Photographed: Sept. 1999
Though I live in a small community, I enjoy the ability to use the highway to get from Okanogan to Omak quickly. I'm amazed at how many great vistas I spot even at 60 mph.
This view, from the highway looking west on a cool, Sunday morning, shows Shellrock Point. The hay bales belong to Roy Webster, whose cattle I captured on film a few years earlier crossing the Okanogan River just below Shellrock Point.
I noticed as I crossed the bridge over Rodeo Trail Road, that for an instant no buildings could be easily seen, just the hay bales, trees along the river and towards me, and the rock prominence that physically splits the towns of Okanogan and Omak.
In the darkroom, I had to do some dodging and burning to even out the sky and the washed out field at left in mid-print. I also used a bit of bleaching on the sky, to give the clouds a bit more edge than when I saw them that morning. I'm pretty sure I used a red filter when taking the photo, since the hay bales and surrounding alfalfa are separated tonally. You'd be surprised how little difference there is in the two. They look to us to be separated, with the bales light and the grass darker, but to film they are about a half stop different.
I got a kick out of retouching a few bits of dust in the sky and hills. I noticed, only in the magnifier, a small house up the ridge at the left. The cross was placed on the top of the rock several years ago. There are those that think it mars the landscape, and others say it makes a statement about the people living in the area. I think it contrasted nicely with the dark hills behind it.
This image comes pretty close to what I envisioned. I wanted the mountains in the back, which lead to Arlington Ridge, to be darker to set off the cross. On this particular morning, I stood at the edge of the bridge for nearly two hours. In that time, the sun choose to highlight the scene I wanted for about 20 seconds. But what a marvelous moment!