“Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships!” — Ansel Adams
It’s Sunday evening and we’re driving through drought-struck farmland in the north-west Waikato. Rain clouds have flirted shamelessly with the skyline all day, but the land remains parched and disappointed.
Rounding a corner, we see a distant hill quite dramatically lit by low sunshine breaking through the clouds. It’s beautiful and stark and emphasizes how dry the land has become.
T stops the car. I hop out and wade through long, brittle grass. As I’m fiddling with the camera, a police car stops to check that we’re ok and that the car hasn’t broken down on this very quiet stretch of road. T assures him we’re fine and I wave my camera ineffectually to establish my bona fide. He nods and zooms off — possibly a tad faster than might be strictly legal. But I suppose there have to be some compensations for patrolling country roads on a Sunday night.
When we finally get home (after quite a few more photo stops), I download the images. “Cop-stop hill” is too dark and doesn’t have the contrast I remember, but the bones of the shot are good and all the pixels I need are there, just waiting to be tweaked.
Thank goodness for PhotoShop.