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Second Looks

Waterbury River, Smuggler's Notch

When I return from a photo outing, I usually go through my images in Adobe Bridge and make initial selections. Back in the days film, I used to do my selections with a large wastebasket and pitch out the clearly “bad” images. The “select” images would go in a pile and then I would save the “unsure” images for a second, later review. With digital, the workflow is much the same, except that I probably don’t discard as many of the images.

Pond on U.S. 5 near Barton, Vermont

We are experiencing the first “Midwestern snowstorm” of the season. Now the winter has “officially” arrived, today was a good day to start reviewing the “unsure” images from 2010. These are the images that did not have any obvious flaws, did not immediately impress me as an image worthy of website posting or other use. But experience has taught me that sometimes an image that you review again after some time and space, may be worthy of a second look. Here are a few images I found that had some merit.

On the first morning in Vermont, we started our day at a small, unnamed pond along the highway just south of Barton, where my good friend and talented photographer, Carol Smith and her husband own a vacation home. A small group of photographers gathered in her kitchen in the pre-dawn darkness that morning, and then carpooled to this roadside pond. While it is not, in my view, the best of my images of this subject, I like the fog rising above the water and hanging above the tree line. And of course, it’s a reflection!

May Pond

We next went to Carol’s favorite destination near Barton, May Pond. We could all see why, but that morning, the sky was gray and I struggled to find any compelling images. I shot a couple, but was quickly ready to move on. On review of “seconds,” I thought this image was worthy of further work. The reflection and the steam rising on the water make the image interesting, in my view.

Common Road, Waitsfield, Vermont

The Common Road, above Waitsfield, Vermont is a short road with some impressive views down into the valley. Weather and foliage were challenging this fall, but several images made the first cut. This image is perhaps not as compelling as the “select” images were, but it has some interesting elements.

Mad River

In 2006, I stumbled on a spot on Route 100 south of the Waterbury exit on Interstate 89, on the Mad River. I spent about an hour there, but it was a magical hour. I vowed to go back and this past fall, I spent a drizzly morning standing in various parts of the river with rubber boots on photographing it. I was pleased to find several “second look” images that I think are pretty nice.

Farm on 9 West, Vermont

On the way home after a week in Vermont, I found this image along the road driving west out of the state.

Mad River

Most often, the initial selections are correctly, the best images of a shoot. However, there is something to be said about a second, later, review that is done after some time has elapsed. I this case, there are several images I am glad I went back and looked at.

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3 Responses

  1. Looks like you made good use of your time on a snowy day. I really like the Rte 5 Barton pond shot and as soon as I saw the rocks from May Pond, I knew where that shot was taken without even looking at the title. It’s always fun to find keeper or two when going back to take a second look. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. SO true.. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent a rainy afternoon digging back through old exposures and re-processing them. Some of my favorite images were “found” that way after being totally overlooked the first time ’round. Even when they ultimately don’t work out, it’s great practice to take a subpar shot and see how far you can take it. I saw an Adams exhibit last year where they had an example of 2 prints made decades apart, but from the same negative…. very instructive how his interpretation changed. I believe it was his quote: “the negative is the score, but the print is the performance”. Our skills and tastes are constantly evolving, so it can sometimes really pay to rethink older works.
    Some excellent images in this post, BTW.

    • Mark and Carol: Thanks for the comments. Good thoughts, Mark about the second look. Another thought that came to me after posting the blog, was that in addition to changing tastes and skills, and a “fresh look,” technology has changed in such an amazing way that its worth keeping some of the “marginal” (even technically) images around for tomorrow’s technology. So far, I have found storage to be relatively cheap. Management is a bear, but worth the time.

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