The Veil Redux
Every time a publisher asks me for an image, or someone orders a fine art print, the same thing happens. I search for the file on my computer, open it in Photoshop, and think: why did I process it like this? Then I start fine tuning the image, correcting small mistakes, and I end up with a version that is much better. Every single time. The differences are never big, but big enough for me to put in the effort. Some of my older images have been through this process quite a few times, and it’s interesting to see them evolve over time.
I get great satisfaction out of reworking my images for two reasons: the images will be better afterwards, and the fact that I’m working on them again means that my vision and taste evolves. What I thought looked good three years ago, now often doesn’t look that good anymore. And that’s a great feeling.
A few days ago I opened this image to prepare it for printing, and after a short inspection, I decided to rework it. Sometimes I only change the settings of some of the adjustment layers, or add a couple, but in this case I started all over again from scratch. I think the end result is much better than the previous version from 2012, even though most people won’t see the difference – especially at this size. The large print now shows much more detail in the foreground tree, and the overall contrast and colour has also improved.
What I also like about this phenomenon is that in order to find the original NEF file in Lightroom, I had to visit the folder again and saw all the other images that I shot around the same time, but hadn’t processed yet. So after I had finished processing this one, I ended up processing two other images and two panos that I would otherwise have forgotten about.
Marsel,I must say that I can only agree with what you say. Luckily we all evolve, and that is the way to grow in whatever we do, be it photography or anything else. Having visited this particular place many times ourselves and appreciating the potential it has, nonetheless it is remarkable how you succeed in shedding a different new light each time on this unique landscape that has been photographed so many times before. I am very curious about the other images of this series ! Best regards, Karin.
Hi Karin – thanks :-) I feel that it is much more challenging for my creativity to visit often photographed locations, as it forces you to really go beyond what you’ve already seen before. It is a lot easier to shoot something original at a place where few people have ever been before. I’m still working on some of the other images from this one morning, and I wish I had more time to go through some more of my older stuff. But yeah, it’s interesting to see how one’s taste and vision changes over time.
Totally have the same experience, but there is another advantage to doing this that you didn’t mention: software gets better at working with RAW files every year too, so you might be able to improve on the quality of the image because the software can now better handle all the data contained in your original image!
So it is absolutely very much worthwhile to go back every once in a while and see what you can do with your classics :). Keep up the awesome work, love your images, they are a true inspiration!
Thanks Mike – I totally agree!