a two hour tour

these are from last year, possibly the first time I came down to Santa Barbara for work, but maybe the second time. Not really sure. A bunch of the team came in at the same time so we could all meet each other and work in the same room for a bit. Coincidentally, I’m in SB right now for the same reason, 13 months later. I dragged my personal laptop down here just so I could blog while I was away from home. That’s not true I also brought it for Netflix. Anyway.

Had a thought today, as I was in the plane while we descended over the pacific. The approach to SBA is partly over water, and affords really nice views of the shore backed up by mountains. There was a perfect distance where the sky and the land and the sea were all even, and the photo naturally worked. The whole flight was one of those where the photos just jumped at me, so look out for those some time soon. Or later. Because the right distance is important.

When I’m taking a photo, I have to visualize, that is, kind of imagine what it’ll look like as a finished image. It’s mostly emotional, a response to the potential of the scene. It’s also something I have to be careful with, because the emotions I feel, as a person taking a picture, can be out of joint with the situation, but that’s another essay. So I take pictures by feeling.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.

The Waking, Theodore Roetke

And anyway, I also edit by feeling, at least at first. What makes it into the first broad set of selects is a simple ‘yes’. I take that and then refine it later. This set of pictures started out as 60, and you see here 12. So it’s not a small amount of work to decide what goes into any given post. This is where proper distance comes in.

As I’m editing, it’s important to see what’s in the picture, not what I wanted to see when I was taking it. It’s best if I can’t remember the previsualization at all. That way I can select the photos based on what works. BUT. If I try to do this too soon after a shoot, it’s a lot harder to let go of the things that I thought would be really good while shooting. It’s a kind of attachment that is hard to let go of.

In professional circles, they have the luxury of another person to do the photo editing. Sometimes several people. Photographer takes the pictures, sends in everything (or maybe a set of selects, I’ve never really worked with a photo editor). The editor can then assemble the photos into a story. They can do this quickly, because they’re not burdened with the emotions from shooting.

Me though, I work alone. Mostly because I don’t want to pay someone to edit my photos; the perspective of a good photo editor, just like an editor for writing, is invaluable. I’m about to start on a new project, and I might see about finding an editor to work with for it. Might be better for it.

Posted by Matt on 2023-05-08T07:36:37Z GMT