Photo: Pink and Purple Sunset 3

Pink and Purple Sunset 3 — a psychedelic, neon sky

The capstone of the series, despite nearing two years of age, Pink and Purple Sunset 3 maintains a permanent spot in my portfolio. It is beloved wherever I show it, though vocal few hate it, calling it as over-edited and “phony.” I don’t believe this; this is my photography, as is the work of a whole new generation theirs. Read The “Pure Photography” Myth for further discussion.

I’ve put more time into this photo than any other, as I strive for it to be perfect, which, for me, is to reveal no blemishes nor traces of editing, even under intense scrutiny. The contrast enhancements are high, but I did not need to shift the colors nor fabricate the clouds. The finished work you’ve seen is the third revision, the first being to remove the building on the right, the second for removing the tree on the left, and the final, only coming this month, to match the print gamut and clone out the remaining JPEG artifacts (which aren’t visible except in large copies). In the June 2006 release I’d already dramatized the colors and removed the pesky streetlights which cluttered the neighborhood, but with the finalized edits this can even be imagined as a scene out in the wilderness. If I ever doubted the value of RAW mode, I found it here; because in 2006 I only had a cheap digicam, this is a lossy JPEG. In bringing the colors out so dramatically, I struggled against compression artifacts and color banding, which would have been no issue if I’d shot it now in raw format with my Canon Rebel XTi. It is not in comparing JPEGs and raw files side-by-side that the choice becomes clear, but in the digital darkroom where the extra bits count, and the “invisible” JPEG compression becomes greatly magnified when you add darkness, saturation, or contrast. My solution for the artifacts was to clone them out by hand, a tedious process that I spent some three hours on. But if I’m working for my art, it’s always worth it.
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Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/2, F3.07, 6.8mm, ISO116, 2006-06-11T20:39:14-04, 2006-06-11_20h39m14

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

More of the Pink and Purple Sunset series.