A lot of life is intricately tied to the various iterations that are imposed upon us or which we end up imposing upon ourselves. Today I took the image I am posting here through numerous iterations. It began with the basic changes that I made to the image and then got intense with close to two-hours of dodging and burning and then tweaked again and again. After this, I started thinking about how to tone this image and what made the mountains and clouds of Norway come to life in a way that I perceived it when I took this image. It was a calm morning in the middle of the summer and the clouds were lightly lit by a sun that had never really set. Also, I already had this image on my website here but I never liked it as much as I felt I should.
So I posted this new iteration on a Fuji site on Facebook where I sometimes include my images. My stuff usually does not get a lot of looks, but if I put a cute photo in, a macro of a flower with bright colors, or a super sharp butterfly in flight, well then these images get lots of feedback.
I then put the following above my photo: “Though Photoshop has so many gadgets we can use, I find and found with this image that the best tool I could use was the dodge and burn tool and a Wacom tablet. It takes a great deal of time, focus, and sitting back to evaluate how the slight tonal variations make an image come to life. There is no warp tool, super clarity or sharpening tool, or clone tool that was or should (in my opinion) be used in nature photography beyond the most minimal tweaks. Our attention should be drawn to the subject by how real it looks not by how creative our Photoshop skills are.”
One Day Later: So the image did not even garner a comment or any feedback at all. It is certainly not spectacular in its uniqueness and is nothing more than water, mountains, and clouds. Were these iterations too mundane? Should I have elongated the main peak and threw in an ethereal beam of light hitting this mountain?
But it is not social media only. There are a lot of fine art sites where the images have this other quality that I recognize but either don’t have the skills to emulate or the desire to attempt. So I plod on with images like the one on this page that depict a natural world that is multi-layered and with each iteration helps me to better understand both the art of nature and its potential.
Yet, I think it is fallacious for any photographer to suggest that they only take images for themselves. Every photographer has an audience for their images tucked in their mind. I do want my immediate family to enjoy many of my images. I do want my images published and though I do sell to stock agencies, I would prefer that they are published in true fine art venues. When they are shown in such a manner, and though the audiences may be smaller, they are better understood it seems to me. Not sure what other photographers think on this subject and getting back to the iterations theme this has wandered from, I wonder to what degree we create iterations specifically for the venues where we are showing these images or if there really are some people who go year after year creating images only for themselves and live their lives in a state of obscurity but maintain their personal vision. Morning Mountains in NorwayThe sky at 4 in the morning called me out of bed. They layers of clouds and the deep hues renders in black and white and color with so much beauty.