So apparently there was some sort of football game on yesterday… :)

While the Giants were going on to win the championship (w00t New York!), I was meeting up with my two newest friends, Karen Hutton and Ben Canales, to shoot sunset atop Crown Point at the Vista House. I have to say that these two photographers are just fantastic to shoot alongside with and exude creativity and tons of comic relief. It was an absolute pleasure and I look forward to more encounters with these characters.

I cannot begin to accurately tell you how strong the winds were up there last night. It was almost comical – laughing so hard while your eyes involuntarily stream tears from the whipping cold air. And the thing was that if you didn’t brace your tripod down with your own weight, it’d simply blow over. But that’s what we, as photographers, do to get our shots, right?

I pondered this a lot last night over coffee at Stumptown with Karen and Jeffrey Yen. We were discussing the differences and similarities of photographers versus other type of artist. Now, this isn’t meant to be a debate. I am not trying to deliberately spew incendiary opinions, so please don’t react as if that was the case.

My point is pretty simple – as photographers, if we want to create our work, we have to go out to where the work is and create it. If that means hiking through chest-deep water, blistering cold, or across some sandy desert dunes, that is what we have to do. It’s a pay-to-play art form. Whereas a painter, for instance, has the freedom and the luxury to create wonderful and epic work from the comfort of a controlled environment. If a painter wanted to paint the Grand Canyon, he or she isn’t required to be sitting or standing on the rim to do so. If a photographer wants to capture the same place, there really is no other option but to be there. We need to study and master our cameras and the environment all while knowing how to manipulate the camera to best exploit whatever the current environmental conditions are. And really, would we want to have it any other way?

It’s a fairly straightforward opinion and as I was standing atop Crown Point, trying to keep my camera from blowing over in the middle of a bracketed sequence of exposures, I was reminded of just how lucky I am to be a photographer and how much I love my craft.

This is a nine exposure tone-mapped HDR image using Photomatix. I processed the image primarily in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. Not much done, though – mostly accentuating the warm tones in the building and sunset horizon while cooling off the rest of the sky. I also selectively added some tonal contrast to the Vista House itself to bring out some more texture. I toyed with applying a FocalPoint layer to the sky but I ended up losing a bunch of that gorgeous shape to the clouds and opted to delete that layer.