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Look Both Ways
Upstream, downstream, it's fall and the South Prairie Creek is a riot of color.
The salmon are running upstream to spawn right now. This is too wide of an angle to show them clearly (but if you were to zoom in, you might find a few of them). Also coming to this part of South Prairie Creek? Busloads of local school students, who stream off of the busses and walk down to the water to watch the annual struggle to spawn play itself out.
While I was setting up this shot, I saw a massive salmon making a run upstream—jumping with incredible power in an obviously tired body (the scales had already turned white). It was inspiring, I had such a strong emotional reaction to it. Beautiful, scary, all at the same time. What a way to live.
I later turned my camera downstream to catch the view in that direction; it has a completely different feel because the angle of sunlight is very different, and there is much less filtering through the warm colors of fall leaves.
Strictly speaking, the colors were not as different as they show up in these two photographs. The camera makes some decisions about how to balance the colors, and the upstream shot came out warm (more red), and the downstream shot came out cooler (more blue). I like the difference in character; it shows how a photograph is not a literal transcription of a scene. (But a photographer can bring them closer together using processing tricks.)
Here’s the first scene with a bluer cast, achieved by adjusting the white balance in software (Capture One).
I like the warmer shot at the top of the page because it’s more suggestive of fall season. The processing on the top photo matches how the stream feels better than the more literal version just above.
In the downstream shot, the sun is falling directly on the water, trees, trunks, and rocks. That direction did not look warm and fuzzy; it looked blasted by sunlight, and the bluer rendering matches that sensation.