Learn by your mistakes – going over old photos

When it comes to photography I’m a great believer in continuously analysing your own work – as well as others. One of the great things about digital photography is my library is so accessible. It’s also quite depressing that I can scroll through about 10 years of ‘good’ photos in a matter of minutes, although I do think being picky and not settling for just OK makes you a better photographer.

Half the battle in taking a good photo, is not just timing, composition and all the technicalities of exposure, it’s recognising a good photo when you see one. After a recent session deleting photos on my overflowing hard drives I came across these three prime examples of big mistakes. Mistakes in the fact I totally overlooked them. There were ‘keepers’ selected from shots either side of them, but for some reason, at the time of processing the shots, I thought they weren’t worthy of taking any further.

Castlerigg Stone Circle – Keswick

The first shot above is of the fells behind Castlerigg Stone Circle at Keswick. It’s not your average shot of the stones, most people would stand a little closer! but I knew they were visible from Latrigg hill and had tried on a number of occasions to shoot them from there. You can just see them in the bottom right of the shot. I love the dramatic lighting which leads down to them and also the farm building in the right corner that helps balance the shot and add scale to the image.

Keswick town

The second shot below is of Keswick town from Latrigg fell. The cloud inversion adds atmosphere to the image, the church is a nice focal point and I also like the chimney smoke bottom right which lets you knows it’s cold. This image is as much about what you can’t see as what you can.

Bradgate Country Park

And finally the third shot is of a fallow deer at Bradgate Park. There’s good eye contact with the deer, his antlers are dressed with bracken so you know it’s during the rut and shooting through grass has softened the image and given quite an artistic feel. I think I dismissed it at the time because shooting through grass is always hit and miss and I thought on this occasion it obscured the deer too much and over softened it. Now, perhaps with more experience under my belt I see it in a more positive light.

So, whilst many of us have the continual hope that our next photo will be that illusive perfect image, there’s a good chance it already exists, it’s just languishing on a dusty hard drive somewhere…

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