"Fallen" by Eric Rennie
My photograph above is among 24 images selected for a juried competition called Framed: Shadow and Light that opens today at the Black Box Gallery in Portland Oregon. The exhibit, which is curated by Todd J. Tubutis, associate director at the Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, NB, runs from December 1, 2016 until December 20, 2016. The shot was taken several years ago on an expedition to photograph ferns in River Highlands State Park, which is conveniently located along the Connecticut River at the end of my street in Cromwell, CT. While following a meandering path along a creek bed, I encountered this fallen tree, one of many felled during an ice storm a few years earlier. As sometimes happens, I got stubbornly attached to this image and have entered it in a number of juried competitions in the last year or two -- unsuccessfully until now. I feel that my persistence has been vindicated.
The master photographer Ansel Adams once said, "The negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance." I don't work with film, so there is no negative in this case. But the principle remains the same. The original RAW image captured by my Canon 5D digital SLR camera may be seen below. You will notice I made a vertical out of a horizontal shot, cropping tightly around the fallen tree to remove most of the trunk veering off to the side in the lower lefthand corner. The image works both in color and in black and white. However, given the theme of the exhibit, I wanted to emphasize the delicate interplay of light and shadow, so I eliminated the color. Using Photoshop and various add-ons, I spent considerable time bringing out certain highlights and modulating the shadows. It's painstaking work, even if you don't have to do it in a darkroom!