Tar bucket and glowing flowers.

The process.

I’ve had a couple of requests asking about the original picture. The one before I started tinkering around. The one that I made on the scene.

I thought answering it visually was a good idea since this work normally doesn’t lend itself to multiple pictures on a page. Once the art is made, it’s done. Multiple pictures on a page usually needs some kind of storyline to make them work. In many ways this is a true picture story because it is a process. On the other hand, it’s the same picture.


I thought that I would show you the steps. I did not include the little bits and pieces. If you want to talk and learn about them, that’ll make another pretty good post.

You are looking at the pictures in reverse order. Finished to start. I did that mostly because the top image is displayed on other social media like Facebook. I want those readers to see the finished one. In old school layout, it would be the hero picture.


The top picture is finished. Actually, there was another version of it that I made later. Remember when I said that sometimes I go too far? I went too far. It’s nasty. Almost glowing in flourescent colors.

This is the base image, plus two different layers of blossoms that were photographed loosely and tightly. I wasn’t planning for this use when I made the pictures. That’s just how I work. I explore the subject by working tighter, looser and from different angles.

See the text below each picture. Please.

Getting there.

At this point, I’ve added one layer of pink flower blossoms to the original image.  I dropped the blossoms over it, refined them and added a little glow. I’ve lowered the contrast a lot, to cut back on too much glow. Layering is a little tricky over black because you can either lose the blossom layer or bury the base layer so that it’s all blossoms. Balance is the key. So is intent.

First edit.

This is the finished original picture. I’ve done, what for me, are normal fine tunings. Sharpness, structure, brightness, contrast, ambience, and I’ve controlled the highlights and shadows. A quick note about highlight control. When the whites turn to a medium shade of gray, you’ve gone too far. At this point, I’m real close. I bet you’re wondering what the subject is. I’ll tell you in the next text block.

How I saw it.

The original picture. The file as I saw it. In exposing for the blacks, I marginalized the highlights and made the leaf pop up. That was unintentional. Because I made the picture in the morning there is still a little bit of yellow light in it. To me, in this context, that looks weird.

Do you know what the subject is yet?


My neighbors were having their roof repaired. You know, with new roofing material, and tar and all that stuff.  The neighborhood smelled just great with that sulfer-like smell. I’m sure you know what that is. It usually falls into the category of, “what the hell is that?”

Then you see the smoke and the tar bubbling up from what could be the gates of hell. Or, a tar pot.

That’s one of those smelly, normally hot, tar pots. Apparently, most of the work was finished but the crew left it in place for touching up anything they might have missed. For them, it’s at least a two-day process.

It wasn’t hot when I saw it. And, it didn’t smell. Much.

My dogs hated it. They were cautious approaching it. And, barked like crazy when they got close. They know. Dogs always know.


8 Replies to “The Process”

    1. Thank you very much. It’s good to see you again. A lot of people seem to like this series. While I can tell people what dials to turn and levers to push, everybody’s vision is their own.


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