dirt road, near trinidad colorado photographed by luxagraf
Trinidad, Colorado, United States

Trinidad Road

A storm, a road, a photograph

This is one of those images I wish I could go back and redo. I was in a rush, and it shows. My wife and three very cranky kids are in the car behind me. No one wants to be stopped. Everyone is hungry and tired. The water pump in our RV had broken. We were on our way back from buying a new one, which turned out to be an hour drive each way, most of it on a very washboard dirt road.

The light on the grass in the distance caught my eye, the way it contrasted with the clouds. But I only had a couple of seconds to make an image. Which might be why I shot this at 640 ASA in aperture-priority mode and didn’t stop down beyond f/5.6. Oops. Double oops with this lens, which has really soft corners until about f/11. Most likely I’d been shooting the evening before in a low light situation where those settings made sense, for example the last image on this piece, and then I dashed out of the car, snapped this image, and that was it.

The point is, this image, from a technical standpoint, is pretty much garbage. The composition is okay though, maybe not great, but it works well enough, and the light isn’t too bad, so let’s see what we can do with it.

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My main goal was to convey a better sense of the light. Mountain light is the best light I’ve ever worked in, especially Colorado mountain light. Every place I’ve ever been has its distinctive light, in Colorado there’s a strange mix of harsh and soft light that’s always swirling around, spotlighting something and then moving it back into shadow. That ends up being the main thing I went for in this image, getting the light and tones right.

Whether or not I did is debatable. If I were to do it again I’d probably ease off the vignetting fix a little, and I’d probably push the mid-ground highlights even more. I still remember how that green just beyond the road was glowing, almost iridescently. The print I have captures that pretty well, but this web version still falls a little flat if you ask me.

Of course everything could always be redone and made better. At some point you have to just say, good enough, and be done.