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The Benefits of Revisiting Older Photographs

I must confess that I very seldom go back through my older photographs unless I’m focused on a project that specifically requires me to do so. That’s been the case lately as I’ve been working on a number of eBook projects. What I’ve discovered is that there certainly are benefits when making the time to revisit old photos, and it is something that I will be doing on a much more regular basis.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 13mm, ISO 800, 1/30, f/5.6

The first benefit is the rekindling of memories that may have gone dormant over time. This was the case with me when it came to a trip to Greece that my wife and I did back in the fall of 2014. I was sorting through some older images with the intent of including some of them in my “The Little Camera That Could” Nikon 1 eBook. I literally stumbled on some photographs that I only had a vague recollection of capturing, like the one above. As we all know, one of the powerful things about photography is that seeing an image can immediately propel us back in time.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 38.5mm, ISO 160, 1/1600, f/6.3

Another advantage was that some of my older photographs had the effect of smacking me on the side of the head, reminding me that the software programs that we use are not static and it often pays dividends to upgrade to current versions. At the time that the photograph above was created the Spot Weighted Smart Lighting tool in DxO OpticsPro did not exist. It proved to be a very useful tool to use when revisiting this photograph in terms of squeaking more highlight details out of it.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 7.7mm, ISO 160, 1/640, f/4.5

Some images reminded me about the importance of leading lines, and when appropriate to accentuate them by using triangular shaping in compositions.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 11mm, ISO 160, 1/160, f/8.0

Photographs like the one above reinforced the use of patterns to create order, and also using shadows to add to image flow, especially when a shadow can be positioned to act as a subtle corner exit.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, ISO 160, 1/500, f/6.3

The image above served as a reminder to look for ways to stack and layer elements.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 30mm, ISO 3200, 1/1000, f/5.6

The importance of light jumped out at me when I rediscovered the photograph above. It was a quick ‘walk-by’ capture that I did one night when returning to the hotel after having dinner along the waterfront in Mykonos town. I find it fascinating to ponder what serves as the creative spark that prompts each of us to compose an image. “Look for light”, is the message that often comes out of my old, porous brain.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 15.1mm, ISO 160, 1/60, f/5.6

This was another image that I was surprised to find in my old photographs from the Santorini portion of our trip to Greece. It reminded me of a couple of things. The first was the potential impact of using contrast and blocks of colour in our compositions. The second was how images are capable communicating messages not necessarily seen or appreciated at the time of capture. I’ve found that my photographs and I have interesting connections sometimes well after the fact, akin to me acting as a conduit at the time of image capture. I will be making a lot more time to reconnect with my older photographs so I can more fully appreciate these messages.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 9.2mm, ISO 400, 1/100, f/5.6

Some of my older images made me smile as they reminded me of how I have long been attracted to odd and unusual things. I wonder if there is any truth to the notion that we are what we photograph.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 @ 10mm, ISO 160, 1/1250, f/5.6

Technical Note:

All photographs in this article were captured hand-held in available light using Nikon 1 gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 11, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

Article Copyright 2018 Thomas Stirr. All images Copyright 2014 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, adaptation, or reproduction of any kind is allowed without written permission. Photography Life is the only approved user of this article. If you see it reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Readers who call out offending websites that steal intellectual property by posting messages on offending websites are always appreciated!

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