July 12, 2020 — Marin County Headlands, California
I did a lot of ICM pans while waiting for the comet NEOWISE to appear over Mount Tamalpais on July 12. The RAW file of this shot had been sitting in archives since then, several times passed over as an also-ran. Today I saw it with new eyes. It had potential.
Every single element took part in the slow pixel dance, changing color, tone, and contrast relationships with their partners many times over. Eventually each one found its place. While I was working, the computer’s fan turned on every now and then, sounding like a gentle breeze blowing through the native grass and coastal scrub.
While yesterday’s picture was a very small crop of its original frame and was ready after about a half hour of processing, this one is the full frame with no crop other than about one degree of straightening — and about two and a half or three hours of processing until we all agreed this was no longer a loosely organized bunch of pixels, but truly a picture.
It proofs nicely at 20 by 30 inches (51 x 76 cm) and can grow to more than twice that size with no ill effect
(Nikon D850, Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR. ISO 64, 6 seconds at f/4. 10-stop neutral density filter. RAW processing and initial editing in DxO PhotoLab 3.3; Final editing in Adobe Photoshop.)