I made infrared tree exposures Saturday and Sunday, and spent most of yesterday stitching and editing the images.
In photography, there are two extreme views of post processing. The first is that it’s all over when you release the shutter. Get that right and you don’t have to do anything else. In the film era, if you thought that way, you shot slides, and you looked down on people who needed to do darkroom work to get good images. You thought it was sloppy photography to improve the image after the fact.
Today, people who are hard over in that direction probably shoot JPEGs, and don’t own a copy of either Lightroom or Photoshop.
Then there were the people for whom the negative — and, if you thought that way you made negatives — was just a jumping off place. Compositing, weird toning, printing through screens, putting Vaseline on the enlarging lens, it was all fair game. William Mortensen was a famous practitioner of this kind of photography.
Ansel Adams had a foot in both camps, and expressed his perspective eloquently: “The negative is the score, and the print is the performance.”
When you stitch, you’ve already headed a long way to the do it in post direction, but I’m going further than when I started this series. At first, I’d made a set of images and stitch the whole set. Now, I’m making more exposures than I think I need for each set, and trying a lot of different combinations in post. I think I’m getting better results, but it makes for long editing sessions.
A 34-image stitch:
A three-image stitch:
Working with the foreground:
A little free-form framing:
Dawn, with a storm on the way: