Our photography workshop was at the summit of Cadillac Mountain. My first impression? A lot of rocks, trees, blindingly blue sky, harsh midday light, and too many people everywhere. I was not inspired, and that’s putting it mildly. Our instructor made her way around checking in with each of us. When she asked how I was doing, I told her I wasn’t sure yet. I dutifully took a few shots and moved around hoping something would catch my eye. Still nothing.
As I wandered, a couple of things finally looked modestly interesting, so I composed a few frames. Then it was time to move on to the next location, still atop Cadillac, but from a different perspective, to wait for sunset. The conditions weren’t much different there. I kept exploring, hoping for a breathtaking view or some clouds to move in to create interest in the sky before sundown. It didn’t happen. I still took a few pictures, hoping to draw inspiration from something.
When I got back to my room, I uploaded the day’s images from my camera to my laptop, flipped through them quickly, and went to bed. I decided I had come there to learn, and I was learning, even if I wasn’t getting the stunning Maine photos I had hoped. The workshop ended, my husband flew up to meet me, and we spent a few days returning to some favorite spots and hiking to new ones. We even went back to the top of Cadillac Mountain - mostly so he could see it, not for me.
It wasn’t until after I returned home and took a closer look at those early images, that I realized some had potential. One of the lessons I learned was to crop out things that aren’t contributing to the image I had envisioned, ideally in camera while composing the shot. I can still hear one of my previous instructors telling me, “You don’t need the whole bicycle to know it’s a bicycle.” Indeed.
That boring sky wasn’t adding a thing to my image. With a couple of key strokes in my photo editing program, it was gone. Ha! That looked better. I was rather delighted to discover I even liked a couple of them.
There’s a saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” While that may be true, I’m glad I went back and took another look at those shots from Cadillac Mountain.
Have you ever made a judgement based on a first impression and later changed your mind?
What helped you to see things in a different light?
© Shirley K. Weyrauch, 2020
Shirley K. Weyrauch
I love reading, writing, and photography! Spending time with my family and friends around the kitchen table is about the best occasion I know. I'm just beginning to stretch my creative wings, so here's to gentle breezes and clear skies.