How the Art Happens - Making Mistakes

April 28, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Making Mistakes

Netties BikerNetties Biker

It seems like every spring we get a couple of days that remind us of what's to come temperature-wise. You know those days. Weather folks call it "unseasonably warm". The air is 50 degrees when it's supposed to be 30. Those are good days to grab a camera and get outside. Or, maybe not.

In early April we had a few days like that. It was just too nice not to be outside. Most of the ground was still covered in that formerly fluffy white stuff but the melting had begun. I headed up to one of my favorite overlooks for a view of one of my favorite subjects. Using a long, 400mm lens, I was able to capture the cabin, its surroundings, as well as a lone biker in a bright green jacket. The jacket became the only really colorful part of the photo so he really stood out, which is the whole point of the jacket. I stayed there for a while making photos of cars driving by, other bikers, and the scene with no traffic. I also took photos in a vertical format which I always try to do if the subject allows. You just never know what your editors are going to need! It was a fun and sunny several hours capturing multiple subjects from this and a few other locations.

Then I started the editing process. First, I find compositions that I prefer like the one above. Then I open them in my software and adjust the color balance, crop, sharpen, and remove any dust spots. That's when the disappointments started. As I evaluated my photos at 100% enlargement I got a huge surprise.

Do you know how, on hot days, the pavement seems to ripple in the waves of heat rising from the road? Did you know that can happen at 50 degrees over snow? I didn't either! In every single long-lens photograph.

Most of my fun, sunny day's work was ruined. You can't really tell from the photo above but there's not a straight line in the scene and, if you look closely, the scene looks like you're looking through the glass from a shower door. If I were looking for an impressionistic approach to these scenes, I was well on the way to success. That's probably not what my editors are looking for. I did learn a valuable lesson. I wonder how many more lessons I have to learn after a 40-year career?



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Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

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