Continuing on from Eastern Sierra posts. So there I was at Convict Lake in the early morning hours, with freezing thumbs and freezing toes, bored out of my mind after taking 500+ images of the iconic shot. Trying to figure out how to keep myself entertained, and distracted from the ache in my fingers and toes, and then I thought about one of the assignments in Henry Carrol’s photo journal. Make something beautiful ugly.This is a lot harder than it sounds. I first thought about putting my wide angle on and trying to take a close-up picture of Peter’s face, accentuating his runny nose. Then I thought that might cause some marital distress, so I turned my attention back to this amazing scene at Convict Lake. A beautiful reflection of fall color, a quiet lake, in soft light. How do you make that ugly?
I first started with what elements make an image ugly:
- An unattractive crop
- Soft (unplanned) focus
So I did all of those things. I first started with a severe crop, eliminating the unique elements of the scene (the morning reflection, the line of rocks leading to the mountains, etc). Then I thought about losing focus, so I tried to blur the image by wiggling the camera during the 1 second exposure. Then I piled on over-exposing the image.
This is what I ended up with. After all that hard work trying to make this scene ugly, I actually kind of like it. I decided to take a “serious” picture of the composition to see if I still liked it enough when I got home. The jury is still out.