The photos that you never see… or why I have lots of space on my hard drive

A friend asked me last week where the rest of the photos from my trip to Jasper were. He only saw on that I had posted. “Didn’t you take any more?”, he inquired.

Well, yeah, I shot a bunch but most of those shots have been deleted from my camera and even less made it onto the hard drive of my computer.

The above photo was on the bubble. Keep it or delete it? I had hopes for it. In the end it’s getting deleted.

I’ve written a few times about how I edit and re-edit an outing. With each successive edit I cull out the weakest shots. One of the best things about doing that is that you are able to become more removed from the photo. We all become attached to what we do and often lose the ability to see our photos objectively.

Every time I opened this image I had hopes for it. No matter how I processed it or looked at similars from the same shoot it didn’t quite make it.

Simply put, you take what nature gives you and work with it. You can never force your look onto the landscape. I waited on the ice for over an hour for the “right” light to appear. It never did. The sky never took the colors that I had hoped for. It stayed more over cast than sunny and the far mountains didn’t get hit by the rays of the sun until it was already too far above the horizon.

A fellow from Calgary replied to one of my blogs a few weeks ago lamenting the fact that I only shoot at certain times of the day. Because I usually only post what I like, that is how it looks. I’ve probably shot hundreds or thousands of frames an our after sunrise up until an hour before sunset. They get deleted and never get seen by anyone except me.

A great landscape isn’t where you are, it’s when you are. Confused? Let me explain. I have many, many more photos that are better than this one that were taken from a ditch on the flat prairie with only a barbed wire fence and hay field as my subject matter. When the light and the weather are right, ANY PLACE ON EARTH CAN LOOK SPECIAL. Sorry for the caps but bolding doesn’t work well with white type on black. :)

Photos are like food. Everyone has their own unique tastes. Because I like my coffee a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s the right way. I would no more tell you how you should drink your coffee than tell you how and when to shoot landscapes. What I will do is tell you what works for me. In doing that, my hope is that you will adapt what I write to your own unique way of seeing. The last thing in this world that you want is to shoot like me. Seriously.

Experiment. Shoot at all times of the day and then be your own harshest critic. Try and be as detached and unemotional as you possibly can when you look at your edits. By doing this you’ll start to develop your own workflow for shooting and editing.

Happy shooting,

Dan

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~ by Dan Jurak on April 10, 2011.

12 Responses to “The photos that you never see… or why I have lots of space on my hard drive”

  1. [...] The photos that you never see… or why I have lots of space on my hard drive (via Dan Jurak’s Alberta Landscape Photo Blog) Posted on April 10, 2011 by thespiritportal A friend asked me last week where the rest of the photos from my trip to Jasper were. He only saw on that I had posted. "Didn't you take any more?", he inquired. Well, yeah, I shot a bunch but most of those shots have been deleted from my camera and even less made it onto the hard drive of my computer. The above photo was on the bubble. Keep it or delete it? I had hopes for it. In the end it's getting deleted. I've written a few times about how I … Read More [...]

  2. I’m hopeful for some clearing skies and good light this evening so I can take a trip out to Wallula Gap again. It’ll be an hour by hour decision, though. We just haven’t had the fabulous light lately, but I’m keeping an eye on the skies.

    Dan, are you on Twitter at all?

  3. @ Rick, the good light arrives. It always does.

    I have a Twitter account but it isn’t active.

    Dan

  4. Dan,

    I’ve been following your blog for awile now through Alberta Foothills Weather. I’m glad there is someone out there who is calling it as they see it, and isn’t afraid to say it. We share the same point of view on a few topics you’ve brought up here. I shoot for myself and I am drawn to color so obviously I’m up early, or head out late in the day. Another main reason for not shooting mid day is that I have a life outside photography. It’s a hobby, to get away from the city and find some solitude in the countryside, for a brief period of time. I also enjoy your photography.

    Brandon

  5. really? deleting this? you’ve gotta be kidding me, i surely don’t know what to think about that other than- great mistake! call me crazy but this scene is massive in my book!!

  6. @ Brandon, thank you for following and commenting. I love the Alberta Foothills Weather blog. Boomer has some great weather related art and a special insight into when and why it happens.

    About not being afraid to call things the way I see them? I don’t sell anything on here. I am in a unique position to actually tell the truth and not be hurt financially. There are other blogs, especially from here in Alberta that have gone that route. Count the advertisements and endorsements on them. Their purpose is to take your money from you, not to lend any insight into a wonderful and relatively inexpensive past time. You won’t read about the latest and greatest or the hottest on this blog because that’s for people who are more interested in gear than photos.
    All the best Brandon and here’s go hoping things green up in a hurry,
    Dan

  7. @ Nate, yeah, really. It’s a pretty place but a good landscape is more than location. I’ll be back there under more favorable conditions.
    Dan

  8. I’m happy to pass on an award with a recommendation to my readers to check out your site. You can see it here if you like.

  9. So Dan, just a query about editing in-camera. You’ve mentioned several times that this is part of your work flow, but how can you tell from a small screen on the back of your camera what’s worth deleting? What are you basing your decision upon? Is it the histogram shape and placement? General composition? These aspects and more?

    Eleanor

  10. @ Eleanor, when looking at images on the camera’s preview screen I am mainly looking at composition. If the composition is unbalanced or just plain bad, it’s easy to tell, even at that small size. It’s a case of instant like or dislike. If I have to convince myself that I like it then I delete it.

    I don’t use the histogram at all. Because I bracket everything I shoot and then usually combine the images, I don’t find it necessary. I’m looking for shadow detail in the overexposed image, highlight detail in the underexposed image. That’s about it.

    Dan

  11. @ Cindy, thank you so much. That is fine company to be mentioned in the same breath with. BTW, you’ve got some great images with that post. Your photographic style is taking a great direction.

    Dan

  12. Good photography really is about the light. I find my favorite images are taken early morning or around sunset and shortly after. I will wait on the light sometimes only to be disappointed. Sometimes I am surprised by the light. On another note, you reminded me that it is okay to delete photos. I have a tendency to hold on to stuff I will never use. Thanks.

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