Tuesday, October 15, 2019


Sometimes with photos you look back and wonder WTF you were thinking. A photo you once really liked, you now only see how you pushed the settings too far and it's garish, or you blew the composition, or there's a mess in one corner you never noticed. I've learned I need to be suspicious of anything I edited on the laptop, and recently learned of a pitfall in Lightroom settings.

Alternatively, some photos get overlooked. It's easy to do when there's a big batch of them. It's sort of like looking at the world for a photo when all you have is one lens. If you're familiar with it, you'll only "see" photos you can take with that lens. Like the time I was carrying the wide lens, and saw a deer off in the distance. I didn't even consider taking the photo. I knew the deer would be a tiny dot in the landscape, and even zooming in wouldn't produce anything worth looking at.

So if I'm going through a batch of autumn landscape photos, all bright colours, rolling hills, and all those other good things, and come across a dark photo of something different, I'm not likely to pay much attention to it. In fact, I often deliberately take a dark photo to mark a set of HDR images, or the beginning of a panorama. Or the end. It's only when I go back later and look at a real dark photo in isolation and consider it on it's own merits, that I slap my forehead.

So this one, for instance. A couple days ago I blogged about my Saturday evening ramble with my buddy Sean, and included a photo of a tree and a condo building. Rather than make you look for it, it's included below.

Normally I don't need to spend much time editing photos. My camera is set up to produce images a way that I like, and most photos need only slight tweaking, and most of those tweaks are pretty similar across a bunch of photos. It sometimes takes longer to decide which photos to edit, rather than the editing itself.

When I was going back through the photos I saw the darker one taken as one of three for an HDR merge. I played with the settings a bit to darken it even more to make the sky more dramatic, thinking of doing a silhouette with it and another one. Then it started getting good for me. I spent a while playing with the level of shadow in the lower part of the image, though I'm still not convinced I got it exactly right. It would probably take several goes at printing it to find the exact level that lets people see the tree and some building detail, AFTER they've seen the branches growing out of the building and wonder what's going on.

Here's the original view I put on the blog, not particularly liking it at all, but it seemed a nice segue from a parking lot, to the parking lot attendant, to his view of downtown.

From later in the walk. I spent a while trying to selectively light up the tree in the foreground, but that looked weird. Again, getting the exact level of shadow is crucial to making this work.

It kind of makes me wondering how many other good images I've overlooked over the past 3 years or so?

Oh, and that pitfall I mentioned? Look at these two images. Actually it's one image with two different settings. It was an experiment playing with camera settings during a photo workshop.

Look at the corners of the first image. You might have to embiggen the photo to see the circular pattern of noise that are not in the second image. There is a lens profile setting in Lightroom that is supposed to correct the subtle distortions of the lens. It turns out that for this particular lens, when you shoot in really dark conditions, at a fairly high ISO camera setting, that applying the profile will create that circular noise pattern. Now I want to go back and correct all the night photos I've taken with that lens.

I suppose in a bigger sense, we carry around an image of the previous events of our life. Some make us blush, some make us happy. Then something happens to our view of that event. Maybe one of the other people involved tells their side of the story, or you learn more about the circumstances. That might change your whole image of the event, or perhaps even of yourself.

A bit of introspection is good. It can help you own the image of previous events, rather than have the image own you. It can give you the maturity to consider past mistakes as applied to current events. But you can't go living in the past. You need to be looking forward, thinking about how to make things better.

Lynx of the Day
That look tells me the Lynx is quite happy to consider the rabbit it just ate as an appetizer, and work on the bigger prey that is holding a camera not that far away.

Deadwood of the Day
This could almost be an abstract.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the analysis of the two photos and the analogy! Yes, you are right, a bit of introspection is good, but we need to move forward. I always look forward to your posts.


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