Landscape Photography and Time: Part II
Continuing on from my previous post, I wanted to share some thoughts regarding the time needed between capturing an image and finally sharing the image. This timeframe will be different for everyone and it’s something I’m still figuring out for myself. For this post, I’m using several images which were shot in February 2016 (18 months ago) and one was only recently edited. Shooting on film forces this process to be slower than with digital but it’s still feasible to shoot images on film, process the film and edit the image within a week. With digital, this process can be nearly instant with images being sent directly to a device or within a day. I have experience with all these timeframes and I think I’m coming to a better realization of what works for me.
When in the field, there’s much more that goes into capturing an image than just clicking the shutter. This is too much to go into for this post. Once I return home, the experience is still fresh in my mind and there is often an excitement to share a new photograph. This excitement can interrupt my ability to view an image subjectively and can lead to sharing work that doesn’t meet the same standards I apply to other images. It’s impossible for me to apply the same standards for selecting images without letting some time pass after capturing an image.
Allowing time to pass after capturing an image is an editing tool that I believe is just as powerful as any software. There is no substitute for this passage of time. Images simply look different after the initial excitement wears off. This is the point where I can begin to select images I’ll keep and share versus images that don’t meet my standards. Allowing some time to pass has another benefit as well. In the image above, I initially passed over it and have only recently shared this image. It took me nearly 18 months to “see” this image, although something must have resonated with me at the time or I wouldn’t have clicked the shutter. 18 months is at the long end of the time I need after I capture an image before making a final decision on selecting it as a keeper. The image below is another example of one that I didn’t fully see until recently.
These landscape images of sand dunes, with the exception of the image above, could have been made at any time of year, any year. There is nothing in them which hints to a season or a certain event. They’re not even images of a particular place, just sand and light. I used these images intentionally but this can also be applied to many other landscape images. If you can’t identify a season or a certain atmospheric event in the image, there is nothing tying to the image to a certain point in time. I’ll continue this thought in my next post but I’ll leave you with one question: Why do some photographs continue to resonate with you year after year while others don’t?
Thanks for reading,