I have a quite a few images in my archives that have been just sitting around collecting dust for awhile until I spend some time and figure out “what they want to be” as I wrote in my last post. That process is often quite similar to a walk in the woods with no particular destination in mind. I have taken many of these walks in search of the photographs to start with, and as we know, sometimes you come home with something, other times it is a bust. As much as I hate to admit it, not every picture has some grand vision right from the start.
Many times I will just find some elements in nature that are visually interesting, but in review at home, the photograph as a whole just isn’t exciting me. Those images get filed away for another day perhaps when I want to go for a walk in the processing woods. Sometimes, just with the passing of time, it is quite clear the path I want to follow. Then there are those times when I just start wandering about.
The image here was one of those times. I liked the visual elements in this image, but the raw file was rather flat. I ventured into monochrome with it, and while I liked some variants, I was still luke warm to that being the final resting spot. I went back to the color path, trying out some filters, different layers to enhance the elements I enjoyed most about the scene to start with. Each step I find things I like, and move past what I don’t. In this particular case, I suppose I wandered deeper than I had planned on for this type of image. The layers just kept building up, which on a D800 file, the file size starts to get quite big as well.
I suppose this is not the most efficient approach to processing an image. I imagine a lot of photographers have a very specific path they like to follow. But my goal here was not efficiency, it was exploration. I don’t do this for every image, there are just some that I feel need more exploration than others. Each step intrinsically giving me little hints about where this might end up. I would hit a dead end, turn around, and go down a different path.
Did I end up ultimately where this image “wants to be?” Maybe, maybe not – it is perhaps not a route some would take, but it is the one I took. I certainly like it a lot better than the original file, so that made the journey worthwhile for me. What I do know is that I found a path worth exploring, and like exploring the real world woods, sometimes you just have to get lost a little to discover new destinations.