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― Scapes CritiqueBuffalo Bill Dam (1910), Cody, Wyoming

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Charles Haacker
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Buffalo Bill Dam (1910), Cody, Wyoming

Post by Charles Haacker » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:48 pm

From Wikipedia: Buffalo Bill Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Shoshone River in the U.S. state of Wyoming. It is named after the famous Wild West figure William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who founded the nearby town of Cody and owned much of the land now covered by the reservoir formed by its construction. The dam is part of the Shoshone Project, successor to several visionary schemes promoted by Cody to irrigate the Bighorn Basin and turn it from a semi-arid sagebrush-covered plain to productive agricultural land. Known at the time of its construction as Shoshone Dam, it was renamed in 1946 to honor Cody.

The 325 feet (99 m) high structure was designed by engineer Daniel Webster Cole and built between 1905 and 1910. At the time of its completion it was the tallest dam in the world. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and named a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1973. The land around the reservoir is maintained as Buffalo Bill State Park.


Cody, Wyoming was one of our most beloved places but while we camped often in Buffalo Bill State Park and drove around to look at the upstream part of the dam, Buffalo Bill Reservoir, it's usually always at full pool so you can't see much, and for some reason we never took the dam tour even though we both loved dams. We were in Cody several times on our tours but I could never figure out where there might be a photo-op of the downstream face. In 2014 we stumbled over it. We pulled out on the shoulder and started walking back and there it was, BUT it looked nearly impossible to differentiate between the dam and the Precambrian rock it's wedged into.

All I've really done here is a slight crop, manipulate shadows, highlights, and vibrance. I've thought about using a brush on the face of the dam but I want it to look as close to what it really looks like, but to stand out juuuuust a little better than in the original. What might you do differently?
Attachments
DSCN1441-2.BIG.jpg
This is the SOOC original jpeg, with no adjustments applied other than what my Nikon P7800 did. This I think would work about as well in a B&W conversion since almost everything is one color (light never gets into this deep, narrow cañón).
DSCN1441-2.BIG-2.jpg
I hoped that by mostly increasing vibrance to bring out details and color in the rock, the dam face would stand out for having hardly any detail and no color except gray.
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Post by Psjunkie » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:06 pm

Since you are trying to bring your subject "the dam" forefront, I'd recommend reducing the background however you might see fit Chuck.....it is taking away from what you are trying to showcase..

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Charles Haacker
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Post by Charles Haacker » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:09 pm

Psjunkie wrote:Since you are trying to bring your subject "the dam" forefront, I'd recommend reducing the background however you might see fit Chuck.....it is taking away from what you are trying to showcase..

I agree, Frank. I took another shot at it, still all in Lightroom (I probably should have switched to Photoshop and done it in layers and masks but...). Try this:
Attachments
DSCN1441-2.MAX.jpg
This might be overcooked. I pulled the background exposure down a stop plus unsharpened using a graduated filter (erased from the foreground), and used the adjustment brush to raise the exposure on the dam itself a half-stop.
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Post by PietFrancke » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:37 pm

Hi Chuck, that is one cool Dam. Your last version highlights the wall of it, but the image seems flat to me. The natural light of it seems to be a darker dam holding back the light (kind of like a tunnel). An alternative might be to crop more at the bottom and then have the dam wall area darker. Make it look massive/dark/ominous holding back the light that is spilling over the top.

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Post by Charles Haacker » Tue Jul 18, 2017 4:31 pm

PietFrancke wrote:Hi Chuck, that is one cool Dam. Your last version highlights the wall of it, but the image seems flat to me. The natural light of it seems to be a darker dam holding back the light (kind of like a tunnel). An alternative might be to crop more at the bottom and then have the dam wall area darker. Make it look massive/dark/ominous holding back the light that is spilling over the top.

It'sa toughie all right, Piet. I'm gonna give it rest for a while. I don't think I would crop from bottom because I want to show the depth of that slot canyon. Gotta think on this... :|
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Post by LindaShorey » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:00 pm

Love the composition: a feeling of mass and height, textures and details. I prefer the light of #1 (agree with Piet about flat #2). Wondering if a very slight blur of background and a slight lightening of the dam, especially against the darker camera-right side rocks, would help? You could also slightly darken those same right side rocks just around where they touch the dam. Gonna take a gentle touch, I'm sure.
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Post by St3v3M » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:41 am

Charles Haacker wrote:...
Cody, Wyoming was one of our most beloved places but while we camped often in Buffalo Bill State Park and drove around to look at the upstream part of the dam, Buffalo Bill Reservoir, it's usually always at full pool so you can't see much, and for some reason we never took the dam tour even though we both loved dams. We were in Cody several times on our tours but I could never figure out where there might be a photo-op of the downstream face. In 2014 we stumbled over it. We pulled out on the shoulder and started walking back and there it was, BUT it looked nearly impossible to differentiate between the dam and the Precambrian rock it's wedged into.

All I've really done here is a slight crop, manipulate shadows, highlights, and vibrance. I've thought about using a brush on the face of the dam but I want it to look as close to what it really looks like, but to stand out juuuuust a little better than in the original. What might you do differently?

I immediately noticed two things that might help.

The first is the sky which isn't adding anything but the truth to the image. I might suggest replacing it but like you I like to keep it as it is.

The other then is the color temperature which is a bit blue and to respect your wishes I propose the following adjustments to the original in Lightroom.
- Temp +10
- Exposure -0.5
- Contrast +10
- Highlights -25
- Shadows -50
- Blacks -5
- Clarity +50
- Vibrance +50

I hope it helps! S-
"Take photographs, leave footprints, steal hearts"

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