Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Show News/Looking at the Ocean

This is the shoreline of Lima, Peru, shot with the Canon 5DS and my walkabout lens. In other photography related news, I've currently got an image up at Austin's Corridor of Arts Gallery, located inside the Chase Bank Building at 700 Lavaca in downtown Austin.

The work is part of a show called "Member's Choice" which is images selected by the Texas Documentary Photography Group. Interesting thing about this show, we usually do shows more along the lines of themed exhibitions, you know, shows like the Stomp That Grape! where we explored wine making in Texas and the like. This show is different. It represents the photographers own selection. It was kind of interesting to be free from a theme and be able to cull from the archives to be included in a show such as this and I honestly think the open theme does a lot for making the show look more diverse.

Some details about the show. It's up now and it runs through February 26th. We are slated to have an opening reception on Thursday, January 24, from 4-6 pm with wine and cheese and the like so, if you're in the Austin area, feel free to stop on by and check out the work. I've got one piece in the show, it's a black and white image included in the lot. I've seen pictures of the show and it looks rather nice so I hope you get to check it out if you are so inclined. 

Until next time...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lesson Learned from a Public Meltdown

Mariah Carey and Meryl Streep recently had public appearance that were, shall we say, very "public." One appearance tangled with equipment one with politics but they had something in common. They each had a very public vent of frustration culminating with a public response. 

For Mariah Carey, it was a New Year's Eve performance that caused all but a melt-down, to the point that people were joking about it. ("Did you hear they had to call out the Department of Homeland Security in New York on New Year's Eve? Mariah Carey dropped a bomb on Times Square.") While I haven't extensively studied exactly what happened, I believe it can be summed up by saying she ended up performing one song while the music was playing another. There was even talk of sabotage, as some in the Carey camp claimed she was setup to perform the wrong song.

I think the big takeaway for artists here is that we sometimes work with equipment and, yes, that equipment can sometimes be faulty. Accidents happen, mistakes are made, we are all human. Does anybody out there reading this really actually think that Mariah Carey cannot sing? Anybody? Bueller...Bueller? No, we all know she's one of the greatest singers of a generation and she's got a slew of hit records to back that up. She's written songs, she's recorded songs, she's a solid artist and you really can't take that away from her now, can you? OK, so her New Year's Eve performance was maybe not her best and things got messed up but does that make her any less of an artist? Heck, I'll go so far as to say I can only imagine what she must have felt after that performance. It must be the most frustrating thing in the world to have that happen to you. I honestly feel bad after watching what happened and I honestly feel that we owe it to her as an artist to remember her body of work. Maybe you've seen a good song that she's performed or one of her songs came on the radio and it reminded you of something nice or maybe she penned a catchy tune once that left you humming along. She's a talented artist, a great performer, and I intend to remember her that way. If nothing else, her New Year's Eve performance should serve as a reminder of how good her good performances were. To put it another way, she's made it this far without having that kind of faulty equipment hit her, shouldn't she get props for that? Personally, I choose to remember her good work and this incident might encourage me to download one of her songs in support of her so-called "meltdown."

For Meryl Streep, perhaps the most frustrating of all is the idea, real or perceived, that you cannot do what it is you do for political reasons. You may or may not agree with her political stance on issues but consider this: how many films or images are being crafted in North Korea? I've personally spoken to this before as well. As a photographer and an artist, I simply cannot do what it is I do without enjoying and exercising an aggregate of personal freedom.  Freedom is a prerequisite for art and, as an artist, she felt it her duty to speak out to defend her ability to exercise her craft. Some will say she alienated her audience, perhaps that is the case, but she felt it her right or perhaps her duty to speak out to what she viewed as an unacceptable condition. It was her award time allotment and she opted to speak as she saw fit, taking a stand against something she saw as unjust. As an artist, my takeaway here would be that I should be able to speak out if I really saw the need to say something. At times, society looks for artists to be leaders, trailblazers in their fields and, let's face it, our artistic platform offers us an opportunity for a bit of a public facade. We can lend that face to many causes and use our platform as a means to invoke change that we want to see in the world. Or, you know, we can make pretty pictures. As an artist, I feel it's a good thing the choice is ours to make.

I hope you have some interesting lessons from these recent public appearances. While I am not an artist of the caliber of a Mariah or a Meryl, I like to think that events such as these can help shape my view of the role artists play in society. And, yes, I still like to make some pretty pictures as well.

Until next time...

PS This is an abandoned school house in North Dakota shot with the Canon 5DS converted to black and white with the Nik silver efex filtering.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

2017 Photography Predictions

Ring...ring...."Hello, Psychic Friends Hotline, this is Carol speaking..." OK, so maybe I can't tell you if your dead grandmother really likes your new boyfriend or not but I do have some predictions for 2017 in terms of photography. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. We will see a rise in activism art. 2016 was an election year in the US and it was a particularly hard fought and bitter one. Regardless of which side you favored in the run up to the election, battle lines were drawn and discussions got heated. Although the actual voting is behind us now, the contests decided, and the time has come to move onto inauguration and the ushering in of a new government in the United States, I don't anticipate the discussions to subside. Look for the art world to respond to a President Trump as it sees fit, this might take the form of new social documentary photography or just a general lashing out as things unfold. Even if you don't live in the United States, I expect a new level of discourse to present itself in the image making universe. There are too many social issues coming to a boil, with groups like Black Lives Matter, immigration coming to the forefront, LBGQT rights and others. I expect the art world to respond to these times and the photography community will be on the front lines for some of these discussions. Watch for photography to have a voice as part of this new era of political discourse.

2. Two X moves to "real" cameras and grows wings. Year 2016 was probably the year of the double exposure. They were everywhere, with photographers shooting a lot of 2X work. If I didn't love it so much I'd be almost sick of it already, but I anticipate the trend to continue into 2017. In part, the trend was pushed by the ease of the 2X in the iPhone app land (with apps like Diana and such) but I anticipate 2017 will see photographers porting these techniques back to their "real" cameras, if that hasn't started already, not to mention more of it coming from the iPhone universe. I look for lots of double exposure style projects done in Photoshop shot with Canon/Nikon's in 2017. It's just bound to happen, as well as lot of double exposure work coming from the iPhone world.

3. iPhones/Camera phones will be taken more seriously. While I'm on the subject of iPhones and mobile related photography, I expect 2017 to see iPhone cameras be taken more seriously this year than ever before, in part due to new equipment but also due to a greater acceptance in the photography community. 2016 was a year we saw the iPhone 7 come out and lots of mobile phones are now sporting serious cameras, at least we've seen a jump in quality on the hardware side. While I still hear many photographers say "iPhone is just as good" and we've accepted that, at some point in the future, we'll probably all be shooting nothing but what's now considered mobile, there are still a lot of photographers shooting both the "real" camera as well as the mobile, hinting as a less than full acceptance. Let's face it, clients are reluctant to pay us gobs of money for an iPhone shot and some photographers are shy about presenting an iPhone only proposal to clients. I anticipate we'll move towards changing this in 2017. While I don't anticipate full acceptance (we'll never have that. Heck, I can point you to some people who have yet to accept film now comes in color format.) I expect a sort of "less shock" at seeing "real" photographers shooting mobile (or adding mobile into their kits.) 2016 saw its first Sports Illustrated cover shot with an iPhone, I expect 2017 will see more, much more, of these type of events, although it's getting harder and harder to tell when they happen, given the increased in quality on the mobile photography front.

4. Rise in "do good" photography-photography as philanthropy. As a new generation of rising stars achieve a certain photographic success (good blog traffic, Instagram following, Facebook sales, etc.) look for them to start giving back to their communities. Let's face it, many photographers, fall into one of several camps. We are either aging baby boomers, children of the 60's, basically the grown up "love child" or millennials who long for something more than just the same sort of material crap their parents shoveled. Both of these camps have something in common-a desire to do more with their cameras and to really make a difference in the world. We're already seeing philanthropy creep into the photographer's world in small bits. The Santa Fe Workshops have travel workshops designed for the powerful combination of photography and philanthropy and I would expect this trend to continue well into 2017. It's just a natural fit so I think we'll see a lot more of it. Look for more workshops centered around this and some larger projects that will allow photographers to shoot for good, in the philanthropic sense, come 2017.

5. Better equipment in iPhone/iPad land. Look for better equipment to come into the iPhone universe as acceptance increases. When I say better equipment, I'm not just talking cameras here. No, look for the entire workflow to improve both hardware and software wise in 2017. Expect announcements like better backup devices, better transfer mechanisms, printers more able to "speak iPhone" and the like, possibly even some things that are not on our radar right now. There are currently many startups and kickstarter campaigns designed to make the mobile experience better and I expect some of these will gain a more broad acceptance in 2017.

6. Varied equipment-our gear is all over the map! The end of 2016 saw the photography community using gear that varied from mirrorless to better DSLRs, to a rise in digital medium format cameras, and even better iPhone cameras. Phew! In the old days, the lines were pretty much drawn around hardware, with medium format being used by fashion and fine art, photojournalists using the silent 35mm and a lot of black and white film, etc. These days, it's anything goes in terms of equipment and we've blurred the lines between portrait, landscape, street, fine art, etc. Now we're seeing more things like "Instagram photographer" or "500px photographer" or "Facebook photographer." It's more about our output than our equipment and our marketing is less centered around our equipment as well. Technology has not slowed down and we're seeing a host of new gear married with a base of users completely unafraid to experiment. I expect this to continue in 2017.

7. Retro rules. Hinting at this before, baby boomers are retiring in record numbers and will continue to do so throughout 2017.  This new crop of retired boomers carries with them a desire to learn new things and occupy their post employment days. Photography is especially popular since many aging boomers always wanted to do it and never found the time, not to mention equipment and learning barriers were ever present. Times have changed and now the aging population is quite capable of taking up new hobbies. Photography makes an excellent hobby for the grandparents and camera manufacturers have not failed to notice this. We're seeing lots of retro style camera gear and I anticipate this trend to continue well into 2017. Also, look for classes geared towards the older population as well as workshops that are inclusive here.

8. Rise in Photographic Authority. Coupled with the aging boomer population and the younger folks shooting, we're seeing a geographic spreading of the photographic community. Now, we've always been a traveling kind but, in the past, a photographer had to rely upon the gallery circuit in a place like New York City to make sales and really exist as a successful fine art photographer. More recently, we've seen the Internet starting to take over web sales, so much so that a photographer in say Peoria is now able to make a living relying on Internet sales and working out of Peoria alone. Gone are the days of having to travel to the big city to rely upon larger venues an internationally known arenas for sales. That doesn't mean the big New York auction houses and galleries are going away, however, it just means things are changing. As this geographically spread community flexes its muscle, it will look for authoritative acceptance. I see places and events like the Armory Show, the Santa Fe Photography Workshops, Art Basel, the Venice Biennial, and others to play an increasing role and have a great say to the community. There will be a rise in significance in some of these traditional authorities on photography, and 2017 will find them having more of a say in the direct marketing since places like New York have a decreasing hold on the market. That photographer who is now able to grow a following in Peoria doesn't need New York gallery to be successful but a successful photographer from Peoria will want to make a splash at something like an Armory Show in order boost validity of their work. I expect this to continue well into and past 2017.

9. Media. Look for media to hire in 2017. I expect media will hire photographers again in 2017 but it will be new voices, not the same old tired work. As media is facing limited budgets but we're seeing things like eBooks rise, tablets are providing an outlet for media and will continue to do so in 2017. It's a new market out there though, so look for fresh looks, new voices, new names, and the like to make a splash. We're also seeing new crops of magazines show up and these are more geared towards the tablet space. As we see new rising stars in the media space, we'll see new photographic voices coupled with that success.

10. Style will be king and rule the world. OK, maybe not the entire universe but we're already seeing how photographers today have to rely more upon selling a style over selling a subject. 2017 will usher in more of this. Let's face it, in 2017 there really isn't a part of the globe that hasn't been photographed already. In the old days, a photographer could be the first person to visit outer Mongolia and come back with prints in order to be successful. Nowadays, heck, there's already a professional in outer Mongolia (I can hook you up if you'd like to meet her. Really, I can.) In order to make your mark, you can't show us something new, no, you have to show us something you. The photographers who were the most successful in 2016 had a unique style, a visual tell if you will, a unique perspective on the world around them. Gone are the days of one place being the "it" location. Sure, you can travel to Iceland or Mongolia or, heck, even Peoria, but it will do you little good if you don't show us your take on it. I expect this to continue in 2017 and even amplify. Look for more style kings to rule our collective roosts in 2017.

A couple of runners-up that didn't quite make the list: drones and 3D printing. I expect them both to be hot in 2017 and photographers to make more use of them.

These are my predictions for our new year. I wish you the best for 2017 and, no matter what happens, I hope you make the most of it photographically. Oh, and, if you're still curious about your recently passed grandmother and that boyfriend, well, sorry I really can't help you out on that front.

Until next time...

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Best of 2016 - My Top Images

I've been asked to compile my best of 2016 images so I thought I would post them to the blog today. I've picked out the following 10 images to be my Best of 2016.

And the glorious details:
Image #1 from my trip to Lima, Peru in the Miraflores district. I was walking around and happened upon this red house that was being renovated. I was particularly struck by the different windows on this bright red house so I opted for this composition which highlights the three different window styles.

Image #2 from my trip to Minot, ND. I was walking around downtown Minot on the return from visiting rural North Dakota when I saw these grain silos. It was a sunny day, mid-day but I thought the blue sky worked as a nice background for the geometric and boldly colored structures. I tried to get a straight on perspective to emphasize the texture and lines in these rural buildings against that blue sky.

Image #3 back to Lima, Peru, this image was captured immediately down the street from my hotel. I noticed the playful geometry of the building facade alongside the speed bump and composed this shot as part of a later afternoon walk around the city.

Image #4 a blue door in a rural North Dakota farmhouse made for an interesting textural showcase. Instead of shooting it straight on, I opted for this more diagonal composition to highlight the peeling wall paint alongside that deep blue door.

Image #5 a blue couch from an abandoned North Dakota farmhouse. I was particularly drawn to the couches on this trip and this room drew me in with it's blue peeling paint and blue faded couch fabric.  I opted for a straight on composition to highlight the texture of the paint against the almost matching blue fabric from the couch.

Image #6 another North Dakota farmhouse, this time in the kitchen. The kitchen you see here is very close to the way they left it. I opted for the 3 point perspective style composition on this image to make it look more lively and almost playful, since the room was very full of items and I wanted to showcase that a bit in my composition.

Image #7 a bedroom in a rural North Dakota farmhouse. The home was abandoned but the bed was still made up and ready for sleeping. I wanted to reflect this tidiness so I opted for a straight on composition and tried to minimize elements in the image.

Image #8 a school house in Willow City, Texas. This was from a trip to photograph abandoned historic school houses in rural Texas. I shot this straight and put the desk in the center to highlight its importance and give it more weight within the image.

Image #9 a school house in Johnson City, Texas. This building dates back to early 1900's and had been abandoned but left mostly empty and untouched. I played around with the placement of this chair a great deal, settling on this image which places it near the left hand side. I thought it balanced out the leaves on the floor and the lines in the wall so I preferred this composition over a more middle/balanced one.

Image #10 a church basement in rural North Dakota. The church is abandoned now but many items remain in the basement, as you can see from the image here. This was shot almost straight on but slightly high to give the impression that you are looking a bit down upon the scene. I wanted it to look a bit cinematic in nature so I opted for this line and composition.

I hope 2016 found a great crop of images from your pile as well.

The great photographer Ansel Adams once said, "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." It's difficult sometimes to look back and fine anything of value but that's the nature of what we do. I hope 2017 finds us all with better images or at least, you know, getting closer to the point of 12 in one year.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Long Day's Journey into Black and White

At first glance, this image might not look like it might be a good candidate for conversion to black and white. I can almost hear you yelling at me from across the wire. "Are you crazy?!? There's a red chair in there. A RED chair. A RED chair! You must be nuts."Ahem. Yes, I see the chair. I still think it will make an ok black and white. It's got tones. Sure, red and green look a lot alike once everything is stone cold grey but, honestly, it's got tones. And tones, generally, make for ok black and white shots. Seriously. OK black and white shots. I'm going to try anyway, you can't stop me, right? Right?

I've been looking at converting a bunch of images over to the dark side, or maybe I should call it the dark and white side, since that's what it really is. It's kind of funny how sometimes images don't look like they'd be good in black and white but then they turn out ok or maybe you think they'd look terrible but you have a go anyway and wind up with, BAM! something that's not too bad. It's taken me a while as a photographer to spot what might be a good conversion and, yes, I know I do tend to shoot things with the thought of converting in mind later on. I'm like that you know. But, sometimes I like to play too and poke around afterwards to see what I can coax. A girl's got to have her fun, right?

Tonality has always been kind of difficult for me. I'm not a tone poet, not in the least. I'm more of a perspective kind of a girl, what can I say? Still though, I know to not discount the red chairs. Never discount red stuff, just because, well, just because it's red, right? Even though I don't shoot it a lot, I certainly don't go out and hunt it, I'm not going to pass it up when you hand it to me either. (As the great philosopher Lady Gaga once wrote, "I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way.")

If it works, look for the black and white conversion to follow. Until then, why, you'll just have to settle for being able to say you knew those chairs back when they were RED chairs. Oh, and if you're inclined to play around with black and white conversion, I recommend the NIX Silver Efex Pro conversion tools which are now available free of charge from Google. Seriously. Google, it would appear, purchased the Nik Efex and made them free so enjoy it while it lasts. I do rather like the conversion tools because they allow you to play around with different styles of conversion and get different looks. Am told the Alien Skin filters are good too, those would be a contender if I didn't already like the Nik Efex so much. To each his own, I guess and, for all, a RED chair!

Until next time...

PS This one taken in Dakota with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens. Was dusty in there but we survived.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How To Become a Photographer - The Short Version

Maybe you got a new camera over the holiday and now your thoughts turn to learning how to work it or perhaps you find yourself one of the many people who decide that, come the new year, you're going to get back into your photography. Either way, you might find yourself in the shoes of somebody new or somebody wanting to get a bit more into this wonderful world of image making. Now, I don't often teach anymore but I have in the past and I get asked a lot about mentoring, often finding myself doing it sometimes (actually often) finding myself on the other end, being mentored. The entire learning bit is really a lifelong journey, especially with photography. I'll never feel I've mastered this but maybe I can offer up some advice for those just starting. Since I get asked a lot, I thought it might be a good time of year to share the basics of what I did to learn. Follow this at your own risk as it might turn you into a mad lady who hops fences and traipses thought abandoned buildings looking for just the right light. Alternatively, you might get bored and take up knitting. At any rate, here goes.

When I was starting out, I participated in a group that shared 3-5 images per week. We met in the auditorium of a middle school. Back in those days, we used a slide projector and shared slides, with every participant putting their own slides in the tray (don't forget, they go in upside down. I still know how to load a slide tray, thank you very much.) The projector made your image large and the room was dark, thereby forcing you to look, and I mean really LOOK at your images. Kind of hard to do when there's no other light in the room and the image got nice and big, warts and all. Also, the 3-5 was key. It really was 3-5, no more, no less. If you had 22, you got chopped down. So that is perhaps advice point number 1: learn to edit. There are no edit fairies. Learn to do it yourself and be brutal. When somebody days they want six images, give them six. If somebody says 3-5 shoot for 4 and see where you land, but keep it between the guidelines. The frequency of showing images was critical too. Each and every week, 3-5 images. It forced you to make new work each week and to edit new work each week. I can promise you, after about a year of doing this, you will be a better photographer. But, since there aren't many slide groups any longer, now that we are all digital, here's what I recommend.

Step 1: Get a camera. This is kind of obvious, but, to be clear, I mean take a camera you already have or get one you want to use. Get one. I mean ONE here and not like 42. Really, just one is all it takes. Much better to learn how to work one you've got then to try and futz with 5 or 6. One works just fine, especially if you really don't know how to work any yet. I sincerely recommend you start with simple equipment and learn to train your eye. You can always upgrade later and, by upgrade, I mean the camera, not the eye. Oh, how I wish I could upgrade my eye, but that ain't happening (perhaps rule number two for you there.) Alas, I've upgraded the camera many times, probably too many to count, still have the same eye, still the same photographer. My guess is you will be that way too so get used to it. The camera really is just a tool for seeing.

Step 2: Keep it Simple. I've hinted at this already with the one camera deal but really you want to keep equipment simple when you are just starting out. Avoid getting lighting rigs like strobes, fancy lenses, lots of flashes, etc. Maybe just start with a simple rig, something like a DSLR, one mid range (I tend to call them "walkabout") lens and a tripod. If you want to learn on your iPhone, use that but that's it. Don't get fancy and don't start shoveling equipment. Just keep it simple. Remember you are trying to learn to take pictures, to craft images, to become a photographer, not to turn into a camera collector. If you ask for a recommendation, I would opt for something like a Canon rebel series camera, or the equivalent Nikon offering, with an 18-55 kit lens or even a 50mm "nifty fifty" style lens. You want to keep it towards one camera, one lens, one eye and then add things as you need them. If you are doing iPhone, start by using the iPhone camera and avoid tons of apps. Just start with the camera and learn how to work that, you can app everything later.

Step 3: Get into a Routine. Remember I said I did the 3-5 images a week when I was learning? Yeah, I probably did that for about a decade. About a year into the 3-5 image routine, I started exhibiting my work. That means for probably 11 years, while I was exhibiting work and doing shows around the country, winning awards, getting published and the like, I was still doing the 3-5 images in the slide tray every Thursday night. That's 3-5 images a week. Say it with me, "3-5 images a week." You want to all but get that tattooed across your forehead. The trick here is getting into a routine. Force yourself to take 3-5 images that you like a week, each and every week. Commit to it. Keep doing it. If it rains, keep doing it. If it's hot, keep doing it. If you go on a surprise trip to Cancun with your cousin Fred, bring your camera along and keep doing it. Yes, you can take 3-5 images of Fred in Cancun but the trick here is 3-5 images a week, each and every week.

Step 4: Complete a Finished Product. What I mean by this is, well, when I was learning I did slides in the tray. Remember how I said they were blown up BIG and we showed them in a dark room? This is sort of "finished." If it was a test shot, it didn't make it into the 3-5 image pile. If I was unsure about it, I'd re-shoot until I got one worth of a slot in my 3-5. I went through a lot of film in those days, lucky you we now have flash memory but it's the same deal. Think of the 3-5 as being "finished" images. By this, I mean worthy of being printed or blown up large. I actually recommend you print them if you can and put them in a notebook, to look at later on. The important point though is you finish what you started. You craft 3-5 finished images each and every week. The difference between a beginner and somebody who is a working (or exhibiting) photographer is that the working stiff has a finished product in mind before he or she loads the flash memory into the camera. You want to start to think about what it's going to look like in your slide tray or in your notebook as you are working in the field or in the studio. Thinking about finishing it makes you focus on what you are making and drives you to shoot better.

Step 5: Evaluate and Refine. After you start shooting for a while, as your notebook becomes full of your work, you can look back upon your earlier work and see how you did. Look at what you've shot, what you didn't shoot, think about what you want to shoot and start to spot the trends. Remember I said I was in a group that shared 3-5 images a week? One of the benefits of the group is that you can get feedback from others, plus you also look at the work of others. It helps if you look at work. Look at as many images as you can and really look at them, with a critical eye. Look at your work and see how it compares. Look at your work and try to spot patterns or habits or "tells" if you will. As you work your routine your style will emerge. Learn to spot it and work with it, but let it grow over time. Think of it as organic and let it blossom but feed it as well. Basically, I recommend that you don't try to copy but rather you continuously refine the way you shoot to get yourself closer to where you want to be as a photographer.

If you follow all of these steps, you will probably become a photographer over time. You will learn to craft images and learn to refine the way you shoot. It's not an easy path and it's perhaps not the only path but it's one way to get to the other side. Regardless of your experiences, I wish you the best of lucky in your journey along the path to image making. Good luck or, as I like to say to my fellow photographers, "safe travels and good light" along your path of discovery.

Until next time...

PS This image taken with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens, from the old schoolhouse tour out in Willow City, TX. This is the room they told us was full of snakes. Maybe I should add another step to my list: Get sturdy boots and watch where you plant your feet, eh?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Looking Back to Find Buried Treasure in Your Archives

As we wind down the last days of 2016, there are going to be a lot of "Best of..." articles and threads published, including, I'm sure, some of my very own. As a photographer, we get asked for portfolios a lot. We're constantly dealing in "bodies of work" so a lot of our time is spent pondering and actually preparing this body of work for that space or this set of images for submission over here. It's a daily grind and we don't seem to mind it, it's just how the work gets done, right? But, sometimes, there's something that can be missed in all of that. We're always packaging things it can be easy to miss individual shots and sometimes little gems, why, they can fall through the cracks of our workflow.

We have a connection to some of our images. Maybe we remember what the place smelled like, or how the flowers looked or whatever. This connection, while it can be a good thing, yes, it can also be a blocker for our own objectivity. What I mean by that is that sometimes, by allowing yourself space and time, by allowing yourself to "forget" the events behind making a particular image, you can look at your images with a fresh set of eyes. Maybe you see things you didn't see before, maybe you can go back on a stream of images and pull out some you had initially passed over. A lot of times, when I do this, I find myself whacking myself on my head. "What was I thinking?" I ask myself. "Why did I pass over this one in favor of that one?" It happens, I would guess, even to the best of photographers. Our emotions or the joy of the shoot can get in the way and cloud our objectivity. We are at are best sometimes when editing after the immediacy of the shoot has been forgotten a bit. I think this is just how the process works. Editing, at it's best, can require some space. It's hard, probably impossible, to have a truly objective eye but that space can sometimes lend a hand to helping here.

By doing some of these year end type "exercises" (for lack of a better word) we sometimes force ourselves to look back and edit again with a fresh set of eyes. Edit anew really perhaps by looking at what we shot or maybe by making additional decisions about post processing. It all comes into play and can all be taken up again now, at the end of the year, with a fresh set of eyes.

So, if you're having a wonderful holiday season or, heck, even if you're not, I would encourage you to sip some eggnog or hot cocoa, enjoy a quiet night or two by a warm fire, spend some quality time with the family and friends, all of that is good, but also don't neglect your images. This is a great time to look back on 2016 and take stock of how you did photographically. See what worked, note what didn't, even look over your raw files again, with a fresh set of eyes. You might find some hidden gems in there. At the very least, you will probably walk away with a fresh appreciation for what you did already shoot and edit as part of your 2016 processing. Looking anew, giving it one more once over can't hurt, right?

I wish you the warmest of holiday seasons and hope you find your share of wonderful hidden gems in your own processing.

Until next time...

PS This one from Dakota, it's the church kitchen, shot on long exposure with the Canon 5DS and the walkabout lens set at 24mm f/14 approximately 30 second exposure.