Yesterday, the Louvre just gave me a new wildnart topic.
I was wandering in XIX’s century painting department of the Louvre, when I saw this marvelous painting of an aurora borealis.

The XIX’s century painting is known to have concede a higher place to landscape as painting subjects, with famous names like Whistler, Turner, Friedrich, Monet or Corot.
Painters where discovering new regions, and choosing interesting points of views like the top of a cliff, weather charms like blizzard to innovate in this field.

What I did not know, is that some painters actually went in an actual expedition in the Arctic.

In 1839, French painter François Biard (1798-1882) went on a scientific expedition in the Arctic. At his return he made many landscape paintings and drawings. This Painting called, Magdalena-Bay, View from the Peninsula of the Tombs, Northern Spitsbergen, Aurora Borealis, was introduced at a Salon in 1841 and acclaimed.

francoisbiard-louvre

Why is this worth being noted?

Arctic expedition were extremely dangerous and tough at the time. Forget technological clothing, energy bars and other innovative material. Engineers were barely   working out a ship that would resist the pression of icebergs. Floe is continually breaking. Temperature are extremely low and the blizzard very strong. Our civilization had few exchanges with the Eskimos, who survived for centuries in this landscape.

Here is a detail of the painting, where a man is freezing siting, covered by snow, watching his fellows lying down dead in the snow, and almost covered by it.
Behind them, pieces of a wreck are floating between iceberg. There were always many losses during those expeditions.
detail-francoisbiard-louvre

In the rooms of the Louvre there is a testimony of painters bravery to seek new subjects, new images for their art. If many artists break social codes, others defy nature and confort. It is a beautiful image of the human drama of these expeditions among this scenic and great landscape. Maybe it is the illustration of human sacrifice for the exploration of new summits, new lands whether there are deep in the water or at the top of a mountain. Or maybe, it shows our own limits against the greatness of nature.

 

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About a painting and arctic expedition

Landscape Photography Retouching – LR presets review

Although I barely retouch my landscape photographs, I have been asked to review a landscape photography post-production workflow by Sleeklens. It began as an unusual task for me, but I started digging into old pictures and alternating them in a fast way.

I’ve always been critical towards hard retouching, exaggerated saturation or clarity in landscape photography. And so this review comes from a moderate retoucher.

Once brushes and presets installed into Lightroom,I started my exploration with old photographs I’ve taken a couple of years ago with a bridge camera. Photographs are usually plain compared to those taken with a Reflex, although quality is good enough.

The most interesting thing about this photograph, is, in my opinion, the wave and its strength, and that is what I highlighted with retouching. I used the Subtle White preset, and an awesome brush called “Water definition”. This later helped me sharpen the wave and give it more strength. 

And here is a close-up

I tried this brush with another photography of waves. Actually, those photographs were taken in South Africa, in Tsitsikamma for the first one, and Cape of  Good Hope for the second one. It is where two oceans meet, and waves can only move you. Below, I used a preset and “water definition” brush.

Actually, for people who do not have great equipment, it is an easy and fast way to improve your photographs. For professionals, it provides ideas and a working base. Overall, I found presets and the water definition brush very helpful, but I didn’t really dig into other brushes. Anyway, below are some other cool retouching I came up with. 

This photograph was originally taken with a reflex camera in Val Thorens (France). I already love very much the original one, the clouds and snow are just perfect, but I left here two option of retouching. they both create very distinct ambients, from the original and between each other. One softens the photograph, and the other sharpens it and make it almost crepuscular. 

Below other trials with snowy pics!

and here is a link to buy this workflow: https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/

Snow or sugar?

img_9242bCame back to this ski resort, Val Thorens, a few weeks ago. Some how, we walked the first day for hours. And at the end, just stopped and look close at the snow.

I was with a friend who paints with sugar and the image, because it is hard to see this crystal shape with only your eyes, reminded me of his paintings.

And now that I look at this simple picture, the ressemblance with sugar is striking.