Recently, I began a practice of going back into my archives and pulling out images that I had forgotten about, something I call Second Look. There are 100’s of thousands of images in my archives. I am a classic over-shooter. It’s not unusual for me to be on a trip and come home with 5,000 images. When I get back to the studio, I download the images, but often have to get back to other work. It may be a while, sometimes even years till I took at those images. So I have lots of material just waiting for that second look.
I just glance through image folders until I find a neglected and forgotten file that interests me, open it up, and see what I can do with it. Two factors are at play here. The first is my tendency to think everything I just created is crap. I’ve learned that with a bit of distance I’m much more objective. Sometimes that distance is a few days and sometimes it’s a few years. Even if I did look at them soon after taking the images, I may have dismissed them as not worthy of any further time. The second influence is that I am an education addict. I am always taking classes and reading books to learn more about the art of photography. That means that when I took an image 5 years ago I didn’t have the same amount of knowledge or skill that I have now. I simply know much better how to work with some of the images from a few years back than I did at the time I shot them. For both those reasons, taking that second look can be quite rewarding.
I’m not often drawn to go out in the cold and snow, but one December afternoon in 2008, I gathered my camera, bundled up and headed to a very special forest area on the campus of a local college. The woods were full of that fluffy, puffy snow and it was well over 2 feet deep. I’d recently taken a class where we were shown how to move the camera quickly while taking the image with a long-ish shutter speed. I really liked the effect but didn’t think I had done a good enough job with it in this image.
So with only 5 years distance, I came upon this during one of my first second look sessions, and realized that I had been a bit hasty in my dismissal of the image. It was helped by a bit of cropping to remove those distracting white streaks in the upper left as well to draw more attention to the light rays coming in at the bottom. I also darkened the falling snow in the upper half of the image, and straightened the trees a bit to correct for the lens distortion that makes them lean in.
It came to me while working on this, that I feel a sense of hope when I look at this image. Hope often shows up quietly, working it’s way between all the hard places of our life.
What do you see or feel?
How have you taken a second look at something or someone recently?
Would you like a print of this image?
The plan was to have this image (as well as future blog images) available in my web store for you to purchase. The tech gremlins were working overtime today, so I wasn’t able to set that up. But, let’s just keep it simple for now. If you’d like to have a print, just sent me an email or give me a call. It is a 5×10″ signed, archival fine art paper print, matted to 10×20″ with 8 ply mat board. I’m offering it for a reduced price of $99 plus shipping until 3/9/14. After that it will be $150 plus shipping.