Capturing new images. And finding old ones…

As a photographer, there is a constant desire to be out there shooting new frames in new locations, to try out new ideas or simply to shoot a favourite once more. Now, in today’s age of technology and other geeky wonderments, there’s often a tendency to get stuck behind the computer, ‘fiddling’ with images in image processing software taking one away from the primary task of photography – taking pictures. Clearly these two activities are mutually exclusive, and more time at the computer translates directly into less time shooting. Not a good thing for a photographer.

So what to do? Well, try shooting less. Less shots means less images to fix later. Or, shoot the frames properly in the first place, and delete the junk frames on the camera, or lastly, use a bit of willpower to stop oneself getting sucked into the computer.

However, something occurred to me recently – old images were becoming new again. I was browsing some old images that I shot in France a few years back when we spent a week barging on the Canal du Midi. I’d taken these images and together with some text I wrote, self-published a book on A few years back, my image processing skills weren’t what they are today. I was a lot slower, and clumsier back then, and the work I did on those images could have been achieved better and faster today as since then, I’ve learned a lot. I decided to put myself to the test. What would be the difference I I reprocessed those images today? So I picked a handful of images, and reprocessed them. They are here.

The lesson I learned was a valuable one. Some of the images I picked to reprocess weren’t even in the original book. My photographic eye has changed, and I’m finding new things that catch my eye that didn’t a few years back. This is a natural evolution of one’s life in art. But these were my images! How can this be? The trick is that we CAN find new things in old work that are worthwhile. And without shooting new frames! The caveats are that the images must still obey the basic tenets of being sharp and in focus (unless they’re not on purpose – a topic for another discussion). Also, while my computer hasn’t gotten faster, my techniques have, and I managed to churn through the images in no time at all, with what I feel is better results.

So for me the lesson has been learned that new life can be breathed into old stuff. I’m happy about that, and the time spent behind the computer was well-spent. They weather was nasty outside anyway, and today I’m a fair-weather photographer

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