Oct 24, 2009

Dragon's Breath...

Dragon's Breath, NM, sunset, full range HDR

©Joe Bridwell

Children love this visual game…
“Tell me what you see in this gorgeous cloud picture?”

“I see lots of ruby gold colors.” A pensive, quizzical look appeared in her blue eyes.  “But also that dark blob of clouds on the left.”
A moment of silence, then more slowly, “I think… I see a dragon, mouth still open, who just belched fire…”
“Maddy, that’s truly amazing.  Can you tell me more about your dragon and its fiery breath?”
“Well, I can see its open throat, its still hot nostrils, even a place way back in its throat where fire starts...”  Maddy, who was beginning to really enjoy this game,  pointed to the burnished gold area amidst the black cloud behind the mouth.
“Maddy, you are really creative.  But, I am puzzled – where is this ‘belched’ fire?”
“Grandpa, you’re funny…” A smile appeared on her face.  “The fire is above the bright sunset…”
Stubbornly, I clung to this rather important question; “Maddy, I don’t still see fire.”
“Grandpa, bits of the fire are still there.  See the darkish cloud above the golden sunset?”  She giggled…
“If you look real close, some of the cloud underbelly’s still glows golden.”
“What is that supposed to tell me?”
“Silly, it’s the big key.  My dragon breathed fire.  But, the sky was cold.  So, the fire turned to smoke…”  Looking at my solemn, disbelieving face, Maddy laughed with great glee!

I sat there, deeply amazed.  Maddy, who loved art, looked at this image, let her remarkably artistic imagination run, and found many exciting ways to let the image tell its creative story.
“Grandpa, you did not say anything about another important dragon feature…”
“What’s that?”
“Did you miss his eye?”
I looked again, more carefully this time – sure enough, Maddy did see the eye, which dimmed slightly after breathing the enormous gasp of fire…

Dragon’s Breath seems almost a fairy tale – the exciting exploration between imagination, photography, fine art, and emotional awareness.

The image is a final response to Full Range HDR.  Nikon D300, 14bits, f/13, ISO 200, shutter speed range: 2 – 1/8000 sec (a range of 15 EV).
Photomatic combination tone compressed at default settings.
Lightroom - global color balance – medium contrast, enhance lights, black clipping, exposure, fill light, clarity, vibrance, edge masking, luminance smoothing, crop.
Photoshop – local enhancement – Smart Object, Color Burn @ 20%, adjustment layer – Lighter Color @ 10% brush opacity – Final Dodge and Burn of throat, eye, and smoky breath…
For a thoughtful description of Full Range HDR, click here.

OOPs 11/24/2009
My thanks to Rhonda Fleming, ELCC - Rhonda pointed out that I screwed up the URL to download the Full Range PDF...  does old age get ANY better?
It's workin' now...


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