"You cannot depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." —Mark Twain
In the Field
In the field, I work slowly, mostly walking and observing, only occasionally making an exposure after careful consideration. Once a potential photograph has been identified, the camera and lens are mounted on the tripod and placed into position. The camera’s rear LCD is used to frame the composition, manually focus the lens, and manually set the exposure. Once everything is in place, a series of bracketed exposures are made to capture the full dynamic range present within the scene. The deliberate process is not unlike using a large format view camera, minus the weight, expense, and other difficulties associated with sheet film.
The Digital Darkroom
Capturing the image in the field is only the first step. Post-processing and printing are equally important parts of the creative process. I use a purely digital workflow that starts with full-color, raw data files that are transferred from the camera to the computer for initial processing in Iridient Developer. Global exposure, contrast, and detail are optimized in Iridient before sending the files to Adobe Lightroom for further editing. Once the files are imported into Lightroom, a Wacom pen tablet is used to apply creative edits ranging from dodging and burning small areas, to cloning, healing, selective sharpening, and a variety of other pixel-level manipulations. The fully processed files are then brought into the Lightroom Print Module in preparation for output to an Epson P800 archival pigment printer. Various printer settings are adjusted, paper is trimmed to the final print size and loaded into the printer, and finally, the physical prints are made. These working prints are scrutinized for both technical and artistic quality, and if any adjustments are needed, a series of re-prints are made. This process is repeated as many times as necessary to perfect the final prints.