book) probably is very different; the contrast between the gentle river bends, the road and rocky detail in foreground, the magnificent mountain range in the back with looming clouds strongly, all in your picture reminds me of the spirit of that book.”

Salinas, of course, is nothing like Owens Valley in reality—but sometimes the spirit and poetry of a view overcome the mere details of boring and mundane reality.

The finished image is a composite of six captures, each capture made using a 20mm lens at f/22 and ISO 100. Shutter speed times ranged from 1/13 of a second to 1.6 seconds. I combined the images in Photoshop using the hand-HDR drudgery of layers and masking. Colors were further enhanced in Photoshop using some of the techniques that I explain in my latest Photo.net column, Making Colors Pop in Photoshop.

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