- Time marches.
- Tools evolve.
- Technique improves.
We shoot new images every day. Our skills as a photographer naturally evolve with time too. The images we capture get better as time passes.
RAW Processing has evolved in the past few years. HDR software has evolved in the past few years. Theoretically, our ability to dive back into our ancient archives and extricate images and reprocess them should manifest in markedly improved finished results.
Take this image as an example. This is an image from my 2007 Artist in Residency at Badlands National Park. The client absolutely loved it back then and it was nice-in a gaudy, false-color kind of way. The tools at the time were a little limited but so was my technique and perhaps my vision.
RAW File Processor: Lightroom Version 1.3
HDR Software: Photomatix Version 1.x
Post-Processing: Corel PhotoPaint Ver 12
Fast-forward to the cusp of 2011 and the tools have changed markedly. The same three exposures were resurrected from the library and reprocessed with today’s tools. The image above was the result.
RAW File Processor: Lightroom Version 3.3
HDR Software: Photomatix Version 4.0.1
Post Processing: Photoshop CS5
In the intervening time, the processing of RAW files has vastly improved. HDR software is much better at producing and controlling the results. Post processing software has grown too. All of these things mean we can make a better image than we could before.
Something else has changed along the way: My own personal tastes, my skill at applying techniques and the sensibilities of the whichever way the popular wind blows in the world of photography. The image I chose to create today is much warmer and diffuse than the cold hard image of three and half years ago. When printed the new image is much crisper and survives enlargement much better than the larval effort of years gone by.
I have changed both as a photographer and as a developer of my own images along the way. The latter is evident in the example above.
So, gentle readers, take that new software and go back to a few of your earlier treasures. Reprocess them with the new tools and your improved skill to create a new vision of what you saw and treasured at the time of image capture.
Don’t reserve that new software capability for a new image. Resurrect a treasure from the past.
Rikk Flohr © 2011