Alcobaca Revisited


Street Scene: Alcobaca, Portugal 2007


Just over two years ago, I almost died (see here) in this town. At least, that’s what Sharon thought. For some reason, I remained unusually cool throughout the episode but that’s not this is about. I just thought it was time to post a new photograph and this is what I came up with. It is a place in Portugal which we visited because of the incredible cathedral in this small town. I took this picture as were leaving the parking lot. The cathedral is at the end of the street to the left.

Originally, I thought it was just a pretty scenic picture but I had a second look at it recently and thought I could get something more out of it. I have been doing this a lot lately. The beauty of digital photography (or one of them) is that the contact sheet has been replaced by programs like Lightroom or Adobe Bridge. In the “old days”, you could look through your contacts and if you saw something worth printing, you had to go through the entire routine of small prints, work prints, final prints, etc. and then what you ended up with was a fairly good print of the image on your contact sheet. It might be lighter, darker, more/less contrast, with some of the edges burnt in but that was it. Now it’s different! Color becomes black and white and vice versa. Color mixes with tonality and grain is either added or subtracted. Parts of the image which distract the viewer are darkened or blurred out so that the are hardly noticable. In other words, you are never quite finished looking at any of your pictures. They can always be made, changed, altered and printed— and the best part is that you are always sitting down. This can be done over a cup of coffee just before supper. I should mention that I never add or remove parts of images nor do I use any other digital wizardry. I only darken/lighten/blur parts of images. The only concession I make to our modern era is the use of layering and masking but what the hell— nobody’s perfect. Actually why not? I really never change anything that was in the original image— I merely alter it. That is what photographers have been doing since the 19th century.

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