No shot left behind

A splash of color, a glimmer of light, the shape of an object or the shadow it casts…these are just some of the characteristics that attract a photographer’s eye, generating a tiny thrill of excitement about the photographic possibilities for this subject at this moment and place in time.

I’ll admit it—as an aspiring photographer, I haven’t always been as attentive to these cues as I should be and, in the busy-ness of my everyday life, I’m sometimes guilty of ignoring inspiration, thinking I will have another opportunity at some other, more convenient time, to capture whatever image has attracted my attention. As a result, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home after a photo outing thinking “I sure wish I had taken that shot…”.

As if that’s not bad enough, I am sometimes overly critical of my images. Too often the anticipation I feel as I’m about to download images turns to disappointment when I see the actual photographs compared to what I was trying to get. Slowly, too slowly for my taste, I’m overcoming some of the technical challenges of the exposure triangle so that most of my images are better in that regard, but I still struggle with creative exposure and composition and noticing (and then managing) distractions around my photographic subjects.

The two images above represent minor victories in both these areas (SOOC on the left, edited version on the right). I was returning with my daughter from a photo outing last Sunday—we were chatting and in a bit of a hurry because we wanted to get to a new-to-us store before it closed. We rounded a corner and saw this amazing building. I had to stop! Of the several images I took, including one that didn’t have the light pole in it, this one showed the angles of the front of the building to the best advantage. When I reviewed the images on the computer, I was tempted to delete all of them, but I finally decided that this image was worth a little extra effort. It took a while, including a couple of false starts, but I was finally able to clone the light pole out of the image and now, I have an image that comes pretty close to what I had in mind when I took the photograph.

Bottom line, I am learning to respect my muse and to use my editing tools, when necessary, to improve my images.

This post is my response to the first assignment in Kat Sloma’s Journey of Inspiration course, part of her Find Your Eye series.

10 thoughts on “No shot left behind

  1. I am super-impressed at that pole edit Wanda…I really need to get to grips with photo-editing software! Thanks for stopping by my blog-and your concern about the running water. In answer to your question, yes it’s normal when we have rain like this…though I DO worry about it, an am costantly checking it’s not running near electrical points! Spanish houses are not built for cold, wet weather as they get it so seldom- they are built for keeping out the heat. The only good thing is that it all dries out very quickly once the sun comes back.
    Alison xx

  2. I too understand and agree. I don’t know how often I’ve missed a shot simply because I wasn’t prepared when I knew that I should be…then to be overly critical…yup…been there–often. Once I decided to delete all the pics that I wasn’t happy with in a series I’d done. I kept going back and culling til all of a sudden I didn’t have any pictures left! I was stunned that I had deleted them all…I just got more and more negative as I looked critically at each one. What a lesson I learned on that one.
    I love that you “had to stop” and more importantly that you DID stop and take the building shots even though you were in a hurry. Well done! Your editing is great…what a difference it made.

  3. Yep jumping on the bandwagon of wish I had stopped for that shot. It seems we all do it. Great editing job it makes all the difference and sometimes we just don’t see the thing in the shot when we take it and if we have to move to get it out we lose what we are trying to shoot, been there, and then walked away and been annoyed I didn’t try harder. Good work

  4. Hi, I feel your concerns. It is disappointing to not see what we thought we saw! But then we are our own harshest critics in so many areas of our lives. You really stuck it out and did a fantastic job of removing the tall pole. I doubt I would have tackled that!!! And editing is another whole thing to master. You are doing great..just hang in, keep photographing. I have really seen great improvement in so many other’s work….Gosh don’t we all have those things we regret. Last week in Asheville I missed a picture that would have been one of my all time favorites….wild turkeys in the middle of the road. But cars piled up behind me and made me move forward, which scared the birds…everything was perfect, except being on the road with other drivers. drags!!!

  5. Ditto!!! I’ve done the exact same thing, missed shots I wish I had taken and then been overly critical of the shots I did take! I love how you were able to clone out the pole! You did an amazing job! I love all the lines in the building, great capture!!

  6. I really identify with both of the points you’ve raised here, about acting (or not) on that stirring of inspiration as well as being overly critical of my results. Interestingly, I’m almost always happier with the results if I take the photos when the inspiration first strikes, rather than going back later.

    I can see why you were drawn to that building. Great editing job getting rid of that pole!

  7. This is amazing! First of all, the challenge of patience. The time you spent to actualize your vision.
    In the second paragraph, regarding ignoring inspiration and saving it for a more convenient time – Yep! that’s me. I have so many inspiring projects to do. They’re still there waiting. Most of my photography can be done at another time, I say most, not all.
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and I’m looking forward to more along your journey.

  8. I agree with Brenda, what a fabulous cloning job! I had to look twice to see if it wasn’t just a different angle before reading your text, because the difference it makes in the image is huge. There is a TON to remember as we photograph, and sometimes the perfect image is just not available to us “as is.” You did a wonderful job of fulfilling your vision here.

    I agree with you on the “missed shot” syndrome – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I’ll get that on the way back,” only to forget or find the shot I envisioned gone. A great reminder to take the shot when the opportunity presents itself!

  9. Wanda,
    I completely empathize with your “wish I had taken that shot…” regret. I have never regretted the shots that I have taken – even when they end up in the delete pile. But those that I walked away from – then you never know if they would have good or not.

    You have done a completely amazing cloning job with this image.The light pole did distract from the pattern and shapes of this building and we are now treated to a geometric wonder in your edited version. What a victory – to achieve the vision that you had in your mind, using all the tools at your disposal.

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