The following photos were taken as part of the ED659 Photography assignment. All six (6) photographs were taken using a Nikon Coolpix S3000 digital camera. All edits were made using Google’s Picasa software. Photos can be viewed at a larger size by clicking on photo previews below.
On Saturday, September 20th, I enjoyed taking my dog, Brandy, on a walk through the Sitka National Historical Park (colloquially known as Totem Park) in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka is located smack-dab in the middle of the Tongass National Forest, a temperate rainforest that spans the majority of Southeast Alaska. The day was overcast and the pungent scent of decaying salmon lay thick along the banks of Indian River (which Brandy loved!). Our walk was filled with lush greenery, historic totem poles, and Alaskan wildlife. Despite the relatively low camera quality, I managed to capture several photos while using some photography composition rules and fiddling with the camera’s settings.
Photos for Print:
The Sitka National Historical Park trail is lined with traditionally-carved Tlingit totem poles. I attempted to capture the striking height of the totem pole by positioning myself at the base and focusing on an upward viewpoint. Between the edges of the totem pole and the trees, I tried to use the rule of leading lines. While editing, I applied an Infrared Film filter to simulate black and white infrared film to bring out the texture of the wood and create an overall more dramatic effect. I also sharpened and used a graduated tint effect (medium feather with a darker shade) to help the base of the totem stand out, while softening the top to blend into the natural daylight. This image is 12 megapixels (3000 x 4000 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
“The Seaweed and Brandy”
The western side of the park is made up of ocean shoreline. When the water is at low tide, there are many flora and fauna to be found among the rocks, including the colorful (yet smelly) seaweed that Brandy loves to explore. I attempted to capture a Bokeh-esque photo by focusing on the textures of the seaweed among the rocks, while Brandy and the shoreline remain out of focus in the background. I utilized the rule of thirds, using Brandy and the seaweed-surrounded rock as reference points. While editing, I increased the shadow levels for more definition between rock and seaweed. This image is 12 megapixels (3000 x 4000 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
Photos for Screen:
Every Fall, Alaskan salmon will venture from the ocean to the place of their birth in fresh water to reproduce. Shortly after, they wash up on shore and die, their bodies helping to create nutrient dense soil for the forest. In this photo, I used the alder leaves to help frame the off-center body of the salmon. I considered cropping the piece of my camera wristband out of the bottom-right corner, but decided against it for the purpose of balancing elements. This image is .8 megapixels (768 x 1024 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
The moist environment of the Tongass National Forest is an ideal location for many species of mushrooms and other fungi. This little colony was photographed near the entrance of the Park. I wanted this photo to create the illusion of depth by focusing on the mushrooms in the foreground, the edge of the the tree in the middle ground, and other trees in the background. I suppose there is also a Bokeh-style effect going on here, but originally it was not intentional. For editing, I slightly boosted the highlights and shadows, as well as sharpened the quality. I also played with the photo temperature to help boost the green of the moss and the white of the mushrooms. This image is .8 megapixels (768 x 1024 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
Photos for Web:
Devil’s club (Oplopanax horridus) is a plant native to the cool, moist forests of western North America. Their height, large leaves, and thorny branches differentiate them from other forest plants. Once again, I attempted to create an illusion of depth by switch to a low viewpoint under the plant. I enjoyed how the geometric shape of the leaves created a unique pattern. While editing, I resized this photo from .8 megapixels (768×1024 pixels) to .1 megapixels (300×400 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3. I also bumped up the saturation to bring out the green in the leaves. In my opinion, I don’t like how blurry this photo becomes after resizing, but I can’t argue with a 48KB-sized document for the web.
“Bridge Over Smelly Waters”
The Park is divided in half by Indian River, which serves as a breeding ground for Alaskan salmon. While the bridge exists as convenient way to pass through the Park, it often becomes the smelliest area while the salmon return to spawn. I specifically chose this area to experiment with leading lines. Because this area was captured at eye-level, the way the eye follows the lines creates a dramatic sense of depth (while in reality, the bridge itself is only about 30 feet long). While editing, I resized this photo from .8 megapixels (1024×768 pixels) to .1 megapixels (400×300 pixels), with an aspect ratio of 4:3.