Best Directions Often Come From Faulty Maps

Pictured above is the underbelly of the I-220 bridge that stretches over Cross Lake. (Black & White version here).  I set out this morning with a focused shoot for Cross Lake. I had reconn’d the lake and found a swamp area that looked to harbor some landscapes that would fit into the current set I’ve been working on. I packed an assortment of lenses, filters and a versatile tripod. I checked the weather, sunrise time, and estimated the best arrival time. The trip took roughly 45 minutes and encountered skeletal traffic. I finished the last of my coffee and stepped out to my first stop only to realize with all my planning, I didn’t have a single battery with me. Oy.  Time for the reset button.

I mention this because I’m not a planner. Usually, I have an idea of what I want to photgraph and head out with a vague idea of where I might find that subject. Sometimes I find it, but most of the time, I end up stumbling upon something unknown but worthwhile. By the time I picked up the batteries from home and gassed up, I then had to fight through Sunday morning slowpoke drivers and those headed to the lakes for a boating day. By that point I was anxious to get out and photograph something, anything. I switched over to Plan B that was about a railroad yard near the lake. My Droid led me down a road that quickly turned out to be wrong. The map pin was close but no roads were leading in the direction. After a few u-turns and backtracking, I started to lose my bearings and right when I about to call it, I came across the pictured above, which turned out to be the spot of the day. I had heard that the bridge was interesting to photo from underneath, but it was down on my list for exploring. And besides, there was suppose to be a railroad yard around here.

Later, I finally made it back to the area I had researched. It turned out to be a total bust. There were some interesting cypress trees but without spanish moss garlands, despite what I had seen photographed there previously. It was also hard to get a good vista and the best ones looked only accessible by boat. I did get some good trunk photographs which I will process at some point this week. In sum, I think I’ll return to indiscriminate wandering rather than tightly scripted outings.

I finished the laborious task of updating and upgrading. I rebuilt based on a less convoluted work-flow and made a few painful decisions on standardizing (made new logo to boot!). As for processing, I really liked every photo of this bridge. And every “go to” method I used worked well. So for this first one, I went with the grain of the natural capture. The vanishing point diffused nicely in the RAW file. In Viveza (Nik Software), I used two control points to bring out the saturation on the natural blues of the water and the orange tints from the aging bridge columns. I cropped out the foreground as I felt it distracted (for this process) the symmetry of the bridge. Although I did locate some nice cypress trees, get ready for a few days of bridge underbellies.

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