Bell Tower Tears

Bell Tower Tears

We’ve all shot photos that failed to meet our expectations. The light is shifting, the subject is moving, there’s a lull in the current of the crowd, you’re bracketing exposures, changing f-stops, angles, lenses, your mind. For all that, things look good through the glass. But later, when you survey your shots with a critical eye, you find the images lack interest or impact. Before you pitch ’em, do three things. First, spend some time with the shots. Figure out why the images don’t work. Do they lack contrast? Is your composition off kilter? Are there distracting elements in the background or foreground? Were you too near or far from your subject? Then ask yourself, “What could I have done differently?” Carry those answers to your next shoot. Running a self-diagnostic once or twice won’t improve your photos. Making Q&A a habit will. Now you’ve analyzed the faults, consider the potential. I liked the lighting and simple composition of the carillon shot that heads this blog. But it was a night shot, handheld in a crowd, around 1600 ISO, through consumer-grade glass. No awards for clarity, but I felt it had potential. I spent a few minutes teasing it, searching for effects that accentuated the mood. I love marrying textures to photographs. But my go-to tools–paper, metal, linen, stone–didn’t work here. Then I reached for raindrops. I blended them with the bruised sky, faded the colors a bit, and found something I liked. While the photo alone didn’t do much for me, I do think the composite begets emotion. That certainly beats banishing the base image to a hard drive where it...