Sharing With Intent

Lower Lewis River Falls

A shot of the Lower Lewis River Falls taking during harsh afternoon sunlight

This past month my friend Jacob Lucas presented his work to the Olympia Camera Club under the title of “Shooting with intent.”  Jacob talked about thing like making an image your own and actually having a reason to press the shutter button.  This lead to a conversation with some fellow photographers about taking that a step further and in addition to shooting with intent, we explored the idea of sharing with intent.

What I really mean by this is finding a way to self edit and not just share images for the sake of sharing them, or to chase that little “like” or “fav” button on social media.  I am using this image as what I think is a perfect example of what I am trying to say.

Most people will look at this image and immediately think it is a great image.  I would argue that if you take just a little more time and really look into it, there are a number of things very wrong with this image.  There are actually enough things wrong with this image to keep it out of my galleries here on this site, but I will get back to that in a moment.

I made this image back on May 1st.  At the time I was really excited about getting this image onto my computer, processed and then shared with the world.  After I got it onto my computer I sort of got wrapped up with other things but always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to get this image “out there.”  I finally had the opportunity a couple days ago to sit down and really look at this image, and it immediately jumped out at me that there was a lot wrong with the shot, and that it might work perfectly for this blog post, which I had been wanting to write for awhile now.

I processed this image anyway, and about 24 hours before sitting down to write this post, I shared it to Flickr.  I was curious as to how this image, which I believe to be flawed enough to keep our of my galleries, would be received on a photo sharing network.  Most people would be thrilled to have over 1700 views, over 100 likes and invitations into 5 groups for one of their images, and that is exactly where I am at after 24 hours of this image being on Flickr.

I suspect that many of the people who have read this far wonder why I consider this image flawed, and why it isn’t in my Nature / Landscape gallery.  There are actually a number of reasons.  The biggest starts with the time of the day that I captured the image.  It was early afternoon, just after 2:00pm and to say that the sunlight coming up the Lewis River Canyon was harsh would be a major understatement.  This harsh light created nasty shadows both in the background and on the elements of the falls.  You don’t have to look to hard at this image to see those nasty shadows.  Secondly, my composition is really quite bad.  I should have brought more of the foreground into the scene, but that isn’t what “ruins” this image for me, it is that I cut off the downed trees on the left side and with them moving diagonally out of the frame, they take the viewers eye right out of the scene.  Simply put, if I were not using this image for this blog post, odds are that people would have never seen this shot.

So, what is the moral of this very long winded blog post.  Simply put, I think we all need a lesson from time to time about sharing with intent.  Share your best work, evaluate your own work with a critical eye, and maybe most importantly, don’t always take the feedback that you get online as a gauge of the quality of an image, more often than not, popular doesn’t equal good.


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