Radeka Photography

Zabriskie Point

Moon Over Zabriskie Point, 1980.
Death Valley National Park, California

     This image was shot shortly after sunrise on 4x5 Tri-X film and developed in HC-110 developer to normal contrast. I waited until the sunlight almost fully bathed the Panamint Mountains. The entire foreground was not yet touched by the morning light. Within seconds after making the exposure, the clouds began to fully cover the moon making it nearly invisible. Fortunately, the only negative I exposed contains all the necessary information to achieve an excellent print. Because of the inherent brightness of the sky (compared to the foreground area), I give the entire sky area of the print a substantial amount of burning in order to darken it to the degree necessary to obtain a well-balanced image. The burning is done just to the point of bringing out the "mood" of the scene which to me represents a relationship between the moon and the "lunar-like" landscape of the foreground mudhills. In order to enhance the liveliness of the foreground mudhills, a shadow contrast increase mask (SCIM) was used to enhance the local contrast of the foreground area. The use of this mask requires perfect pin-registration on the enlarger. In addition, the Panamint Mountains received a considerable amount of hand bleaching with my "highlight brightening" ferricyanide formula in order to brighten the mountain range and increase the local highlight contrast rather severely. The difference between a straight print made from this negative and my final "expressive" print is substantial. 

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