From a Distance

Sometimes I like to look back at my work that I created few years ago. Except for studying places I witnessed and might go to again one day, I'm also trying to see if and how I developed as a photographer. The results vary. In many cases, I would not show a photograph to public for either mistakes in exposure, composition or post-process, or because I changed my tastes and simply stopped being confident about an image. Some other shots, I would not even push the trigger as I got my eye better trained for seeing a potential of a scene. On the other hand, there are couple of photographs that I doubt I will ever be able to beat. This is where the weather conditions were right, I used the right equipment and focal length, I somehow managed to build a nice composition and even measure the light precisely.

Obviously, the main headstone for those few 'masterpieces' was quality of natural lighting, which always goes with a little bit of luck. I can hardly see any development of my photographic abilities when looking only at those. However, excluding them from comparisons and considering only an 'average' work, older and newer, allows me to conclude that I'm now certainly able to get much more out of less lucky sessions when I have to deal with average or bad lightning. This is perhaps the result of better understanding of my equipment / character of film and its potential reaction to specific conditions, as well as of gained experience in seeing around and recognizing compositions that would eventually work without the necessity of possessing the sexiest light possible. This is definitely the finding that I like. :-)

Camera: Mamyia 645 Pro TL, Lens: Mamiya 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Filter: Lee ND Graduated 0.6

I made the above image back in July 2006 in High Tatras. Although the sky turned out to be largely unimpressive, the fresh mountain air allowed first rays of sun to illuminate Kezmarsky stit (Kezmarsky peak) in an unseen manner. Okay, in a vivid, brick-like color that is hard to believe if you wish. At the time, I was deeply influenced by Mr Darwin Wiggett and his Canadian Rockies always shot in a great light ( and I felt like our little Tatras turned into giant Rockies for few minutes. I worked the composition out so that I could get the cleanest reflection possible, with no distraction with the foreground. By the way, I thought of retouching the little flower on the left which intrudes the reflection but I decided to keep it as I found the design somewhat too perfect then.

Just few weeks before this shoot-out, I purchased my first medium format camera and decided to switch from digital to film. Since then I enjoyed the process much more and this was probably the first presentable result. Looking back, I now know that this move was the best thing I did about my photography. Don't keep too many images from my pre-film chapter.