I was once asked to choose my favorite photo for submission to an art show. My initial answer was that the question was like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I actually don't have a favorite photo. Instead I have photos that invoke moods or memories that feel best at that moment. And I have photos I know would wow a specific audience (there's the marketing professional in me!).
But this photo may actually be my favorite - at least to date - and there are many reasons why. It was challenging to capture, the colors make my heart sing, the execution is exactly what I wanted, and it does wow people when they see it.
I figure the story behind it might be an interesting entry on my photography blog. While an experienced photographer won't find use, the beginner or casual photographer might wonder how I captured this. This isn't a water droplet tutorial, but if you're interested in that let me know. I can always put something together.
First, on capturing it... Unlike most of my nature images, this one was very planned. I took it on my deck, using wildflowers in a planter. But it was actually more involved than most other shots. The lighting was exactly what I wanted, so I pulled out the tripod, a chair and a water bottle. I lined up my shot, did my initial focus and started spraying. Many, many shots later I had a rhythm. Five sprays and then a relatively quick burst of photos. I was looking for a few perfect shots - a droplet forming, a droplet about to fall, and a droplet just released.
Hundreds of shots later, I started culling and editing. My "system" (workflow is the actual term) when I have this many pics of similar images is that I upload all my files to the computer. First I go through a quick technical review of every image. Is my main subject in focus? Did I capture the colors I want? Is the contrast acceptable? I delete every pic that fails that initial test. Next I go through what I call an "am I interested in this shot" review. I do a quick assessment - does this shot interest me enough to spend even a few minutes cropping and doing minor edits? If not... delete! Then I go through and crop and do minor edits on all remaining images, deleting those that have disappointed me during that part of the process. Of the 500+ pics I took during this session, 18 made the final cut. It took many, many hours to get to the final shots. Here are few of the others.
But the one I featured at the beginning of the post is my favorite. It's a non-standard sized crop, so it's not easy to post or use. But it just makes me happy to look at it. The yellow flower. The perfect droplet about to fall. The reflection of the other flower. The work and planning I put into it.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my "secret sauce" process. Let me know if you have any questions. And tell me if you like any of these others better. One or more of them may just make it into a future notecard set.