View Full Version : How to achieve that kind of glowing effect?

Aaron Rocky
22-Dec-2003, 16:27
I came across Ron Flickinger's website and was very impressed by his work. I like that bright vibrant color which I was never able to produce with my CCD scanner. I guess drum scan is the key? His website:


QT Luong
22-Dec-2003, 17:09
This does not have anything to do with the scanning, but rather with the digital work. In fact, a fair amount of it, iincluding liberal use of the saturation slider, is needed in my experience to make Provia F (one of the worse films in terms of color) look that good. While a lot of images from the South West portfolio are quite similar to Fatali's, the Kauii portfolio is the best I've seen, and Patagonia is also remarkable (especially considering it was done in 4x5).

Steve Hamley
22-Dec-2003, 17:11

A very nice site. I'm guessing it's mostly the light he photographed in judging from the photos, combined with the film (Velvia) and/or polarizer are pumping up the saturation and contrast - although the saturation of a few of these are a little too much for my taste.

But no film, lens, or scanner can give you the look of the right light if you aren't there when it is - and apparently he was.



Geoffrey Swenson
22-Dec-2003, 17:43
Very nice copies of other photographers’ work! That might be part of the “glow”!

Aaron Rocky
22-Dec-2003, 17:49
What do you mean of 'copies'? That's not very nice.

Jorge Gasteazoro
22-Dec-2003, 18:00
LOL...well I somewhat agree with Geoffrey, while the pics are nice they have been done so much by Muench, Dynka, Fatali and others that they have lost their ability to keep my attention.
At least this one is not "waiting for the light" for years, like that other infamous photog.

Aaron Rocky
22-Dec-2003, 18:18
Well IMHO none of the photographers you just mentioned can match him. Looks like every pixel of his image is glowing.

Eric Rose
22-Dec-2003, 19:25
Well Aaron, while his photos are real nice, and I wouldn't mind having taken a few of them myself, you should acquaint yourself with the works of the photographers mentioned and also Bruce Barnbaum. You will find that many of the pictures shown are taken from almost the exact same place as these masters who did their "original" images years ago.

To say your guy is hands above these other photographers is absurd and shows a real lack of historical understanding.

Yes they are beautiful, technically proficient. But original? I think not.

Paul Kent
22-Dec-2003, 20:12
Clearly, the epitome of The American Landscape Photography Repertoire (http://photo-mark.com/articles/repertoire/) - copying Till, Muench, Dykinga, Fatali, even... Fielder.

Perhaps Schneider should offer professionals special focal lengths to protect their images - anyone for an 82mm XL? (LOL)

Frank Petronio
22-Dec-2003, 21:58
I think you can get that saturated glow by 1. Duplicating the layer and blending using "Multiply" or "Hard Light" 2. Lighten the bottom layer and blur it using a slight (1-3 pixel) Gaussian Blur filter. 3. Adjust opacity and blending to suit taste. It is used quite commonly to varying degrees for many ads... can be subtle or intense.

Aaron Rocky
22-Dec-2003, 23:18
You are the man! That does have a 'defogging' effect and makes color pop. Too bad photoshop doesn't allow 16bit in layer manipulation.

Darin Cozine
22-Dec-2003, 23:48
You may also want to try neatimage www.neatimage.com if you have alot of grain from the scanning process. neatimage is free for personal&noncommercial use. Works great on blue skys and other fields of tonal gradation. Sometimes it will wipe out textures, though.

Steve Hamley
23-Dec-2003, 05:23

Photoshop CS doea allow 16 bit layer manipulations.

You might find this shot familiar:




Marco Frigerio
23-Dec-2003, 05:50

BTW, any idea where this strange rock formation is located? I've seen the print in the Fatali's gallery two years ago and since then I've been trying to find that place everytime I was in the SouthWest (I live in Italy) but never succeeded... Ciao Marco

Steve Hamley
23-Dec-2003, 06:45

I think I have a book at home that tells where it is located and the details. I'll post in about 10-12 hours if I can find it. It is in Utah.

It's also the cover shot for this book, which contains the above info.




Marco Frigerio
23-Dec-2003, 07:10
Wow, thank you Steve!!!! I'll check the forum for your post...in the meantime I found this post ( http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=006aSz ), some ideas but not very useful... Ciao


Michael S. Briggs
23-Dec-2003, 08:22
Ron Flickinger's information page (http://www.radiantlandscape.com/Information.html) says the the photos are mostly taken on 4x5 Velvia 100F and Provia 100F and output on Fuji Crystal Archive paper using a LightJet printer. The use of a LightJet means, of course, that the photos have passed through a digital stage. The most obvious feature of the photos is their high color saturation (intense hues), which is probably the "glow" of the question. As others have said, the high color saturation probably owes much to digital operations. Some of the saturation is due to the light at the scence, the film, and the paper. Some of the skys have very vivid blues even in comparison to the satuation of the other colors, suggesting the use of a polarzing filter.

Color satuation exceeding reality isn't to my taste. It seems that most photographers and the public like it, although Steve mentioned a similar opinion. I wonder whether Ron thinks his photos show the color that was there, or would he agree that he has increased the color saturation? With pre-digital technology, knowning the film etc. used, a knowledgable viewer could estimate the color transformations that had taken place. Today, digital methods give much more control over the rendition of color and contrast.

Leonard Evens
23-Dec-2003, 09:18
I agree with Michael about color saturation. Highly saturated photos can impress, but they don't look at all real to me. One of the reasons I use color negative film instead of color reversal film is that it generally yields lower saturation, and I can of course increase the saturation digitally if desired.

Steve Hamley
23-Dec-2003, 15:47

The book doesn't have the location. Usually Fatali's site does give details for pictures in the galleries, but apparently not the "posters" section. I would e-mail Flickinger or Fatali. If you find out, let me know. I'll take a guess of Grand Staircase Escalante National monument.



Mark Minard
23-Dec-2003, 17:33
If he photographed his hard drive with an old Kodak disc camera and labelled it "fine art", I think I'd be more impressed...

Michael Chmilar
23-Dec-2003, 18:28
Just to be accurate: Fatali does not use any digital, so he is not getting the intense saturation through photoshop tricks.

He shoots on highly saturated transparency film (Velvia, E100VS) and prints on Ilfochrome. He may be doing a lot of work in the darkroom with masking techniques and filtration to get the highest saturation out of his materials (ie. color darkroom tricks).

Ellis Vener
23-Dec-2003, 20:28
Too bad photoshop doesn't allow 16bit in layer manipulation.

Actually Adobe Photoshop CS does and there are ways around the 8 bit limit in Photoshop 6 & 7, but they are very time consuming.

Marco Frigerio
24-Dec-2003, 08:33
Thank you Steve, I'll try emailing Flickinger, last time I spoke with Fatali he didn't tell me anything...I agree with you, that the rock formation should be in the Paria Wilderness-Grand Staircase Escalante area: one of the BLM ranger at the Paria Ranger Station is a very good friend of mine, I'll try to ask her, she was very useful when I asked her about the "White Hoodoos" (another famous Fatali's subject)...I'll let you know if I discover something... Ciao Marco

Guy Tal
24-Dec-2003, 11:57
Like Tuan said - the "glow" you describe is a result of Mr. Flickinger's digital skills. It's no different than the glow of a Burkett Ilfochrome or a Sexton silver print. Contrary to common belief in this forum, producing quality results in a digital process requires as much training and skill as any other.
It's sad that some folks just can't find it in them to say anything good about anybody else. Anyone thinking they can just "pull the saturation slider" and get the same results is setting themselves up for a lesson in humility if they ever want to present their work side by side with masterfully produced digital prints.


Geoffrey Swenson
24-Dec-2003, 12:41
Sorry Michael, Fatali does use digital and most if not all his prints are done by someone else! Perhaps in the past he made all of them himself, but not lately. Of course he does not talk about this as it doesn’t go with his famous “Waiting for the Light” bull.

Even if once upon a time he did his own work he employed extensive “manipulations through colored masks” to get his images as saturated as they were. (He alludes to this in that View Camera article about him).

Other then giving out his later work for others to print he is a Master Printer himself. The fact that others produce his work is quite widely known in some circles, and also that he does not pay his bills to those hapless souls.

On the subject of location of certain photographs, it is best if you keep you knowledge to yourselves as pasting information on the Internet is a sure way of destroying those locations. If you don’t believe me, (I know Mono Lake is well known) but just look at all those Tufa Formation destroyed just in the last few years. Sadly I have many more examples.

I know the aforementioned rocks’ location, but will not tell! It is sad that someone will. What a pity!

Aaron Rocky
24-Dec-2003, 16:34
Photoshop CS practice: 35mm provia, scanned with Polaroid 45 Ultra

Darin Cozine
25-Dec-2003, 12:15
I dont know why some people dislike saturated color in landscapes.. Arguments seem to be 'it doesnt look real' or 'its been done too much'. -Those dont seem like well though-out reasons. Speaking of which, some people sounded like they disdained the digital process as well. That also seems unfounded, since most of the digital techniques were first used in film proesses. Anyway, I really dont want to make this a film-vs digital thread.

-Back on topic, I tried the technique That QT Luong suggested, but it really didnt seem any different than adjusting the color saturation.. I had some pics of colorado that I took with Fuji Reala 100. They were pretty colorfull to begin with, I just tried to give em a little more punch.

james mickelson
28-Dec-2003, 16:30
Geoffrey, telling any of us the location of the rocks in these images, or any other location, won't hasten their destruction any faster than not telling us. The magazines like Outdoor Photographer, and even the Park Service itself , has freely given away the exact locations of so many wonderful places. The tuffas were in trouble well back into the 50's. And it usually isn't a photographer who does the damage. It is too often the local who does the damage. Anyone remember how beautiful Monument Valley was until the Navajo started over grazing it? Telling a photographer won't matter a bit. The destruction of our landscape comes from too many people alone and not from photographers. I support the theory that photographers have instead brought about protection of many resources through their images. The rock formations in question are in the Coyote Buttes section of the Paria Wilderness. BLM will give you all the information you need to go photograph them.

Marco Frigerio
29-Dec-2003, 00:30
I have to agree with James, photographers are not the ones who do the damages...I have to add that sometimes photographers don't tell the exact locations only for commercial purposes and not for the land conservation's sake: once I was intentionally given the wrong directions by a professional photographer, risking my life in long backpacking trip in the desert without knowing that I was heading nowhere and that I was deceived...here where I live (Italy, generally speaking Europe) I never keep a location "secret", I trust landscape photographers and their sense of respect for the land... ciao


Guy Tal
30-Dec-2003, 09:55
There are many reasons to keep a location secret. This is a topic I have given much thought to and eventually decided there's no good reason to share information about these locations.
Many of these spots are on public lands, far from sight, and some are downright fragile. To say that photographers don't cause damage is naive at best. There are documented cases of photographers chain-sawing trees, trampling sensitive soil or rock, destroying formations (whether to prevent others from duplicating their work or as a result of plain ignorance), and I won't even go into the fire thing. Some photographers are more trophy hunters than naturalists and will stop at little to get the "been there done that" or a "better than such-and-such" image. Not knowing what someone's true motivations are, why would I put these beautiful places at risk?
Another consideration is the safety traveling to these places. Some of them require hiking, 4wd driving or other outdoor skills and, not knowing how adept someone is, I do not want to be responsible for them getting hurt or killed trying to follow my directions.
Last but not least is the "code of honor" that goes with these secrets. Many of them are passed on by word of mouth based on trust. If I disclose something revealed to me in confidence, why would anyone trust me again?
James - if you think OP or the park rangers are telling you something that is not already public knowledge, you are dillusional. And no offence to Marco, but there's nothing in Italy or all of Europe for that matters that comes anywhere close to the vast public lands of the American West which are very difficult if not impossible to protect from those who would do them harm.


tim atherton
30-Dec-2003, 10:04
am I the only one that finds this kind if work deadly booooring...?

Sal Santamaura
30-Dec-2003, 10:14
"am I the only one that finds this kind if work deadly booooring...?"

Not the only one Tim, but you're definitely in a very small minority.