Monday, July 16, 2007

Good Photo? Bad Photo?

"I think the best pictures are often on the edges of any situation, I don't find photographing the situation nearly as interesting as photographing the edges."

-William Albert Allard, "The Photographic Essay."

I have learned something about myself when it comes to my own photography, sometimes it is a good idea for me to take a step back, before deciding whether or not I like a photo I have just taken. Take the above photo as an example. Last Wednesday, I was in Half Moon Bay, very late in the afternoon. I stopped at Pastorino's farm, to photograph the magnificent wealth of flowers they have in bloom right now. It is really spectacular, everything is in full bloom, and the variety is endless. As gorgeous as all the colorful flowers were, for some reason I found myself attracted to the white daisies. They were amazing, and with the low flowing fog, just making it onshore, and across the farm, it gave everything a ghostly appearance. Fog is a strange thing, it can flow on one side of a building, completely shrouding it, while the other side can be completely clear and sunny. Last Wednesday, it seemed to be flowing across the field as if to cover the more colorful flowers, while it made the daisies glisten. :) Magic!

There was exactly one butterfly to be found, this gorgeous, American Painted Lady, (Vanessa virginiensis). This is my favorite butterfly to photograph. It is a happy little girl, and the colors on her wings are stunning. I am fascinated by the pattern of her wings as well. It is small, only about 2 in, across. I don't know, maybe I kind of know what it's like to be the little one on the block. LOL.

Anyway, as I said, there was only one of her fluttering among the daisies, and the mist was beginning to roll in a lot heavier, so I knew I only had a few minutes to make my time with her count. I followed her from a proper distance, as to not spook her, and tried really hard to get a shot that would show her full beauty. Well, I ended up with a lot of misty photos, and some shots where she wasn't quite in focus, and then I have this one. As you can see, I got her in focus, but the mist and the flowers surrounding her distract from her a good bit. When I first began to edit my photos that day, I thought about cropping out the surroundings, but somehow it just didn't look right. I decided to put it away for a few days, and take another look this weekend.

Yesterday, I took the file out again, and for whatever reason, when I looked at it a second time, I kinda liked what I saw. I don't think it's the best I have ever done, but there is something about the photo that draws me in. I see all the mistakes, and unfortunate elements to it, and at the same time, it gives me a good feeling. I am not exactly sure why I didn't like it at first, maybe I shouldn't try to edit photos when I am that tired. Maybe I needed a few days to work through how difficult it was to get the photo, and be proud of myself for how hard I worked at it. It's difficult to pat myself on the back when I have done good. Silly. No one knows better then I do what level of effort I put into something. Right? So, for whatever reason I like this photo. I like the memory of taking it as well. It was a productive day with the camera, and a good day to let the camera process my thoughts. :)

"Misty Vanessa"
Half Moon Bay, California
July 11, 2007


Steven said...

Hummm :-) I agree with you on much of what you describe. I don't allow myself a great deal of reflection on my own photos. Sometimes it's good and sometimes not so good. I can be awfully critical of my own.

There is nice depth to your photo. Knowing butterflies I know how hard it is to get a clean, unobstructed, view. There is a white blob that is distracting. I make those often enough myself.

It's good to push and learn from the moment.

Patrick said...

The more I look at this image, Carly, the more I like it. There's a sort of dreamy quality to it, and it "feels" like a very cool scene...not cool as in "hip" but cool as in a breezy, maybe even chilly morning.

Very tranquil. :)