Thursday, December 03, 2009

The best and the rest

click photo to enlarge
Periodically I look through the photographs that I post on PhotoReflect and consider which are my best images of recent weeks or months. When I did this the other day it was pretty clear to me that this image of dying water lily leaves was my favourite.

Nominating a favoured image in this way encourages you to reflect on why that particular shot stands above the others, and that's not always easy. I've blogged about this subject a few times, so I won't bore you again. However, I will say that in all the millions of words that are written about photography and photographs on the internet, in books, and in magazines, this is the aspect that receives least attention. And yet, knowing what makes an image good as opposed to mediocre or bad, and being able to articulate that, is surely crucial to the art and craft of photography. I'd like to see more people describing, in detail, why they like an example of a great photographer's work, or indeed one of their own shots. Unfortunately, painters are no better at this than photographers, and much of the wider world is happy enough to be told by "experts" which are the images worthy of placing in the pantheon, and which are the "also rans"!

There is a down-side to my little habit of selecting examples of what I think of as my best work, and that is I'm tempted to revisit the subject looking for a variation that matches up to the chosen shot - something that rarely happens. I'm happy enough with today's photograph - a variation on the dying lily leaves - which includes a couple of our fish, some willow leaves and shows the pond in its frozen state, but it doesn't, for me, have the qualities of the preferred image.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 86mm (172mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/120
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: -2.0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On