Red Shack in Marsh

red shack in marsh

I took this picture on my honeymoon in October 1988. The location is Metompkin Island Virginia, a remote place with isolated fishing shacks. In order to get there, we needed a canoe.

Over the years, it’s been a popular photograph, having gone through a series of incarnations. The original was shot on 120 negative film with a Fuji 645 W.

Initially, I sold a few C Prints straight from that negative, but soon became unhappy with the low contrast. A friend who owned a lab suggested we copy the original onto an 8 x 10 negative. We did this with the expectation that the copy would increase contrast. It worked. I preferred the amped-up version, although the earlier one had its merits too. Between 1990 and 2001 I made a number of C prints from that copy, which required an 8 x 10 enlarger in order to make the prints.

With the advent of digital imaging, this was one of the first film photographs that I archived. At that time, all my scans were drum scans.

With my hybrid-digital file, I began a new edition of prints. The first few were “digital C’s”, but I soon preferred the look of Epson fine art papers and that’s where the picture has remained ever since.

These days, the image is printed onto a roll of Epson UltraSmooth Fine Art Paper with the Epson Pro 3880. The photograph is approximately 11″ x 30″, matted in a 22″ x 40″ white rag mat. All my work is framed in white wood. The edition of 100 prints is about two-thirds complete.

20 thoughts on “Red Shack in Marsh

    1. What’s interesting about those “dark days” is that I pretty much had to jump through hoops to make a simple contrast correction. These days: a two second fix in Photoshop!

  1. Beautiful composition, John. I love the way you gave us some red on one side. My eyes were first drawn to the seemingly endless stretch of water. The dots of other shacks also enhanced the composition

  2. What a fantastic place to go on honeymoon! Love the idea of canoeing there..I can feel that cold silence of the water in this, lovely..(oh and yes I agree I like the photo chat too! 🙂 )

  3. It’s interesting to hear about the journey. There are many versions, including the one here, on our computer screens, each one a little different. It’s a great photo!

    1. Thanks Lynn.

      My friend Pete once told me that “a better print can always be made”. I laughed at the remark, but the thought that we’re creating “works in progress” is probably better than calling it “our work”.

      I’m always tweaking.

      Your point about the lack of industry-wide monitor calibration is another great topic. Things have improved, but it’s far from a fix. As you said, we’re looking at infinite variations. A good example…just this morning I opened this post on my iPad and was disappointed. Despite Apple’s best efforts at calibrating all their various monitors, I noted the same desaturated reds that I’ve come to expect from this thing. And have you ever looked at your work on an older PC monitor? Ugh.

      1. I haven’t, but I do wonder what other people see when they look at a post, on what must be a vast assortment of devices out there – including iPhones! Oh well, you do what you can and let the rest go…

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