Friday Foto Talk: Hidden Gems in the Archive   9 comments

The Utah monolith called Molly’s Castle is set aglow in early morning light.

This is a little different from most other Friday Foto Talk posts.  I’m only passing on one piece of advice.  If you don’t already do so, on occasion it’s a good idea to go back through your archives and look for hidden gems.  Select some that spark your interest for re-processing on the computer.

I’ve been doing this lately, as part of redesigning my website and freshening up the images there.  Some gems were just sitting there dormant, waiting to be found and re-edited.  I’ve posted several here for your enjoyment.  I’d like it very much if you were to share your comments on them below.

This photo of a lovely water lily floating in the middle of the Okavango Delta, Botswana is the very essence of a hidden gem.

This photo of a lovely water lily floating in the middle of the Okavango Delta, Botswana is the very essence of a hidden gem.

I’ll say right off that I am not the type of photographer who saves all or even most of the pictures I take.  I try to be fairly ruthless when it comes to deleting images that don’t really work for me.  But there is a limit to this kind of thinking.  The reason is this:  editing software, not to mention your editing skills, constantly improve.

You probably aren’t noticing your editing skills getting better, just like you don’t notice your photography skills improving, until you go back and look at pictures from several years back and have a go at re-editing some of them.

In my effort to remove some older shots on my site to make room for the new, I’ve re-edited some old favorites and found some “new” old ones.  Re-processing these images, in some cases with plug-in software that I’m now much better at using, has made them better, no question about it.

I always liked this picture of Elowah Falls in Oregon, but a simple re-edit made it worth putting on my website.

I always liked this picture of Elowah Falls in Oregon, but a simple re-edit made it worth putting on my website.

This young Himba girl from north Namibia didn't need much of a re-edit, just re-discovery.

This young Himba girl from north Namibia didn’t need much of a re-edit, just re-discovery.

You may think all this argues for keeping everything, just in case.  I don’t believe this is true.  For starters, I know I wouldn’t want to plow through thousands and thousands of images to find those few I want to spend more computer time on.

As long as the reason you’re deleting an image (forever) is because it just isn’t very good (compositionally for example), and not simply because you can’t manage to make it look right, go ahead and trash it.

This barn in Washington's Palouse wheat-farming region I now like better with a square crop.

This barn in Washington’s Palouse wheat-farming region I now like better with a square crop.

The rugged north coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington in the typical fog that makes it a shipping hazard.

The rugged north coast of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington in the typical fog that has caused many a shipwreck. 

So now, once a year I commit, and recommend you do as well, to go through my archives and thoroughly review the images on my website.  Keeping your website fresh is important.  But I think a better reason to do this is to track how fast you’re improving, and how your editing skills are progressing too.

Plus it’s fun to breathe new life into an older image, to share both the picture and the memories behind it.  After all, this is a big reason why we picked up a camera in the first place.  Have a wonderful weekend and happy shooting!

Previous to this I just couldn't get an edit I liked of this colorful sunset over Arches National Park.

Previous to this I just couldn’t get an edit I liked of this colorful sunset over Arches National Park.

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9 responses to “Friday Foto Talk: Hidden Gems in the Archive

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  1. Great images and great advice! I have been going through my archive deleting some ( very hard for me to do) and re-editing some as I slowly populate my “Photo Supreme” data base. I am about 90% complete and can now find images I am looking for!

  2. The light and colors of the Utah monolith is fantastic.
    And the lines and colors in the photo of the barn are very fine.
    My dream is once to visit Arches National Park, and your phot from there does not make me dream less 😉

  3. All beautiful!

  4. Michael – These really are gems. The shot of the waterlily is exquisite. Arches is my all time favorite national park.

    I got my first dslr 2 years ago, but my husband gave me lightroom for my birthday just this past September. I am so excited in what I can do with not so great shots and have been already looking through my archive but I know I do have to be more ruthless in deleting pictures. I really don’t need 50 shots of the same flower.

    Since I am just a beginner, your tips have been so helpful. I am really enjoying your blog. Thanks!

  5. These are exceptional – the barn is my favourite – beautiful 🙂

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