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A Path In The Sun

Posted by
Stephen Phillips (San Francisco, United States) on 30 March 2011 in People & Portrait and Portfolio.

Jesse (2005)

Provia 100 transparency film - DiMage hi-res scan

This image was taken at the far northern end of the Sacramento River Delta region of California. This rail track runs atop the levee of The Sacramento River just south of the town of Freeport.

Silt - carried downstream from the numerous rivers of Northern California has been deposited in the delta for eons. The soils here are among the richest on earth.

This area once billed itself as 'The Pear Capitol of The World'. Many of the orchards have been allowed to go to seed or have been eradicated in favor of wine grapes. A phenomenon happening with many crops throughout central and coastal California.

The moss along the pathway is common during the winter months here where fog, rain, and cool temperatures along with high humidity; are the dominant factors for the area's climate.

The lush green carpet will vanish during the months of summer and fall. Those months will see mostly sunny days here, where daytime highs frequently exceed 100º F (38º C).

© copyright 2018 by Stephen Phillips Photography / Oakland, California /
please respect these rights - do not copy or use these images without permission.

DULCIE from Danville, CA, United States

A lovely graceful the sunlight weaving in and out of her dress and hair.
An evocative shot, Stephen.

30 Mar 2011 5:45am

Tinx from Kuressaare, Estonia


30 Mar 2011 5:52am

Rayak from Paris, France

Wouah very nice graceful portrait and perspective.

30 Mar 2011 5:58am

Kenny from Eastsound, United States

A beautiful, peaceful scene here. The model looks very natural here.

30 Mar 2011 6:04am

Marie LC from Entre montagnes et Bretagne, France

Very poetic image

30 Mar 2011 6:11am

yz from Budapest, Hungary

excellent light
it has a "woodstock" mood to it :)

30 Mar 2011 7:06am

Monterey John from Hollister, CA, United States

Oh my, Stephen, the girl, the lines, the subtle color, the light, this has got it all. And a fil image at that. Just lovely.

30 Mar 2011 7:27am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

An absolute stunner, shot in glorious backlit conditions, but surely you have worked a little harder to enhance the lighting and bring this freshness of colour to the photograph? Perhaps a little dodge and burn here and there?
The scene is alive with light and vivid colour, you can almost smell it.

30 Mar 2011 8:48am

@Curly: Good eye, Curly - I used a near embarrassment of Photoshop applications on this image. I know you will understand when I say that I 'really got into it'. I love the feel of this image and kept finding things to tweak. Beyond the obvious - bringing light to Jesse's face and hair - I broad-feathered about two-thirds of the background to darken it. In the background - there were two utility poles and a hole of sky above Jesse's right shoulder that seemed terribly distracting. I filled that area with foliage to complete the tree canopy.

Finally - I applied the 'Shadows/Highlight' effect over the right third of the image to bring out the detail of bark on the trees and to dull the light off of the river - allowing the eye to settle on the subject.

The best commentary on this is that there was sufficient information in the Provia 100 exposure to allow all of this. The film was unmounted which I believe gives a slight advantage in getting a good scan. After a slight edge crop - I wound up starting with a 38.3 MB image. This I cropped even more to eliminate light from the sky and the right edge. Here is the original from scan:

Ironically - I kind of like the full original. Still, I love the final image and I'm happy I took the time to produce it. There will be more conversation on this from my post over the next few days - I hope you will be part of it.

Stefan from Thiersee, Austria

Lovely image, a peaceful portrait!

30 Mar 2011 8:55am

RORO from LE HAVRE, France

Nice walk, I like the mood here

30 Mar 2011 9:41am

Franz from Baden, Austria

wow, this is first-rate photography and spotlight material! the ephemeral mood that prevails here is truly appealing, as are the lush yet subdued colours and the leading line provided by the rail tracks. i also like the brilliant effect achieved by the contrast/juxtaposition of the girl's red hair and white clothes and the fact that she's barefoot. this and her raised foot makes her appear to hover above the ground. i'm quite speechless, really!

30 Mar 2011 10:32am

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

A wonderful soft and introspective shot Stephen! Great visual play between the path and rails. The light is spot on! Well done Stephen! 5-stars!!! Bravo! ;-)

30 Mar 2011 12:47pm

Jason Politte from Conway, AR, United States

Wonderful use of natural light - truly a superb shot!

30 Mar 2011 1:55pm

hugo poon from hong kong, Hong Kong

Soooo incredibly beautiful Stephen! Like a dream... and she's so pure, graceful... ethereal!!! Every detail from the lighting, tonality, focus, composition to the mood of the subject, just couldn't be more exquisite! Haven't seen such a wonderfully moving portraiture for a long long time! Bravo my friend!

30 Mar 2011 2:14pm

alex centrella from California, United States

very nice work .. i like the how the light hits the subject ...

30 Mar 2011 4:31pm

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Makes it all the more satisfying to view this remarkable transformation, like yourself I can really get into a good bit of play with the Photoshop brushes and tools, I think you've done a tremendous job with this one - bravo!

30 Mar 2011 5:38pm

Jeff from Pembroke Dock, Wales., United Kingdom

When I worked on the railway I saw quite a few foxes walking the track,but not one like Jesse,or I would never have left the job.

30 Mar 2011 5:53pm

¨‘°ºO Dutçh Oº°‘¨ from Neverwhere, United States

Like a scene from out of a movie, this image carries with it emotion.. the girl's posture, her gauzy skirt, the mist on the tracks in the background.. all very dreamy. The story behind the setting is nice as well. Definitely on my top of lists today.

30 Mar 2011 6:01pm

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

A poetic moment, she is walking like lost in her thoughts, I like it very much

30 Mar 2011 6:26pm

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Nice one Stephen, I would've been happy with the original but you've then raised it to another level as it's come alive. Your choice of location is again much of it is pre-planned or researched and how much of it is on the hoof with the model?

30 Mar 2011 7:47pm

@Ted: Greetings, Ted - thanks for the kind words. My favorite pastime is exploring the back roads. As I explore - I'll spy locations that would be perfect with a model and make a mental note about it. The same thing happens wherever I go, even driving around The City. Whenever possible - I try to thoroughly scout a location before shooting. I try to note the light, shadows, interesting elements, framing opportunities, safety concerns, and obstructions that might hamper our work. Generally, the more preparation I put in - the smoother the shoot and the more we can accomplish.

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

Wonderful sense of serenity in this.

31 Mar 2011 12:05am

@Ralph Jones: Thanks, Ralph.

Shahryar from Isfahan, Iran

beautiful shot ,very nice :)

31 Mar 2011 8:18am

Farhaat from Manama, Bahrain

beautfiul x

1 Apr 2011 6:45am

Azadeh from Tehran, Japan

love the picture. she looks so careless and free :)

1 Apr 2011 8:02am

sherri from Little Rock, Arkansas, United States

Like a scene from a movie. Nicely done.

2 Apr 2011 3:46am

Magda from Vancouver, Canada

love the freshness... wonderful play of light and shadows

4 Apr 2011 6:06am