How the Art Happens - Fixer Upper

September 04, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Fixer Upper

Fixer UpperFixer UpperAn abandoned cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado is a reminder of the mining town's rich history in industry and agriculture.

I travel by this old, abandoned cabin several times each week. I have photographed it many times, in every season, and in all types of weather. Sometimes the sky up here does some odd and wonderful things and I just have to get in the Jeep and go to work.

This September day brought this outrageous sky that seemed to last all afternoon. Light, whispy, clouds filled the atmosphere and I had to find a subject on the ground for them to point to. I ran around all afternoon making photographs with varying degrees of success and failure until I remembered this cabin. It was in the perfect location!

Luckily, the fan-shaped clouds brought my eyes from the upper corners of the scene straight to the cabin with Whetstone Mountain in the distance. The golden aspen trees added to the warm colors of the cabin and grasses creating a warm and inviting scene. "Fixer Upper" was one of the easiest photographs for me to capture. As I processed the RAW photograph in Adobe Photoshop, I lightened the shadows on the front of the cabin and darkened the blue in the sky to increase the contrast with the clouds so they would "pop" a little. I added a little vignetting to the corners, a composition trick I learned from Ansel Adams, and that was it. "Fixer Upper" was good to go! 

As a small bonus, I also captured "The Whetstone Camel" in the scene. Although there are better vantage points that show the camel more clearly, it's nice to have this little extra bonus in the scene. Can you find "The Whetstone Camel"?


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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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