Fresh Eyes to Old Photos

Rodeo at Parker Ranch, Waimea, The Big Island of Hawaii [Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/1000]
Every once in a while I like to go back through older photo shoots and just look through them. I sometimes find some photos that I glanced over earlier that are much better than I first noticed.

South Point, The Big Island of Hawaii
[Nikon D750, Sigma 24-105mm ƒ/4, ISO 100, ƒ/4, 1/2500]
I use the software PhotoMechanic for my culling and reviewing of photos. 

I can make the photo large and also see all the information about the camera settings on the right about the photo.

This is quite helpful for evaluating a photo. Why isn’t the photo sharp? Just looking at the shutter speed helps you see if it was fast enough to eliminate camera or subject motion.

I also like clicking on seeing the photo 1:1 so I can evaluate down to the pixels.

Charleston, SC, The Citadel, Recognition Weekend [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 2800, ƒ/8, 1/4000]
This I am doing with images that I have already edited through Adobe Lightroom. If I think I could do a better job now than say when I first did the edit or that Lightroom now has tools that were not available when I first edited the photo I may go back to the RAW photo and work on it again.

The Citadel [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 3200, ƒ/8, 1/4000]
Often when you first edit a photograph you are on a deadline. Having the luxury of a lot more time to evaluate photos I find that I seldom am feeling much different than I did at the time of the first edit.

White-tailed deer live throughout the Smokies, but are most commonly seen in areas with open fields such as Cades Cove and Catahoochee Valley. Biologists estimate that more than 6,000 deer may live in the park. Deer populations can change quickly. Local over population leads to widespread disease and starvation. Predation by coyotes, bears, and bobcats help reduce threats associated with over population. This deer was photographed in Cades Cove which is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park located in Townsend, Tennessee on June 22, 2006. [Nikon D2X, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8, Sigma 1.4X, ISO 400, ƒ/4, 1/100]
One thing I do notice a great deal when I go back a few years or more is that the cameras have gotten a great deal better. In 2006 when I took this photo of the dear I owned the Nikon D2X camera. This was a cropped 12 megapixel sensor with a usable ISO range of 100 to 800.

The California Honeydrops play at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia [Nikon D5, Nikkor 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 40000, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
Just this Wednesday night I was shooting at a music venue with my Nikon D5, a full sensor, and at ISO 40000 to get this photo above. Basically with the Nikon D2X this photo wouldn’t have been possible.

The California Honeydrops play at Terminal West in Atlanta, Georgia [Nikon D5, Nikkor 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/200]
Too often when I am looking back at photos where I was hand holding the camera the shutter speed just wasn’t high enough to eliminate movement.

Red-tailed Hawk in our backyard eating a squirrel. This one kept on screeching with another hawk nearby. [Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 Sport, Sigma TC-2001, ISO 1000, ƒ/8, 1/200]
While this is a very recent photo of the Hawk in our backyard the reason it is so sharp isn’t the shutter speed as much as I was on a tripod.

Stream near Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in the Great Smoky National Park located in Townsend, Tennessee on June 22, 2006. [Nikon D2X, Nikkor 24-120mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 100, ƒ/22, 1/1.5]
I recommend you go back through your photos and not just look for great moments, but evaluate them for sharpness. If they are not sharp then ask yourself why not? Look at the camera data and see if you can learn from your older photos.

While shooting is a great way to improve your photos, learning to take the time and evaluate photos for how to improve them next time technically can mean that when you do shoot again you will not make those same mistakes due to not having the camera on the best setting.