Eating Virtual Space

I mentioned before that I am volunteering to help organize a fund raising event for S.O.A.R.  Well, I decided to donate a matted and framed photo for the silent auction.  It seemed like a simple enough thing to do.  After all, I have thousands of photos, a handful of ones I actually like, and the matting and framing part can be taken care of inexpensively.

But, today, I spent time culling out the handful of photos I would consider hanging on my wall.  Then, I pulled in the few that were of birds (since S.O.A.R. is all about birds) and a couple from hang gliding.  It’s a difficult thing to judge.  First, I have to step back and see photos the way normal people see photos.  It’s hard.

I find myself noticing when the rule of thirds hasn’t been applied and trying to decide if it works anyway.  Then I notice when bits of things in the foreground have popped into the frame when I’d rather they weren’t there.  Then I try to decide if the color looks off or if it’s just my imagination.  In the end, I’m down to 16 photos I will put in front of Dale, the woman running the show, to see if she thinks any of them will inspire bids.  If not, we can always make it a raffle item.

The process of filtering through the past 8 months of photos (thank goodness I stuck to the Chattanooga theme–otherwise I’d be going through 9 years of photos!) was an interesting one.  First, I realize how little time I’ve actually spent doing wildlife photography, supposedly my preferred form of the art.  Second, I realized how I don’t like to choose.  I end up with collections of extremely similar photos where the lighting is slightly different and the angle might change just a hair, but I can’t come to a conclusion as to which one I like better.

I have gotten quite strict with myself on that point.  I am trying to limit the number of photos I keep.  Given that most of my pictures are over 13 MB (and I’m shooting with an older camera–I can’t imagine what will happen the next time I upgrade), I’ve run my 120 GB hard drive on my laptop out of space more than once.  I now have a collection of disk drives lingering about in various stages of fullness.  I am constantly worried that my  2 TB backup drive will fill and overwrite some critical photo I’ll never get back.  Not sure what it would be critical for, but who knows?

What amazes me is for the number of photos I have and the amount of disk space I’m maintaining, there are so few pictures I really like.  There are even fewer I would say I’m proud of.  I wonder if this is the unintended consequence of digital photography or if film photographers have the same problem?

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2 responses to “Eating Virtual Space

  1. Well, when I was shooting film, I didn’t scan in all of the shots. I’d only pull the ones that I really wanted to work on. With digital, you end up dumping all of it on your hard drive. I have about 15,000 images on my hard drive. (and just to keep it in perspective, I’ve taken over 400 images just for the Project 365 effort and it’s only February).
    From the images above, I like the one of the blue (is that a heron?) in the upper right and the night skyline of Chattanooga. Have you invested in Photoshop elements or Aperture? They can help you manipulate an image to adjust color balance, brightness, etc?

    • I had over 10,000 images in iPhoto when I was shooting with a 4.5 MP camera. Now I have my images spread across multiple machines so I have added them up lately. I do use Aperture and PhotoShop (the cheap version–Elements maybe?). I only use the PhotoShop stuff if I need to extract part of an image. However, I worry that the colors that look so realistic to me just look weird to others. It’s more my eyes I worry about. 🙂 I did just upgrade monitors, so that should help, but I’ve noticed sometimes I adjust things and then when I see them from somewhere else, they look really weird. Do the colors look weird to you?

      I like that bird, too. I don’t remember what it is (it was in the Berlin zoo), but it is not a heron. The night skyline of Chattanooga is one of my favorites. I also like the dark sunrise behind the bridges. I like dark photos, apparently. 😀

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