Three days in a row with photographs from Nimbus Dam. I try and limit the same subject/location to two consecutive posts in a row, or at least space them out on alternating posts. Yet here with Nimbus Dam just minutes away, I have the advantage of reviewing shots from the day and mentally taking notes of how certain compositions could be improved and alternate compositions that should be added to the “to do” list.
In a previous post [Tahoma (CA), Rock, Sand Lines, Underwater], I discussed why I was reluctant to hang my own photographs in the house. It is the thought that I can shoot any composition better if given the opportunity to evaluate and re-shoot. I go through the exercise of asking myself if any specific photograph is the best that I could have done. Typically the answer is “no”. This “no” is a motivator for me to figure out how to make the shot or shots better than this time. This “no” should not be taken in a negative in the usual way we respond to a lack of affirmation or confirmation.
This lack of affirmation or confirmation drives me – whether from myself or from others. Sure, it may sting a little to hear from others that a photograph could be better or shot differently, or that a photograph is determined by a competition jury to be not as good as the photographs accepted. It just means I have to work harder at getting closer to that “perfect” state – and that could mean re-processing an image differently, re-shooting the same composition with different settings or at a different time, or re-composing through zooming in/out/to the left/right, etc.
With the rise of social media, the affirmation (or “yes”) from others is easier to attain than ever. It is easier to “like” or “favorite” than to critique. A flow of affirmations is great, but it is also from a captive audience (especially if a photograph is posted to a group such as a Facebook group). Those affirmations are great, great for the positive responses, great for your ego, but do not let that make you complacent. Think of it this way. The great photographers of Yosemite go back again and again, shooting at the new locations but also going back to shoot at old locations. You can bet those that live near Yosemite go back on a daily or weekly basis. Do not rest on your laurels – you can almost always shoot a photograph better. If you have the opportunity, review your work, note how you can improve it, then go out as soon as possible to execute that improvement.
EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center-weighted metering mode, ISO100, 135mm, f/22, 1/3 sec
Rancho Cordova (CA), Single Gate, Water Flow, Monochrome. Nimbus Dam, American River, Rancho Cordova, CA. January 09, 2017. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.