Somewhat sheepishly I must admit is screwed up. Or more charitably perhaps, I am learning from my mistakes.

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) in autumn by lattice entry gate Marin Art & Garden Center

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) in autumn at Marin Art & Garden Center

I just came across some photographs I took in the fall of 2007 and can’t believe how dull they look. Back then, I was just beginning to understand how the postproduction process worked with my new digital camera. I knew to shoot in the RAW format and to make all the adjustments myself for color, sharpness, contrast, etc. and not to have the camera make any sort of automatic corrections in the JPEG format.  But I did not know how to take full advantage of the post production tools.

On a gorgeous November day at the Marin Art and Garden Center, with the Japanese maples extraordinarily beautiful in full autumn color, I took a series of pictures I would sure I would keep my stock library for many years. Well, they have been in my library for these many years, and I haven’t looked at them much in all that time.  Today threw them all away and started over.

The original corrections are simply ordinary and certainly don’t look professional or as enticing as I remember.

Before and After Slider – raw and first corrections 2007


I recall when I was first learning to do postproduction I did not want to overdo anything, assuming editors and graphic designers would want to make corrections themselves.  This was quite true in the era of submitting film to publishers, when slides would come in uncorrected and all over the map with color corrections. However, now in the digital era, photographers are expected to submit photos exactly as they want them to be – because we can.

Before photographers had the postproduction tools, when everything was shot with transparencies, I did use a number of color correcting filters and bracketed all of my exposures, but there was never any ability to do corrections.  All too often I depended on the graphic designers to do final corrections –  because photographers could not.

Photographs should be submitted now the way we want them to look, not perhaps, as they actually did look.  I can’t remember now how these trees actually did look, but I sure remember them in my mind’s eye being more vivid than the photos that I found in my files.

To now I can just redo them.

Before and After Slider 2007 corrections and 2015


So, I added a bit more contrast, a bit more vibrancy, a bit more black, and tweaked the luminosity of the oranges and reds. I punched up the fall color to how I remembered it, and how I want you to see it.


New gallery of photos – Marin Art & Garden Center