Processing a digital photo is a must for any photography amateur or professional. There are only a few times when you would not touch a digital negative before you convert it to a standard file format like .tiff or .jpeg. Every photo usually gets sharpened, leveled, minor color adjustments, contrast and brightness corrected. A lot of cameras do some of this for you as it saves the jpeg if you want it too. I like to start from the original raw file that has not been adjusted or corrected in anyway. How I process completely depends on what the client or myself wants to get from the final image and what it will be used for, from news to artistic expression.I love the American west. I love the feeling of what once was and now the desolation that it is. When I took the image above, I was looking to capture the large empty, almost abandoned looking, stock yard with a freight train flying by. I could just imagine a time when this cattle yard received trains full of cattle but now freight just fly by with no intention of making a return here.
I have passed by this photo many times with not a second look. It was flat and boring. The feel I wanted to convey just wasn’t captured in the raw file. It just didn’t fit my original vision. Two years later I came across this photo again with a clear vision and feel, I knew I could get out of it. The vintage processing technique made this flat image come to life. It aged the scene in a way that flowed well with the empty stock yard and feeling of abandonment. The processing helped separate the train, fencing, and grain elevators into points for your eyes to flow and follow. In the end it really helped make the abandonment of the west feel come to life as I visioned it the day I took it in 2008. Sometimes your vision just needs a little help.