Single Image Sunday: Beacon Rock   7 comments

I often go through these little obsessions with photography.  My mind just keeps coming back to a specific image I want.  Lately it’s been getting a great picture of Beacon Rock, a famous landmark in the Columbia River Gorge near home in Oregon.  Lewis and Clark and their men, the first whites to explore the Pacific Northwest extensively, make mention of it in their journals.  This to date is one of only two good shots I’ve gotten of it.

I’m not satisfied yet; I want a great picture not a good one.  I have another place in mind; I went there once but the river was too high to get a view.  You need to sneak across private land to get to it.  The great thing is that once you’re there you are technically legal.  All Oregon rivers navigable by boat are public property up to the high-water line, a legacy of the great environmentalist and outdoorsman governor Tom McCall.  Still don’t want to get caught though.  I have in my mind a picture of fog parting at sunrise, framing the rock in golden light.  Wish me luck!

One of the problems with Beacon is that it is difficult to get access (without a boat at least) to a good viewpoint of it.  You can get very close to and very far from it quite easily.  But that sweet middle distance?  Not so easy.  This was shot awhile back from a point directly across the river from it, one of the very few views of it from this distance.  It lies in Washington and I’m standing on the Oregon side.

I like using Sunday to post a single shot that illustrates the topic on the previous Friday’s Foto Talk.  In this case it was on whether to convert to black and white. The light was pretty nice, a low sun in the west (left) giving some depth to an image that badly needed it.  In other words it is not a bad color image.

I converted to black and white using Nik Silver Effex  It has a very subtle sepia tone, which lends a bit of warmth, not too much.  The color version has what I call a russet warmth and I wanted something a little different.  I also gave it a narrow dark vignette.  I don’t know about you, but when I take a color image and make it black and white, I always mourn a little at the loss of certain colors.  In this case it is the deep green of the trees and grass in the foreground, plus the nice orange-brown of the clouds.  With black and white, you have to give something up to gain something.  Please let me know if you like it or not.  Thanks a lot!

A view across the Columbia River to Beacon Rock, Washington.

A view across the Columbia River to Beacon Rock, Washington.

7 responses to “Single Image Sunday: Beacon Rock

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  1. Thanks, one of my teenage hangouts!

  2. Black and white is a fun medium to work with, I even (back in the day of 35mm SLR’s) favored B&W over color for quite a while. Great shot, I like the idea of adding the narrow vignette on the border. My Dad had an obsession with a mountain in British Colombia – my Mom would get so mad at him – “Why are you taking another picture of that damn mountain?”

  3. My own snaps are just that—snaps.

    Every image I’ve looked at here so far are not snaps, or mere photos: they are art. Thank heavens you didn’t put down all the tech details … let the images speak for themselves (and we mere mortals look on in despair).

    There’s an Ansel Adams touch about those B & Ws—f you hadn’t left the hint about mild sepia I’d have been wondering for ages.

  4. Awesome.

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