Case Study: Shasta


Dan Margulis
 

Three quick comments before getting into this week's study.
 
First, I request that more attention be paid to the technical requirements. In the Pagodas exercise for each of the following categories there were at least two offenders:
*file submitted in Adobe RGB rather than sRGB.
*file submitted at the wrong size, though with sufficient resolution.
*file had aspect changed, presumably due to the application of a lens profile.
The first two categories I can correct, although I shouldn't have to; I can post an image in the third category but can't use it in a par because it doesn't quite line up with the others.
 
Second, I hope that everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is as happy to see the advent of spring as I am. It's been a rough winter.
 
Third, speaking of which, yesterday was our first warm day here in New Jersey and I was able to get out and do some walking, along with half of the rest of the population, which made social distancing difficult. I was looking forward to a long hike today with fewer crowds on a weekday.
 
Unfortunately, we've all been advised to stay indoors. Apparently the pollution here today is significantly worse than Hong Kong, though not for the moment as high as Beijing or Mumbai. Still, such levels are very unusual here. Last week we had a series of warnings that conditions were good for rapidly spreading wildfires, and I have to suppose that such fires may be the cause of the poor air quality. Which brings us squarely to our next challenge.
 
U.S. companies do not offer as much vacation time as their European counterparts, so time is at a premium for Americans in transatlantic visits. There is such a thing as making the best of a bad situation, but many American tourists don't do so. They have one week to spend in Italy, say. Convinced that they may never return, they decide to see everything in that one week. So, they schedule stops in Venice, Florence, and Rome, spend more time on trains than at tourist sites, and come back thinking to themselves that Italy is overrated, although they'll shoot a few selfies and tell their friends that it was the experience of a lifetime.
 
Without wishing to get into any more national stereotyping than absolutely necessary, many Germans dream of seeing the majestic sites of the American West. Granted, they have more time to spend than American tourists do, but they run into much the same problem. They are determined to see every major site, not understanding that the area they are visiting is larger than Germany, France, and Italy put together, without a decent system of public transportation, and subject to nasty weather conditions.
 
The natural result of having only a day or two at each site is that sometimes the tourist travels for a long time and gets nothing. If the weather is bad in Florence or Rome plenty of indoor activities are available. If you're at Mt. Rainier and its fogged over, you're in for a boring day. Such were the conditions the last time I was passing through. A dozen young Germans were literally crying with frustration at having come such a distance to get nothing out of it.
 
Worse, I was staying at Bryce Canyon during a nasty snowstorm. The roads being what they were, a busload of German tourists who were supposed to arrive at 10:00 a.m. for their only day at this magnificent National Park, in fact arrived at sunset and risked their lives trying to see whatever they could of the maze of trails into the Canyon.
 
Experienced travelers like me do not have such worries, for we allow enough time for bad weather. Or so I thought. I've been to Mt. Rainier several times, giving it the respect it deserves. It is most definitely an active volcano, although it has caused no trouble in the past hundred years. Being that it is several times the size of Vesuvius or Mt. Etna or Mt. St. Helens, and in the middle of a populated area, it is rightly considered not just one of the most beautiful, but one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. A minor eruption would simply displace around a million people. A major one might make us view the current pandemic as a small annoyance.
 
I had been wanting for many years to see one of Mt. Rainier's close relatives, the majestic Mt. Shasta in northeastern California. At 14,000 ft./4,300m, it has a slightly bigger volume than Rainier, and is four volcanoes in one. It is last believed to have erupted about 250 years ago, so it isn't considered quite as dangerous as Rainier, but it is still definitely active and the U.S. Geological Survey classes it, along with Rainier and nine others in the immediate area, as a "Very High Threat" volcano.
 
Indigenous tribes, seduced by its beauty, attributed religious significance to it. They weren't disturbed by pioneers, because the place is remote. But in 2016, I finally arranged a trip to the area. As a result, I can highly recommend Lassen Volcanic National Park, as well as Lava Beds National Monument. Shasta, however, gets an incomplete.
 
En route, I picked a great day for my mandatory shot of Mt. Shasta in the distance, which is what you'll be working on. There's only one thing missing: Mt. Shasta itself. The bright, sunny weather was just as pleasant for humans as it was for the massive wildfires then burning in the area. When I finally got to the mountain I could barely see the summit, and I wasn't up for any climbing because I couldn't breathe. It was also hard to enjoy any food with the smell of smoke everywhere. So, with no prospect of the smoke clearing in the next two days, I left early.
 
Some day, after Covid, I'll get back there. Meanwhile, I post along with the raw materials a reference image of Mt. Shasta, so you can see what my camera would have liked to.
 
Dan
 
***********
 
*This is a vacation keepsake. As it's the best one I have of Mt. Shasta, you'll have to make do.
 
*In the Photos section, 2021 Case Study: Shasta, 
https://groups.io/g/colortheory/album?id=262071
I have uploaded a version opened with Camera Raw defaults, and another where the settings were much flatter. You may use either, or fetch the .cr2 as below. DO NOT WORK ON THE THUMBNAIL ATTACHED TO THIS MESSAGE, OR ON THE REFERENCE IMAGE.
 
*groups.io does not allow .cr2 format in the Photos section. If you want the .cr2, you must download a zipped file from the Files section. NOTE: the zipped file contains the reference and the two default images as well, you don't need to download them separately. Filename=2021_Shasta_case-study_source.zip
 
*The designated size of this exercise is 2000 x 3000 pixels. If you use the raw image be sure to open into the correct size. Do not crop, rotate, alter the sizing, apply any lens correction, or delete any tangible objects, because doing any of these things will make it impossible to use your version as part of a par assembly. We recommend that as soon as you acquire, you apply one of the default versions to it to make sure that all pixels line up.
 
Except as indicated in the above paragraph, you can use whatever methods you like to improve the picture.
 
*Please keep clear records of what you did for discussion. List members find these very valuable.
 
*Your final file is to be sRGB with a proper tag. If you work in a different RGB you must Edit: Convert to Profile>sRGB before submitting the file.
 
*When finished, save in JPEG form, quality level 9. E-mail it to me, dmargulis (at) aol.com, with your brief explanation of how you produced it. DO NOT POST IMAGES TO THE LIST.
 
*Remember that some e-mail clients automatically downsize image attachments. Make sure you’re sending it to me at the original size.
 
*Entries close Monday morning, 29 March, at 06:00 Eastern/1100Z/12:00 ora italiana. Europeans: remember that the clock moves forward one hour on Sunday morning.
 
*Rather than confirm every entrant I've received, I will periodically post the initials of everyone whose file I have.
 
*As soon as convenient after the deadline, I'll post all the entrants in a random order. Names will not be revealed. Once discussion begins, those who wish to identify themselves publicly may do so.
 
*If the filename of your version contains your name or initials, they will be deleted before posting. If you want to be able to identify your version by name once posted, throw in a few extra letters at the end of the filename; I won't delete them.
 
*I will leave discussion of the results to the group for the first two days after posting, and will then weigh in with my own opinion.



David Remington
 

Dan,

Apart from your graphics expertise, you tell a good story. Part of what makes your books enjoyable to read.

That is a nice shot. The scale is amazing.

David


Dan Margulis
 

A reminder that entries are due in this case study in 24 hours, at 06:00 eastern daylight time Monday/1100Z/12:00 ora italiana; note the European time change tomorrow morning. In the last two case studies several entries showed up shortly after the deadline. I'm sorry not to be able to acknowledge them.

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:

GB
RoB
JF
HH
KH
TH*
JaG
JS
KSo


*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:

None


Dan Margulis


Dan Margulis
 

A reminder that entries are due in this case study in 24 hours, at 06:00 eastern daylight time Monday/1100Z/12:00 ora italiana. I am not able to acknowledge entries that come in after that time.

I confirm receipt of entries from the following individuals:

BB
GB
RoB*
FC
KC
JF
JaG
HH
KH
TH*
BI
SJ
TL
DR
JS
KSo
BT
RW


*indicates that a corrected version was submitted

Entries from the following were at an incorrect size/cropping and would have to be resubmitted:

None


Dan Margulis


Robert S Baldassano
 

Mine was 928. I live in northern CA, so have been on the roads where you can see Shasta looming ahead of you . I have been there when it has been hazy, and when it has not been hazy, but never when there was smoke. I have never seen it like the very dark images submitted. So my attempt was to see it through the haze. Lookong at some other images, I can see perhaps I should have made the foreground a bit more yellow, and perhaps have a bit more contrast, so I stacked  1930 in Luminosity mode @ 54% and 923 in Color Mode @ 80% and I think that looks better than mine alone.

 

Robert S Baldassano

 

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 


jorgeparraphotography
 

I submitted my image rather late on Monday and I think it stayed out of the challenge group, as I do not seem to locate it in the folder. No prob though. One more time, I went overboard with extra saturation ( notable in the sky more than anything), and warmer, or should I say, less  grey or less "dried green" bushes. 

The cool thing about this last attempt is to have found a simple method to work systematically with the PPW tools, by acting each selected relevant action on a Base file that was processed beyond the Auto settings ( coming from the blending of images treated differently at the RAW stage ( or using the Camera Raw filter if no original Raw is available) and eventually blending to taste the results of the actions in different blending modes. plus whatever other personal choices via adjustment layers. Quite a different approach to just start playing around. THis will help to further my processing as I learn more about the specifics of what every action can perform and how to customize it.
--
Jorge Parra 
www.jJorgeParraPhotography.com
Miami


john c.
 

Mine was 922 and although I liked what I saw on my screen when I did it because I thought it was reasonably accurate, looking at it now I don't know why I didn't blend the red channel into blue for a more spectacular backdrop. I just wasn't looking for that obvious blend option although it was slapping me in the face the whole time. More contrast and brighter wouldn't hurt either now that I look at it with fresh eyes.


Robert Wheeler
 

My Shasta entry is 906. I blended the red channel to get more mountain detail, but found that ended up less than ideal (or I was not addressing the consequences adequately). Made a CYMK copy and found the cyan channel had even better mountain detail, so used that early in the process. A camera raw filter using de-haze helped the background more than I expected. Moving to Lab color space and steepening the b curve (a bit more on the blue end than the yellow end) helped intensify yellows and blue/cyans; had to leave the a curve untouched as my experiments with it mostly made too much magenta. I suppose having the mountain a bit darker like PAR would have improved it, but I do like having the dried grass paler yellow with less red/magenta tone because that is how I am used to seeing such patches in reality. Kate Wolf had a refrain in one of her songs about the rolling golden hills of California, referring to the color of the dried grass.