Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment. – Ansel Adams
While I constantly feel compelled to capture a scene, I have a difficult time looking through my images, many of which are really quite lovely, to find one or two that I'd like to submit to competition. I have participated in competitions for years. They are, in a word, brutal. Judges tell you why the image would have been better if it had been taken at a different time of day, from a different perspective, if it were only darker, or lighter, or had fewer distractions. Spectacular images are presented to the judges. The audience pauses, not daring to breathe, and then the judges proceed to say that the image is good, BUT....
And once again, after having spent hours trying to decide which were best and which I should submit to the ridicule, I carry my images home feeling depressed that, once again, I have not "scored." Somehow this process does educate me and makes me continue to seek that perfect image. (Perhaps I am a masochist?) In the process, I do come home from a shoot, happy at the newest images I've captured (even if the judges may find fault with them). Even writing this, I want to grab my camera and head out for a snowy sunset. But my objective today was to sift through my recent images and see if I can find one that I'll have printed as a 16" x 20" competition print and open myself up to more critique. In order to get that process rolling, I paused to read a blog and some articles from photographers that I admire. Thus I found the quote above which makes me realize that even Ansel Adams was not always pleased with the results of his photography. So it is an ongoing process, in search of the perfect composition, elements, colors, shapes and ultimately, to create a vision from those elements that moves others.
Happy New Year's, Friends. Here's to continuing that bizarre compulsion to capture the perfect image. Happy Shooting in 2011!