This past weekend, I took another trip to Petit Jean State Park. I left in time to try to catch the sunrise at Stout’s Point, which is on the eastern end of Petit Jean Mountain and the location of the grave site of the mountain’s namesake, Petit Jean. As legend has it, Petit Jean, which means “Little John,” was a young French girl who disguised herself as cabin boy so she could accompany her fiancé with an exploration group exploring Louisiana. When the group reached the mountain, the young girl became gravely ill. As she lay dying, she revealed the truth to her fiancé. After her death, she was buried on the mountain under the name Petit Jean, and the mountain became known as Petit Jean Mountain.
The overlook at Stout’s Point provides an incredible view of the Arkansas River Valley and the Arkansas River that runs through it. Being on the east side of the mountain, the sunrise can be absolutely incredible to watch. Unfortunately, there was little sunrise to see on this particular morning. When I arrived, a thick fog had settled in the valley below obscuring nearly everything below the overlook. As sunrise approached, the fog began to rise blocking out much of the sky. While the sun occasionally peeked through the fog, it was very brief and underwhelming, so I began to turn my attention to other possible photographic subjects.
Walking around looking for something to shoot, I spotted this small clump of daffodils growing all alone in the small field along the entrance road and parking lot. What I liked about them was how their bright yellow color stood out against the darker, almost black and white, tones of the grasses and trees around the small flowers.
With my 24-105mm lens set at its widest angle, I set my camera about a foot from the daffodils making sure the legs of my tripod weren’t in the frame. Positioning the camera close to the flowers makes them appear much larger in the frame compared to the background which helps draw attention to them.
On my computer, I further emphasized the daffodils by creating a duplicate of the image and converting the duplicate to black and white. Then, in Photoshop, I used a layer mask and the brush tool to eliminate the black and white portion of the daffodils. Finally, I lowered the brush tool’s opacity and brushed over the entire image to reveal the smallest hint of color in the background.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk IV, 24mm, 1/4 sec, f/22