Backlog - Sturm und Drang

I've been on a self-enforced shooting hiatus. Looking at a backlog of almost 900 images in Lightroom I felt that I was at risk of turning into some sort photographic magpie, collecting images for the sake of collecting them. So, over the last 5 weeks I've waded through them all and over the next couple of posts I'll be sharing and commenting on them.

The first tranche is from a collection I call "Springtime in Alberta" after the Ian Tyson song.

While I was on stress leave, I had a hankering to head down to Rosebud, Alberta. The shoot in Rosebud didn't amount to much. I did have one image that I thought would work but after my 3rd pass through (I sweep through the images multiple times in LR, narrowing down my choices) it just didn't stand up. I headed on down the road to Drumheller and it just wasn't working for me so I decided to head home. 

Climbing up out of the Red Deer River valley I saw a spring storm rolling in from the north. I pulled over to the side of the road and got the cameras ready. Looking over my shoulder and out the passenger window I'd drive a few kilometers and stop. One of my first shots was of farmhouse framed in sunlight from the south with a roiling mass of cloud running out of the north looking for all the world it was sent by God to some good old fashioned Old Testament smiting.

Island in the Storm
I processed this in Lightroom and then used GoogleNik SilverFX. If you haven't bucked up for the Nik Suite, I really recommend that you do. Back when you had to spend almost the price of Photoshop for all the Nik tools I'd have thought twice, but now it's priced so well that you really can't afford not to get them.

I jumped back in the truck and headed east. That's when I saw the grain bins. The folks behind me must have thought me mad as I wheeled off the road and jumped out of the truck with my Leica (I had it around my neck as I was driving so I didn't have to fiddle around). In both colour and this black and white version I had images of of those dust bowl storms that blew the top soil across the prairies in the '30s. 

I've got two versions of this next image and I'm not sure which I like better. 

Maximum 80

Maximum 80
I think the black and white could use some more work. I think I used SilverFX control point tools I could open up the road a bit and create some more drama. My wife liked the colour version better right now I tend to agree. 

Technical Details

All images where taken with a Leica M-E and a Zeiss Biogon 35mm f/2.8. Inital processing was in Lightroom and then in SilverFX.

Upon closer inspection I can see I missed some dust bunnies (quite a few actually). I had been changing lenses quite a bit in Rosebud and Drumheller and I'd forgotten that unlike my Olympus gear, Leica didn't think to add a dustbuster. Of course, with the way these images are laid out, it's hard to find the dust. Every time I looked I found a few more hiding in the clouds. I've found a technique that will give me a better chance at finding them so I'll be going back into these to "kill the wabbits". It involves some jiggery pokery with the tone curve to highlight the specks. 

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