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Trapped - Marc Dilley Photo

We thought this photo taken by Marc Dilley, which he called 'Trapped,' was both beautiful and unusual in its depth. Knowing that Marc rarely just snaps photos like most of us, we suspected there was more to it than meets the eye. We asked him to describe how he created this image.

"'Trapped' was taken the same morning I took a number of ice shots that are in my gallery. I took these images on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Cashmere one very cold, overcast morning in November. There had been light snow followed by a week of sunny days and clear, cold nights. I found these ice formations in the granite cobblestones along the shore, all downstream of the second bridge. I mounted my camera on a tripod to steady it and to enable me to use a moderate aperture setting. The shots were captured in the Camera RAW format which gave me the widest dynamic range and greatest creative freedom.

The mantra for exposure in Camera RAW, unlike for a JPEG, is ‘expose to the right’, which means expose the histogram to the right just to point where the highlights would be blown, then back off slightly. This probably makes no sense to most people, so let’s just say you overexpose nearly to the point where detail is lost in the highlights. This obviously is not what one does for a standard JPEG where you expose so the picture looks good.

This subject had fairly low contrast, was shot on a cloudy day, and the unadjusted RAW file was pretty flat. I couldn't see the ‘trapped’ stones beneath the ice window very well. Using layer masks in Photoshop, the ice and the stones above the ice were treated separately. The ice layer had a variable contrast increase using Curves, including some work with the blue channel separately. Then some color was added with the Color Balance tool. The stones were slightly adjusted with Curves (RGB only) then refined with some dodging and burning."