I've mentioned in previous posts how I'm very careful not to trash photos that seem to be "mistakes". I archive the "mistakes" along with the photos I like at first glance. Then very often, I will revisit one of those "mistake" photos (sometimes months later) and see it completely differently than I did the first time when I thought it belonged in the "mistake" category. That's what happened with the photo that eventually became the piece "Glowing Azalea" (above).
Here's how the shot looked "straight out of the camera" (also known as SOOC):
I passed it by as a "mistake" because it was too dark and the color of the azalea wasn't true to what my eye was seeing at the time I shot the photo. But over time, I've forgotten what the azalea really looked like and when I looked at the photo again I thought it looked promising because all my original prejudices had been forgotten.
So I processed the photo in Photoshop and increased the exposure to get this:
With just one setting adjustment the photo already looked presentable. Then I decided it was a great candidate to be altered into photo art.
In a CS3 Photoshop file , I had the azalea photograph as the first layer and then on top of that layer I added a new layer--a photo I took of a sidewalk:
I turned the sidewalk layer 90 degrees counterclockwise so it matched the azalea photograph in format. Then I re-sized the sidewalk layer so it completely covered the azalea photo.
With the sidewalk layer still selected, I went in the Layers menu and selected Screen. Then I reduced the opacity of the sidewalk layer to 30% opacity so it became more see-through. The texture of the sidewalk made the azalea photo look like a pastel drawing.
For final touches, I set my eraser at 10%. Using my digital tablet and digital pen, I gently erased small areas of the sidewalk layer to accent edges of petals and the stamens of the flower. And the final art photo "Glowing Azalea" was complete.
Moral of this story
I'm finding that lots of things in my life besides just the "mistake" photos are worthy of a "second look". Something I may have dismissed earlier in my life may have a different meaning, application, or relevance to my life now. Sometimes it requires a bit of tweaking and work, but the re-visiting process is often very worth the effort--both for photos and for the things of life.