No One Bites Back as Hard

No one knows what it’s like
To be hated
To be fated
To telling only lies

I saved the best for last which is quite fitting since this is the last post of the month and the last in the three part Wolf series. Continuing on with the shoot at Wildlife Prairie Park, this particular entry brings closure on the after treatment study.  If you recall, the first post in this series was the traditional color version with some amped up contrast (link here). The resulting benefit of that is the conversion to Black and White was pretty impressive (link here). In fact at the time it was a definite candidate for this season’s contests. There was still one more effect to experiment with….

I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That’s never free
No one knows what it’s like
To feel these feelings
Like I do
And I blame you

What do you think? Admittedly, I was very very pleased and ranking these series as my best yet. Granted the purists are going to have some hardship with the degree of post processing, but at this point I could care less. Whenever this particular argument comes up (purist vs processing) I always fall back to one simple question – “What is your impression of Ansel Adams’ work?”. I do not think there are many photographers out there that have a bad opinion of his work and some out there (as in Linda) consider the pinnacle of the business. Guess what folks, he did major manipulation in the darkroom – granted before the age of digital, but the concept of dodging and burning was in full use in his workflow. I am no where near the caliber of Ansel and the other greats in the photography world likely post processing their work (perhaps Mr. Lik falls into this category), but what is good enough for them is good enough for me. I tell no lies, I do use Lightroom and Photoshop… and why do I do that… because these are the results.

Hit the jump to read more about the treatment done on this set of pictures.

No one bites back as hard
On their anger
None of my pain and woe
Can show through

This particular series was done all in Lightroom. The workflow ended up being a little more difficult than expected. The original thought was a quick conversion to Black and White along with the tonal changes employed in the previous Black and White version would provide the foundation for the work. Once that was done, just use the adjustment brush to color over the eyes. With that masked the saturation could be moved back up to the original color version. Being on the adjustment layer only, the eyes would return to color leaving the rest of the shot in monochrome. Apparently some additional training is in order because this is not the flow that worked out. Not remembering the details on the issue at the moment, but the saturation slider was not working on the converted B&W image. Technically saturation is not an element of B&W, but figured it would still be able to leverage the information in the original RAW file. Not to be deterred, the workflow was reversed. Instead of starting with the B&W, the color version was used as the foundation. The adjustment brush was then employed to mask all but the eyes. Instead of raising the saturation on that layer, it was set back to zero to force the B&W along with some other tweaks to get it back to the tonals used in the B&W.

If I swallow anything evil
Put your finger down my throat
If I shiver, please give me a blanket
Keep me warm, let me wear your coat

Seems like a lot more work than it should have been. If someone has a better workflow for this effect please let me know and I’ll try it out. As a the final test, the color, B&W and the enhanced versions were all sent to our favorite printing company. To my surprise, the color versions ended up being my least favorite. As mentioned earlier, the enhanced version is clearly my pick of the set. Although, I have to say the B&W looked darn good being printed on the special B&W paper. We’ll have to let the judges decide later this year since both of those will be hitting the competition circuit. Linda is already “very concerned” about having “another” year manning the umbrella.

I’ll close with the fitting verse from the rock gods.. the Who – just in case that nuance was escaping you…

No one knows what it’s like
To be the bad [wolf]
To be the sad [wolf]

Now off to celebrate successfully meeting another month’s quota. Sometime I’ll have to comment on just how hard it was to pull this month off… sometime

2 thoughts on “No One Bites Back as Hard”

  1. Well, I must say I just might have been the one you referred to who was majorly apprehensive about you meeting your monthly quota. I seriously don’t know how you did it.

    As I had seen these pictures before, I was expecting this post eventually. Beautiful!! These are definitely the best in my book as well. The blue eyes go so well with the icy black and white, and the cold theme really fits a wolf. Plus it does exactly what a portrait should do–draws you into the eyes. I would say that Linda has to be worried at this point.

    It’s hard to choose, but I like the first best, then the third, and then the second. But that’s a razor-thin call. As you say, it will come down to whether the judges accept darkroom (or in this case, Lightroom) manipulation. But how is that different from dodging and burning, or even using a polarizer or daylight filter or a fisheye or tilted lens? We all know that everyone who works hard at photography uses some digital processing if only to get back to real colors if not accentuate them, but the brashness of its use here is refreshing.

    I heard today that the Chicago Sun-Times fired ALL their news photographers. They’re now going with all freelancers. As the guy on the radio said, if their pictures start looking like they were downloaded from Instagram four minutes ago, you’ll know why.

    And no, I didn’t know where you were going with the lyrics until the last line. Had me worried…I was just about to call the immediate responders.



  2. Good lord, talk about a fast comment – not to mention a long one. Guessing it is all those performance enhancers hehehe. I will definitely let Linda know you are on my side on this one (FOR ONCE!) I agree with the first – that is the one I will be submitting. The second one seems to suffer from the asymmetrical ears but I like the face more to the viewer which is why I still opted for it as number 2. May have to look at it some more to really firm up that opinion.

    This has to be my first complement for being brash!

    I did not hear about the Sun Times firing. Seems a little odd but in reality who is really relying on biased media outlets for any of their news anymore? Speaking of interesting press news.. did you see where some news outlets are boycotting Holder’s OFF THE RECORD meeting? What is up with these off the record meetings… Total crap from what was suppose to be the most OPEN administration ever. Well, with his recent lie under oath we should finally be rid of Holder. Quite stunning that this administration would do anything against a body of people that have been covering for them for 4 years now.


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