Our original plan was to go for a three-day backpacking trip for Memorial Day Weekend. Unfortunately, the weather forecast went from bad to worse to even worse to really pretty terrible. Saturday was going to be nice for most of the day, before storms would roll in and stay there for the rest of the holiday weekend. We switched up our plans and went for an early morning day hike of Greyrock Mountain.

The forecast was accurate, with sunshine in the morning and increasing clouds throughout the day. Rain started as we returned the cars at the end of our hike, and the rest of the weekend was as miserable as predicted. From the top of Greyrock mountain, we could see the storms slowly rolling in from the west, the clouds still mixing with patches of sunshine. As we finished our lunch to begin our descent, I saw a solitary man standing on top of the peak, silhouetted by the clouds. I snapped the shutter, and this became my favorite image of the week.

Man on Greyrock Mountain

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 55 mm, f/7.1 at 1/640, ISO 200

Digital Darkroom. This image was fun. When I look at my favorite black & white images, they always have darker blacks and brighter whites than my own photos. When I edit my own, I opt for realism over mood, and for this image, I decided to change that. I’ll list here the edits I made, but they were in no way done in this order; I iterated multiple times on each area until I achieved the effect I was looking for.

Obviously, I started with a conversion to black & white- this time using the Fujifilm ACROS film simulation. I increased contrast, highlights, and shadows, and added a bit of sharpening. There was a bright rock that distracted my eye in the lower left. I used a brush to darken it, then ended up cropping most of it out. I then applied brushes to four other areas of the photograph.

First, the sky. A brush here lowered shadows (-67) and blacks (-60), while giving a slight increase to clarity and a much larger one to dehaze (38). The impact of these changes was to make the storm clouds dark and foreboding.

Second, I brushed over the bright spots in the clouds. For these, I increased the highlights (50) and whites (56), adding those zingy white patches into the sky.

A third brush on the man himself, increased sharpness to make him stand out more dramatically.

Finally, a fourth brush on the rock increased highlights, so that the bright areas of the rock would sparkle a bit more.

The only other edit I want to make is to change the caption. I thought about naming it “Man Checking Twitter Feed”, since he was, in fact, looking at his phone. I decided that kind of whimsical title would ruin the mood of the image. While I’m not particularly happy with the one I came up with, it’s the best I could do.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

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