August 21 2014

Life is difficult when there are choices. Back in the days of film what choice did you have in the processing of the images? You handed the film into a chemist (ya, a pharmacy. I was so surprised to learn that chemists in other countries did not offer this service) and they developed it and you had zero choice in how they did it. Today, with digital, it has all changed. The shot you take you can see immediately. Choose to delete it if you wish. Take another. Take a hundred others! Then when you upload it to your computer the fun begins. A single image can be manipulated in an infinite number of ways, but ultimately it can boil down to one initial choice – black and white or colour.

I remember the hours I could spend in the video rental stores overwhelmed by the choices of videos to rent. Processing images can be a bit like this. Slide this way, slide that. A little more, a little less. It can go on forever. I use Lightroom for processing my Nikon images and lately I am reducing the options. I read yesterday somewhere that processing an image takes on average 30 minutes. Wow! I don’t think I ever spent that much time on a photograph. I tend to get to a point where I say – “OK, that’s it!” – and I leave it.

I came back from the last trip to Asia with over 3,000 images. Granted many of these are either family shots or photos that are not that great at all and are never run through Lightroom. The hundred or so I am left with are from different locations, different times of the day, indoors, outdoors, blurred, not blurred and you know, I start off with the intention to step back, not post to Flickr, but take time to review the images and work on producing a coherent set, all similarly processed in either black and white or colour. The best laid plans and all that.

The way I work is like this. In the evenings when the kids are in bed and things are quiet, I sit at the computer while my wife watches TV or reads and I choose an image and I begin to work on it. This part of the photographic process is the one I enjoy most. I love watching the images come to life, take on different forms, reveal themselves. And I find it so relaxing! When I feel I have arrived at a good version of the image, I ask my wife for approval. This approval usually comes in a few seconds, but the waiting seems much longer. There is never a long-winded appraisal; maybe a nod of the head or a ya or an I don’t know. 

Happy with how an image is processed, I may then go back and select one or two other images taken at that same time and process them similarly. I love the Paste Settings from Previous Image option in Lightroom (and would love if Snapseed had the same option). With a click I can get all the images to look the same. Then I have a few images ready to go for Flickr, posting one a day. The curious thing is that when I post a little series of images, the first one always gets the most views, faves and comments. The final in the series the opposite. I imagine people get tired of the same type of images. A series rarely has more than four images.

Today, I am starting a new mini series. All processed in black and white. These were taken in Korea.



For iPhone images, it is Snapseed all the way. There are so many iPhone photography apps, but for me Snapseed is a one-stop-shop. The iPhone image for today was taken in the Daegu subway. Funny thing about this is that I have two versions of it – black and white and colour. I am posting both here. I wonder which you prefer, let me know in the comments below.

For Flickr I have gone with the colour version. I like this image for the connection I made with this character. He appeared to have no problem with my taking his photograph and when I was pointing the iPhone at him, he did not seem to endeavour to conceal anything. In fact, post shot as the train began to pull off, he threw a beautiful smile.

Daegu Subway


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Daegu Subway (2)