Inspiration Point, And The Point Of Inspiration by Tula Top

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Inspiration Point, And The Point Of Inspiration by 

Mt. Hood & Mirror Lake, Mt. Hood National Forest, Government Camp, Oregon, USA

  • Canon 5DII · 16-35mm f/2.8L II · 27mm · CPL · +/- GNDs (can’t remember)
  • 27mm · f/18 · 10s · ISO 100
  • Single exposure processed at minus-1/2, plus-1/6th, and plus-1/2 · tone mapped in Photomatix Pro · fine-tuned in CS5 · monochrome conversion in Silver Efex Pro 2 · fine-tuned again in CS5

Some of you might recognize this as an achromatic take on Fire On The Mountain II, and you would be correct. But what you may not know is that this piece may never have materialized if not for the vision, inspiration, and guidance of an incredibly respected Bubbler, amazingly talented artist, and an even better human being whom I hope by now might consider us friends. It is the reason I didn’t simply entitle this “Fire On The Mountain III” or “…IIa” or “…Monochrome”. It is the reason I took up the challenge and, more importantly, stuck with it despite my doubts that it would ever result in something worthy of the effort. It is the reason why I am now bald. (Just kidding, nameless person!!)

It started out discouragingly, with SEP2’s presets resulting in an uninspired sky and excessive attention drawn to the foreground. Then on day 2 I had a breakthrough of sorts when I started fiddling with the selective structure slider for the midtones. Even with that, I needed to use a lot of U points (for smaller, local adjustments) to try to draw attention back to the distant shoreline and mountain. I then finished the conversion with a selenium toning.

So, WYSIWYG, the best I think I can manage because that’s the kind of effort this person deserves, for all this person’s given to me in turn. S/he’s the one who deemed this Bubble-worthy, so if you disagree, shoot me a b-mail and I’ll let you know who it is so you can harass him/her incessantly. Kind of like I do. ;)

(I do think this might play better LARGE, if you’re so inclined)

Physician and passionate nature photographer based out of Portland, Oregon, USA.

For unframed prints and other products, please visit my portfolio and store here.

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  • Mieke Boynton
    Mieke Boyntonover 3 years ago

    Absolutely stunning, Tula. Lovely tones, gorgeous composition and sharp throughout. Wonderful work!!

  • Thanks, doll! What a lovely way to tip off the comments, with a visit from the croc lady herself! Appreciate that so much. :)

    – Tula Top

  • Zolton
    Zoltonover 3 years ago


  • Thank you, Z!

    – Tula Top

  • David  Hibberd
    David Hibberdover 3 years ago

    Wonderfully composed and works perfectly in mono.

  • Thanks, Davo, appreciate that…I certainly had my doubts! :)

    – Tula Top

  • Joanne  Bradley
    Joanne Bradleyover 3 years ago

    wow, this is soooo beautiful! Serene and peaceful! Excellent composition and exposure! Great tonal contrast!

  • Thank you so much, Joanne! Appreciate the comment and very glad you like it…although I know someone ELSE who’s probably even happier than I am right now, lol!

    – Tula Top

  • David Murphy
    David Murphyover 3 years ago

    MATE!! Awesome…….just stunning…….it looked great in colour, but that also means it would look great in mono……and here it is! The 5D2 will let you take beautiful monos, and I personally find it important to take monos in the field, so to speak, because the Mood that is present can require a different exposure to bring that mood out….and make processing easier I suspect.
    Once again, awesome mate! One of the best landscape monos I’ve ever seen!!

  • First of all, thanks immensely for that, my friend. I agree it’s easier if you know it’s a mono from the start, but this one…someone, ::ahem::, ‘goaded’ me into it. ;) I’ll be truthful, I’m obviously flattered and very, VERY appreciative of the reception it’s received thus far but am also quite surprised by it…I personally like it but don’t know that it warrants the degree of accolades it’s getting, but maybe it takes stepping out of one’s own skin to see a different appeal for it. I thank you again, mate, for these exceedingly kind words as well as always welcomed advice. Cheers. :)

    – Tula Top

  • Joe Powell
    Joe Powellover 3 years ago

    Outstanding Tula! Love the tones and sharpness. Beautifully done.

  • Appreciate that, my friend. Thanks so much! :)

    – Tula Top

  • Damienne Bingham
    Damienne Binghamover 3 years ago

    Wow this is truly spectacular Tula. Whatever processing you’ve done to this is wonderful, the tones are just superb! You’ve got the full range of tones there – erring on the lighter side which normally would be the opposite to what I am drawn to, but in this case is spot on! There is a 3D, tactile quality that you’ve captured in this – really wonderful stuff!

    Sorry if I sound ridiculously effusive and sycophantic, but this is really impressive and you should be really proud of it!

  • Boy, if you’re saying it’s a good conversion, I have no choice but to accept it! I too like it dark and was hoping I could pull off that Ansel Adams-black sky, but the source material wouldn’t allow it. I’m thoroughly grateful for your thoughtful critique and, of course, am thrilled that you enjoy it. Thank you, Damienne!

    – Tula Top

  • Jack McCabe
    Jack McCabeover 3 years ago

  • Thanks for the thumb, Jack! ;)

    – Tula Top

  • John Morton
    John Mortonover 3 years ago

    This is a stunning vision of beauty, Tula. Bravo

  • How many ways can I say thank you, sir? If you find me repeating myself, it’s only because the sentiment never changes. Thank you very, very much, John. :)

    – Tula Top

  • Softly
    Softlyover 3 years ago

    Wonderfully delightful image

  • Very much appreciate your visit and comment, Softly…just took a peek at your ‘folio and it’s clear I’ve been missing out!

    – Tula Top

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