When editing, my images are viewed in a triage system: there are images that are good; there are images that are usable (read salvageable); and there are images that are obviously throw-aways.

As I was driving on a dirt road, this image quickly presented itself. I came to a halt, took a shot and realized that the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough, resulting in a soft image. The shot was gone. I put the camera down and continued on, completely forgetting the image that I just missed.

10 years later…..

One cannot over-estimate the value of the passage of time in order to view images objectively. When an image is viewed a year or longer from being made, you are viewing the image with no prejudice, and without your thoughts at the time of making the image, and without remembering what you wanted to achieve, but failed to get, when taking the image. You have fresh eyes.

This is certainly not unlike performing music or any other artistic endeavor.

“The passing of time erases the memory of the moment and allows objectivity.”

Artistic considerations: When viewing this file for a few seconds, I thought  a warm, brush stroke texture may work. With the slight soft focus adding to the “period” look.

Here’s a case in point:

Who would save the following image?

We were photographing buffalo in the Badlands for an hour or more and have some images I like. If I had taken time to view all of them in the field, this would not have made the cut. Luckily, I didn’t see it until years later when editing old Aperture images imported into another Lightroom catalogue, separate from my main LR catalogue. Hence, I don’t go in there that often. I scrolled past this image several times before the light went on, and I realized that there was an opportunity to explore textures on this image. After all, the background was perfect and as I learned through using textures for years, textures can tone down highlights and bring in detail barely visible in the original.

After years of texturing images (http://flypapertextures.com, discount code “sweet”) I will intentionally over expose images, knowing what the final outcome can appear, but 10 years ago I didn’t know that.

My normal texturing process is the following:

  1. I’ll open the Russell Brown Adobe Paper Texture panel loaded with a set of flypaper textures and will select the first 3 that get my attention.
  2. Each texture is on a separate layer. I select each texture layer, turn it on and off, adjust the blend mode and opacity. If it adds to the atmosphere of the scene, I’ll keep it. if it does not, I’ll remove it. Two well managed textures work a great deal of the time.

Shameless Plug: The image was made in the South Dakota Badlands national park. We have 2 openings left at this great venue for our workshop, Sept 10 – 14, 2017. We cover this technique and many other ways to realize your creative vision in all of our workshops.

One of favorite quotes on interpretation in photography is from the great John Shaw: “If I want reality, I’ll look at it.”

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!

Tony