But as i started working on the print (the sandwich part), and did a test, it just didn't feel right, it just didn't work, i had a feeling in my gut about that. (Doing this sort of work, or any creative work, you need to develop that 'gut feeling' instinct.)
It still needed work, but it had some magic about it.
So...... sparing you the description of the rummaging i went thru, i ended up w/ something else.
I did something i have done many times before, when i was vexed, and couldn't go further - i covered the tray of developer w/ some freeze wrap, to keep it from degrading ( +becoming weaker from one day to the next).
I slept on it, this image, hoping i would come up w/ the 'next step'.
Which is what happened - i sifted thru all my Nevada 2008 negs, and found 1 where the hi-lite on the desert floor, when sandwiched w/ the stair steps, lined up perfectly, or awfully damn close to it. The way the stair steps start, on the playa... and then ascend thru the mountains and into the sky adds mystery, and tension.
It took a few tries to perfect the dodge and burn on this one - the lower right corner was a bit too dark, the steps at upper right were a bit burned out.
Once I nailed that, i thought...Hmmm... is there anything else that 'belongs here'? ..that expands the meaning of this one?
The image is about a journey, a trip, climbing up somewhere, somewhere beyond the mountains and horizon. So what do i have that compliments that thought? (it might not be obvious, or visually obvious).
I found something, a neg I'd shot many years ago at the Musee Mechanique in SF, when it was still on the bottom floor of Cliff House. The only windows faced west, and the end of day light streamed in at varying angles depending on the time of year. It was always interesting to see what was lit up, it changed subtly from day to day.
This one item, a weight machine of some sort, had a spinning wheel that would display various 'fortunes' you might be liable for. I really liked the one that said 'there are many answers to all questions'. it seemed to connect w/ the journey/quest idea in the image...... so i blew in just that part of the neg.
That works for me, adds that extra something special, enigmatically, tugging at your imagination.
How many questions? How many answers?
It's endless. welcome to 'life', it's crazy, but make it fun, you only go around once, no rehearsals, no re-do's, no Command+Z.
I did digital colorizations of both of these, just for shits -
....they are only OK.... just barely.
I can do soooo much more w/ Q-tips, cotton balls, and some oil colors:
...and you can, too.
Larger images, a few more comments: