Focused on photography

Story of a badly taken photo

Today I’d like to share with you something different than my still life images and that is a story of a badly taken photo and what it taught me.

Unless you are always ready and prepared when holding your camera, you must have experienced a situation when you were shooting something and suddenly something else happened which you wanted to capture quickly and oops, you found out that you forgot to change the last camera’s settings which turned up to be utterly wrong for the desired capture and the moment was irretrievably lost. This is how I took the photo that you can see below, it’s straight out of the camera.

I liked the scenery and was playing around with my camera’s settings when I noticed a man with children walking along the path. They were quite quickly disappearing from my view so without further ado I took a photo only to find out on the camera’s screen that it was enormously overexposed. Normally I wouldn’t have kept such a messed up photo but I sort of liked that haziness and I might have wanted to preserve the memory of that moment so I left it alone and waiting for me to come and see what I could do with it.

Now, I’m quite sure that if I had the photo just in jpeg format, there would be no remedy for the overexposed parts but fortunately I was shooting in RAW (as I’m always now) and when I processed the photo in Lightroom to my liking, I got this result:

Not perfect but interesting, no lost highlights or whites, all pixels nice and neat inside the histogram. I wouldn’t have believed that. But this was just a starting point for the two resulting images that I love. The first image you could see at the opening of this post, it’s a triptych made just from the photo above, and the second image is the high-key image below. I find both of them so simple and yet so effective…

They say that by means of processing you can create an excellent photo from a very good one but you can’t create a good photo from a bad one. In other words, you can improve a photo but you can’t change its (lack of) worthiness. I generally agree with that philosophy but my experience has taught me that you can make an interesting photo or image even from a bad capture and that you can have a lot of fun with that process. Creativity stops at nothing.