I don’t know about everyone else, but I enjoy going back and rethinking and reworking old images. It’s not that I don’t have current work that I could or rather should focus on, because I do. So why do I do it?
Well to be truthful, because I am finally able to treat those images properly. Let me explain. In 2010, I took a trip to the Southwest. During this trip, I should thousands of frames. When I got home and sat down to process the raw files, I quickly realized I had ZERO idea on how to approach the images. None of the final products pleased me at all. I shared none of the images. Thankfully, I had the good sense to save (not delete) the files. I knew the images had potential, I just did not have the skill.
In 2012, I thought I was finally ready to take a whirl at processing my 2010 trip. I did not do too bad a job, but still I knew I just wasn’t skilled enough. For anyone who has taken images of the Grand Canyon, Zion, or Bryce, you may understand what I am talking about. These images are tough; they are contrasty, with hot spots and dark shadows. Really the only hope was to go the HDR route, which often resulted in “way too HDR” images. And to top it off, not only are they too HDR and they have dust spots because I did not have the good sense to pay attention. I shared these, I am embarrassed to say. Looking back, I still wasn’t ready.
Roll-forward to November 2014, over years after the images were taken. I sat down to take another shot a processing my illusive Southwest images. Although I still know I could do better, these images are so much better than any I have produced thus far. These are all single image shots. Not processed through HDR software. Mostly processed only using Adobe Camera Raw. Dust spots removed (I hope).
Moral to this story. If an image has potential then I save it, because I too have potential. Meaning although I may be stumped today on how to tackle processing a certain image, I know that as I practice my skills, they improve, which means I may not be stumped tomorrow. Photography is a skill, both the in-camera work and the post processing work. To improve takes time and effort, but with each image we take and each image we process, we do improve. Save your files, they may be just data today, but maybe masterpieces in the future.
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