For me, last week was a photographer’s nightmare. I just got a fantastic new DSLR, the D800 and practically every day I was out photographing everything in sight. You name it I was photographing it. People, scenics, wildlife and architecture, I was photographing it. The Nikon D800 produces fantastic image. It nailed the white balance, my photos were sharper than any photo I have ever taken with a DSLR camera. The problem, I will be honest, the photos while technically perfect, nevertheless they sucked. When I was looking through the viewfinder my brain was seeing something that was not reality. I was seeing what I wanted to see, not the reality of the moment.
Actually, that is not uncommon with us human beings. Our brain has a way of changing reality. We gaze upon what we consider the perfect face and then a day later see a photo of the person and we notice all the imperfections. We look out at a waterfall and ignore that ugly dead bush that is in the bottom right of our line of sight. At times when we are in a room our brain will even change the color of light so that we are more comfortable in our surroundings. If we like someone our brains make their looks more acceptable. If we dislike someone, even if they smile and look attractive our brains will make us see something sinister in him or her. Photographers can’t let that happen. Photographers need to see reality for what it is and then with their photographic skills create their own interpretation of that reality. But I didn’t do that.
So when I viewed the photos on my iMac I started tapping the delete key over and over. My wife doesn’t understand it. She thinks the photos are pretty. Well, keepers for me need to be more than just pretty. The photograph needs to illicit an emotion from the viewer. It needs to be different, better, more interesting than what you see on the internet. I want the viewer to think “ I want to hang that on my wall” or at least think “I wish I could take a photo like that.”
I am not really depressed about this lost week. Actually, I did keep a couple of photos for the internet. But a real keeper is a photo that makes me proud and is one that I will hang on the wall. I take heart that Ansel Adams was once quoted as saying, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” I can do that.
Photo of Big Thompson River, North Fork Section. It is okay for me to use on the internet but will never be on my wall. – CLG