I set out creating this work to create a masterpiece. I was creating new work in preparation for the 2013 Art in the Garden event at Lendonwood Gardens in Grove, Oklahoma. This was going to be my first art show, and I had a lot riding on the success of the show. With potential buyers from my bank, who had expressed interest in purchasing my work, I had to make it a good show. I needed to sell my work as I was planning on getting married later that year.
I woke up early before sunrise every day for several weeks, working on creating my masterpiece. Initially, I tried looking for vantage points so I could get the local landmark, Sailboat Bridge, as part of my work. I drove and walked through mud, and it was obvious the area I was in was somebody’s drinking party area, as the cans and trash that littered the ground attested to. Upon reaching the point that I could get the bridge in view, I experimented with various compositions, but nothing worked composition wise, and the sun had already risen enough it was overpowering. Disappointed, I left to go about the rest of my day.
I was discouraged that I could not get the image I was wanting, and nearly settled on an older work to be my masterpiece. As I left my office/studio, I noticed the sky had interesting clouds, so I packed my gear and decided to shoot from the bridge again. Pulling my car in the parking lot to the old Cherokee Queen parking lot, I got out my car, and walked behind the building near the water as I saw beams of light shining through the clouds. I created the initial captures with my camera, and then moved on to walking on the bridge.
Sailboat bridge has a walking path that is blocked off from traffic on both sides, so it isn’t so bad walking on the bridge. Occasionally people will honk for no apparent reason, but when you’re in the zone, it doesn’t matter. As the sun set, I tried different compositions, and then began creating a panorama, handheld. I zoomed my lens near it’s maximum setting (105mm) and took multiple multi-row panoramas of the setting sun, the powerful, grandiose clouds, and Grand Lake. When the sun fell below the horizon, I knew I had my masterpiece.
I was somewhat disappointed when I first looked at my images in the studio. The captures that I had thought were going to be amazing, ended up suffering from motion blur. Undeterred, I then experimented with combining the panorama captures together. It was then that I found my masterpiece. Applying some basic corrections, I proceeded to merge the 25 captures together. I then started working on the image to express how that scene appeared to me, the bright orange sun dipping in the horizon, with the lake underneath wishing the sun would not leave, and the clouds, the very powerful grandiose clouds! I wanted to bring out the clouds, so I applied many techniques to bring out the power of the clouds.
During the creation of this work, I noticed black spots all over the image. My camera had sensor dust, and since this work was a combination of 25 images, I had a lot of spot removable to do. Lesson learned, keep your camera sensor clean. I worked all night to finish this work, as I was on a deadline to submit images to my lab for printing. Otherwise, I might not have them for the art show. So I went home and to bed at 6:00 in the morning, with all my work submitted to the photo lab.
I ordered a 30×60 Framed Canvas from Simply Color Lab, and it was better than I had imagined. It was my first work that I had made so big, and the lab did an amazing job in color accuracy. This work is still considered to be my masterpiece.