A road less traveled

A road less traveled - Arizona dirt road clouds

(click to view on black // canon 5d mark ii, tamron 17-35mm 2.8, 17mm, f/16, iso 100, 1/60 // buy print)

A random dirt road off I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff. The day was supposed to be epic up north, but it turned out to be mostly a bust. Still, my daughter and I drove down this road looking for something interesting to shoot against the puffy clouds and desert-y terrain.

I climbed a low hill to shoot the giant rocks up there, but ended up seeing this instead and liked it a whole lot better. Love me some roads and love seeing them curve and bend as they disappear.

6 replies
  1. Dave Wilson
    Dave Wilson says:

    Time for me to be controversial again. Sorry, Mike, but I’ve got to call you on this one. First the good stuff – I love the road snaking into the distance and the sky has a lot of interesting texture too. The subject matter is there but this image screams “unbalanced brightness” to me. My first impression when I look at it is of the enormous contrast between the enormously bright sky and the dark foreground and I really, really want to see more of that texturey goodness on the rocks and scrub at your feet.

    I don’t think it’s the HDR nut in me saying this but I really want to see the sky brought down a couple of stops and the ground brought up a stop or so. This could either be my post processing means (if the sky highlights aren’t too blown in the original, you could stick a Lightroom graduated filter on there and see if that helps or you could use exposure blending if you have brackets) or by more traditional means such as using a 2 or 3 stop graduated ND.

    I hope you realise that I’m saying these things out of a spirit of helpfulness and not to be nasty. I just feel that this shot doesn’t live up to the usual excellent monochrome standards you’ve set over the few years I’ve known your work.

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    @ Dave – Not a surprising comment. I actually showed this to the Arizona Highways magazine editor and he kind of had the same comment. I actually darkened the sky up a bit more. I actually dig the moody, overly dark foreground…but the image isn’t HDR and yeah, might have tried the graduated LR filter.

    Great advice and observation…really appreciate the feedback.

    Now I’m going to cry in my milk.

  3. jina
    jina says:

    You know me… I’m a contrast girl. So I like the contrast between the lightness in the sky and the darkness on the ground. It accentuates that difference to me.

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