Shark Bay, 2023
Phase One XF 150MP, 110mm lens, 1/2000 second @ f4, ISO 100
How much time do you spend editing photographs? I'm going to guess not enough! But how much is enough?
Over the last fortnight, I've been working through the Shark Bay photographs taken earlier this year on our workshop (which, by the way, is being repeated next year if you're interested). While I haven't photographed Shark Bay as many times as my partner in crime, Tony Hewitt, I've probably clocked up 30, maybe 40 hours in the air above one of the most amazing aerial locations in the world.
So, what has this to do with editing? Although from year to year the Shark Bay aerials have a degree of similarity to them, the time of day, the tides, the wind and the clouds all conspire to ensure that every flight you discover something new. However, there's another ingredient to consider: me - or you! The other ingredient is the photographer and how he or she approaches the photograph in post-production - and hence the need to spend time editing your photographs.
While I love reviewing my work on location (usually in the evening with a glass of red wine not too far away), I often find that a subsequent review of the shoot a few months later reveals forgotten or unnoticed gems. The image with this newsletter is one I consider to be a bit of a gem and I'm very happy with it!
So, now the honesty bit: when and how do I find the time to edit a shoot? Like many men my age, I enjoy sitting in front of the box and watching sport, whether it's cricket, cycling, surfing or football. However, there's a lot of downtime in these sports and I find it very hard to sit still with nothing else to do, so I grab my laptop and open up either Lightroom or Capture One and review my work.
Two points of clarity. If you're a woman who loves sport, you're not excluded, but my wife has very little interest in sport and prefers to read a book or potter in the garden. However, we both happily read and edit when watching Netflix as well (as long as it's not a foreign language movie which requires you to read the subtitles)! There are time management opportunities for all of us.
The second point is that the work I do on my laptop remains 'preliminary'. As much as I love Capture One and Lightroom, the result on the laptop is just a step in the process. The way I've taught myself to edit brings me back to Photoshop and the Auto Curves dialog. Invariably I export my images as 16-bit TIFFs and do the final colour and contrast tweak on my EIZO monitor, not the spectacularly colourful and contrasty MacBook Pro!
Hopefully Manly isn't going to lose this afternoon after being so far ahead, but who knows!