On 2nd chances & imperfections.

NOTE: If you’re planning on using an Eye-Fi card to shoot tethered, I have an update at the end of this post… PLR

Editing is hard.

I’m not talking about post-processing but the act of culling, of singling out a handful of images from a drive full of material. Working alongside photo editors, seeing how they process your work and having to live with the decisions they make is probably the best school you’ll ever find. It often takes you down a couple of notches. But eventually you begin to understand how others view your work, what it means and how it all fits together. It’s like being given hints to a puzzle.

There’s a school of thought that claims you should be merciless with your images, keeping only the very best and deleting anything that doesn’t make the grade. I tend to lean the other way: I’m a pack rat. I keep everything, apart from forgotten lens caps and accidental self-portraits of my shoes (!). Not because I can’t make a decision but because I firmly believe in the powers of distance and perception:

Time = distance = modified perception.

The fact is: we change. We change as individuals, as craftsmen and artists. My eye doesn’t see what it was seeing five years ago. Hell, even ONE year ago for that matter. Photos originally dismissed can suddenly surface to become hero images. It happens.

I don’t consider myself a technical photographer; I mean I’m perfectly comfortable with the technical stuff — I have to be — but I tend to favour emotion over technical perfection when I can. I don’t care about focus as much as I care about intent. I don’t pixel peep beyond what’s necessary to do my job correctly. It’s not what I’m after. Which is probably the reason I’ve fallen in love with the Fuji cameras and their ethos. Soul over speed.

I tend to believe our biggest strength as photographers is in seeing the potential of an image where most people would see a mistake and hit the delete button. But sometimes this doesn’t happen on the first pass. Sometimes it’ll happen years later, simply because we’ve changed or had time to disconnect ourselves from the captured moment.

This past weekend I did some further organizing of my library in Lightroom, tagging, keywording, building collections and smart collections. I looked into my France collection and disabled the filter that was set to 4 stars and up, just for the hell of it. Again, I found images I’d dismissed. There’s nothing perfect about any of them but for some reason they suddenly spoke to me and I couldn’t understand why they’d flown under the radar all this time.

If I’d been merciless I would’ve missed out, completely unaware.

Here’s to second chances…

P.S. There’s something slightly disturbing about picture #8… Can’t quite put my finger on it…!

UPDATE: I did some further testing with the Eye-Fi card (btw I’m using the older 8GB Pro X2 not the newer 16GB). Bottom line: if you want to use this for tethered shooting use an ad-hoc network. I’m not talking about a small speed increase, on my network a single raw file transfer went from several minutes (!) to under 30 seconds. JPEGs just zip by. Here’s a quick primer on how to create an ad-hoc network on a Mac:

- Click the wi-fi icon in the menubar and select Create Network…

- Choose a name, select 128 bit security and choose a password. The Mac will create the network and the wi-fi icon will change accordingly.

Once this is done you’ll need to add this new network to your Eye-Fi card by plugging it into your computer like you did the first time you set it up. You’ll only need to do this once so it’s no big deal. One thing to remember: you can’t save an ad-hoc network configuration, it needs to be created each time you want to use it. So make sure to note the name and password you entered in Eye-Fi Center and use this every time you create the network — otherwise the card won’t regognize it and you’ll need to plug it in the computer again.