Jewell Wildlife Refuge.
I arrived here at the main Elk viewing area just after the sun had come up. It was chilly, soaking with morning dew and the kind of quiet that you can only 'hear' this far out into the country! There were only a few Elk visible and they were too far away to really get any good shots so I stood in the parking lot and did a slow 360 turn as I usually do...looking for anything else photo worthy.
When I turned into the morning sun, I saw the dew covered grass sparkling, the long shadows crossing it from the surrounding Evergreens and the fog wafting in and around them, turning them into layers as they faded away into the mist. Standing there, it wasn't too hard to believe that this was the first sunrise on Earth and that I could well have been the only human alive.
I'm not really sure what it is about this type of scene...maybe it's drama, mystery, a touch of eeriness or the feeling that the world stops at the edge of what you can see through the fog...the total quiet lending emphasis to this feeling, but I have always, as long as I can remember, been moved by this kind of scene.
When it's really really good, I get such a case of goosebumps and a tingling feeling at the back of my neck and that's how I know I'm looking at something special! Sort of like my way of knowing if the Salsa I'm eating is really good or not. If it makes my head sweat, then I know it's good!
Well, looking at this view, my goosebump meter was going off the scale.
I was seriously afraid I wouldn't be able to capture what I was seeing as well as I wanted since I was shooting directly into the brilliant, though fog-muted sun and that the sunrays streaming around the closest tree wouldn't show up. Needless to say, I was thoroughly pleased at how well it turned out. At least it turned out great in my opinion as every time I look at this shot...I get my goosebumps all over again! Featured here:[link]
I liked this shot so much, that I felt like presenting it in several different ways. Hopefully, you the viewer will find one version that moves you like it does me.
This first alteration I made I simply put a Gaussian Blur over the image to soften it up and remove some of the hard lines a bit. This seems to me to be the kind of image that should be soft and gentle, not harsh and jagged.
For the next version, I decided to turn this into an oil painting since to me, it looks like a perfect candidate for that kind of effect. The fact that I have a thing for oil paintings and since I can't paint worth a dime and this is my only way of being able to, never entered my mind.
Anyway, there is quite a learning curve to using this effect and look realistic, not terribly fake and I think I'm starting to get pretty good at it. I use several styles, this is one of them.
Hmmm.....love it, but still have an urge to do something else with it, so I did a watercolor version too.
For all of these versions, I was zoomed in kind of tight. For this shot I used a wider angle and included part of the parking lot and one park bench to give some indication of where this scene really was.
If a picture's worth a thousand words...
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