This is perhaps the prettiest digital picture I've ever taken. It's a view of Burt Lake, Michigan, from the family summer house that was recently sold. We were on the lakeshore for exactly 100 years, from 1913 to 2013. A beautiful place.
That means the picture is, of course, a family photograph...but, as with many scenics, one that's generic enough to be universal. (I should have a poster made of this, to sell to Northern Michigan gift stores.) The manmade objects save it from idealization, which is something I always seek out—I really don't like the idea of "perfected" landscapes, in which all the "bad" things are excised and the views are isolated to look "unspoiled." Or whatever the motivation for that is...I've never quite understood it. When Robert Adams took the pictures in From the Missouri West, one of his principle personal guidelines was to make sure that all of the pictures contained at least some trace of the hand of man. That was to prevent himself from falling prey to that romanticizing, idealizing impulse that drove so many older landscapists. Anyway this is the shore as it looked at sunrise one morning, a picture both honest and beautiful.
(We did clone out a buoy that looked like a black dot on the water. So I ain't so pure.)
The print was difficult to get right; but Ctein got it right—just right. I can't imagine it looking better. Which makes it also the prettiest print of my digital work ever made.
It's one of those prints that's dependent on the viewing light of the print to get the proper sense of the light in the scene. We made it so that it benefits from good viewing light but doesn't require spotlighting.
And the bigger one is the largest print of my work ever made. We sized that one at 52 inches because the largest mat board that most frame shops can easily get is 40x60". A 52-inch print can be matted with 40x60" mat board.
The panorama was made by merging five exposures taken with a Pentax K20D and the excellent Pentax DA 35mm ƒ/2.8 Macro Limited lens—it's roughly 64 megapixels. I was "testing" the camera and lens at the time, to review.
We're going to limit and number the large prints of this picture sold in this sale, just because would have been almost certain that I'd never be able to print it so large again anyway. Too much work to get everything right!
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