Proxy falls

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    I missed Iron Man for this. No seriously I did. Kind of an odd thing to say, at least to start off this post, but is true. Anyway, I was supposed to see Iron Man Sunday with my boss and friend, Jake from Blue Moon Camera. I was actually looking forward to it too. I have not been to the movies in a very long time. Just has not been much of quality I have cared to pay the money for. Especially since I can wait a few months and get them for free from the library and watch them at home. ;-) But I had decided to give Iron Man a try, it looked decent at least.

    Instead I ended up on a five mile round trip hike through the snow (without snowshoes either) with Manyfires to reach this secluded, but amazing waterfall. It really is an amazing spot too. This photo captures a bit of its beauty but does nothing for imparting its size or grandeur.

    Anyway, I took a number of photos of this. Some were digital infrared, a few of which turned out quite interesting and I plan on posting at least one of them in the short term. I also put together a multiple shot Holga panoramic that I have not scanned and assembled just yet. But I liked this shot best at the moment in terms of posting.

    Which leads me into what I have promised to write about in terms of editing. Editing is an often over-looked skill when it comes to photography. I would even go as far as to say it is the most important often-overlooked skill. I heard a good quote once that sort of sums up how important editing can be, "A big difference between a professional and an amateur is that you only see the professional's best work". Think about that for a moment. No photography is perfect and snaps contest winners with every shot. We all get bum ones. Some of us more than others. But even if you are at the ratio of one good shot for every 1000 bad ones, if you edit properly you can make your portfolio look as nice, if not better than someone who has even a much higher degree of success but does a poorer job editing.

    But see, editing is subjective business. That is what makes it so tricky. We are all tied into our photos on a personal nature, often easily able to over look their flaws or come roaring to their defense when the quality of one of our photos is brought into question. But I get ahead of myself.

    The first suggestion I would make for those wishing to get better at this is to have a clear goal. You need to have a goal. You will edit a different selection of images for different purposes. If you are applying for publishing in a landscape magazine, you will send along a different portfolio than you will for contemporary fine art magazine. You will also pull together a different selection of images than you might say post to Flickr. It all comes down to who you wish to speak to and what you want those photos to say. Be clear on this and concise.

    My second suggestion is to try and set aside your personal attachments to whatever degree you can. Hard to do, easy to say. Actually, impossible to do completely. Get help. Have friends and family help you cull your images down. I guarantee you will lose images you don't want to, but find ones you had not noticed.

    Be concise. This is a case where less is more. At the moment I am sort of sticking with the idea of a porfolio, which generally is well rounded at about a dozen images. A dozen strong images will always speak much better than 40 images, even if they are all strong. It is just too much. It overloads the viewer.

    To hop away from the idea of a portfolio and over to Flickr, the same holds true. I have a fairly clear goal for my Flickr stream. Loosely it is maintain variety, to show new perspectives that might help inspire others in their photography. To not just show the "pretty" images but ones that I find stimulating intellectually. Most of the time, this happens to be my successes, sometimes though they are not, not if the image in its failure (in my opinion at least) has something valuable to offer. I see Flickr as an amazing learning tool, and that is how I post to it. I have said before that I have no interest in impressing others on here, I would much rather inspire them. And that is my modus operandi when it comes to selecting what I post. That gives you all a bit of a personal look into how my logic operates in terms of what I select.

    But I also try to limit my posts. Usually no more than one a day, often one only every couple of days. This is partly because of my lack of time to post a lot. It also affects how much I am able to browse and comment as well. But I also limit my posts because I want to give every image a chance to be enjoyed, for what it has to offer to be absorbed by those viewing it. If I posted twenty images a day, I would dilute that. I am not saying that posting so many images is always wrong though. I know some very prolific photographers whose goal is to post a million images, literally. Their goals for their Flickr stream then are quite different from mine but equally valid. In the same vein though I know some photographers who just post and post and post. They post whatever they have with little apparent thought to editing down and cutting out similar shots. I tend to miss most of their stuff because I don't want to sift through 38 images looking for the best one. I don't have that much time.

    I want to say though too, that this is not required. In the case of Flickr, it is your own personal stream. If you want to not edit images at all, just throw them all up there for everyone to see, there is really nothing wrong with that. That is the beauty of this particular site. You can model your stream however you please.

    But I do know some photographers who wish to get better at this, and I know some who don't realize they should. Like I said, the ability to pare one's collection of images down, to condense it to the most meaningful and moving images, to give those images as much concentrated power as possible without diluting them, is really a tricky ability to master... I mean to get good at. I really dislike the word "master". Nobody masters anything, they just falsely believe they do. But that is another rant.

    Anyway, I think the ability to do so, to cull and select and edit, is nearly as important as the ability to take a good photo in the first place. Is nearly as important as the ability to effectively and properly post-process. Because how your images are seen, has a bearing on what in your images IS seen. You ken?

    Well, not sure how much of help this will be. It is a tough topic to adequately describe, but I have laid out my thoughts, as well as I have them formed. And I don't proclaim to be a master at this either (see the above paragraph on the use of that word). I have practiced at this a while and I have seen other photographers who have been both good and poor at it, and learned through their experience. But it is something that has to have attention paid to it. That has to be consciously taken into consideration. It never hurts to try and ask yourself what purpose a particular photo is going to serve, if it would be better served by being left out or replaced?

    Hmm I have to wrap this up now and head off to work. I will think on this a bit more and perhaps add to it later. If anyone else out there has tips or advice, wants to fill in areas I left out, feel free to do so. Share and share alike. :-)

    Will Cook Photography (WCreations46), and 178 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. lejki 103 months ago | reply

      Ja, and if you had seen Iron Man, you would not have taken this shot!
      Thankyou for sharing your views as well as your photos.

    2. scott jones photo 103 months ago | reply

      Nice post Zeb. From a gallery curator's perspective I would second your thoughts on editing. I am often presented with work, especially on web sites, from photographers who have not edited down their work into a recognizable body of work and then they ask for a show. This is so hard, because I have no idea what their intention is or they simply overwhelm me with sheer volume of images. I think editing has to be a bit painful as we let go of images that we are attached to for reasons that will never be evident to a viewer. Tough stuff.

      And very necessary too.......

    3. sara y tzunky 103 months ago | reply

      really strange
      but wonderfull

    4. realkuhl 103 months ago | reply

      Beatutiful shot, Zeb. I love very much the variety of lightplay in the single shot. Really emotive.

      Totally agree about self-editing WHAT you share. I take maybe 400 photos in a single outing and if I have 5 to share, I'm blissful.


    5. rlphotography 102 months ago | reply

      Simply fantastic! I'll leave it at that, well captured & composed.

    6. flickrgao 101 months ago | reply

      Very well done. I love this image.

    7. Mooswa 98 months ago | reply

      Well said and the photo speaks for itself

    8. ScottLarsen 97 months ago | reply

      Gorgeous photo and loved your thoughts as well. I definitely try to edit, posting less than 5% of my captures but I also like to provide some extra images/ views to completely document a site. The interesting thing about a site like flickr is that you can essentially outsource your editing. People will flock to your better images, fav'ing them and leaving comments, boosting their "interestingness." I'm hooked on flickriver and immediately go to it when I want to see the best of someone's work. I certainly wouldn't leave the final word to flickr on what work to put in a show but it can help give you an outside perspective. Again, incredible image.

    9. Ralph Oechsle 97 months ago | reply

      very great waterplay !

    10. yellowrubberduck 96 months ago | reply

      absolutely beautiful.

    11. Francesco Gallarotti 96 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Green Tea Gallery, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    12. kasugga 92 months ago | reply

      Just 'enrolled' on Flickr today. Decided to look around and found this stunning photo. Now I'm thinking that I am not in the same league so do I want to continue. I only take pics with my phone. :-(

      However, I think those stones remind me of Giant's Causeway off the east coast of Northern Ireland? Yes/No??

      The picture is still stunning.

    13. goodnight_moonlight2 91 months ago | reply


      My name is Kasey van Dyke, I'm contacting you on behalf of National Scenic Byways Online. I'd love to add the photo to our website, The picture would appear on the Proxy Falls page of the website. We can apply copyrights and credits. Check out the website and see what you think! The picture would need to be emailed to me as a jpg file of at least 500 pixels or more. If you are at all interested, please email me at

      Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon,

      Kasey van Dyke
      Information Specialist/Researcher
      National Scenic Byways Online

    14. pnwcamera 90 months ago | reply

      This is magical. The contrast between the white-sheathed, ghostly falls and the green rocks makes the latter look exceptionally solid and 3-dimensional.

    15. Lance <O> 86 months ago | reply

      Superb capture. Know what you mean about paring down the selection, I really need to sort mine out! Great picture, v. amusing rant!

    16. 66 months ago | reply

      Welcome to the ONE PHOTO pool!
      25fth week contest--4th year.


    17. KerKaya 42 months ago | reply

      Merci / Thanks for sharing your wonderful picture with H2O wonders

    18. patking84 30 months ago | reply

      Wow, I love this one. Feels very fresh.

    19. SaSpMedia [deleted] 14 months ago | reply

      Awesome picture! Wow! :)

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