A few months back I started riding a bicycle to the train station and back each day. One part of the route I can’t avoid on the route is the steep descent into the valley. Physically it’s downhill so no effort but mentally quite demanding. I rise early and it’s dark and all I have is a tiny light to show me what’s ahead. There have been a few near misses with Foxes, Possums, spider webs and fallen branches. You have to concentrate and draw from limited information to make progress. Downhill is challenging but achievable.
The way home is uphill and for the first few weeks I had to dismount and walk. I was convinced this would be normal, after all, I’m no athlete and I’m getting older.
But then I tried.
The next day I tried again, got further but failed.
The day after I tried again and got halfway before I could go no further.
Fast forward two weeks…
One rainy afternoon I made it, exhausted to the top of the hill. I had no energy to appreciate the achievement. I needed to keep going to get out of the rain.
To paraphrase Ian Fleming “Once is odd, twice is a coincidence and three times is a pattern” The climb up that hill has become a pattern most days of the week. so has the descent.
I suppose I’m talking about progress and revisiting the past.
The image for this post was made to look like something I did in the early 1980’s with push processed Kodak tri-x pan. Getting this right involved weeks of work to learn and perfect the exposure and processing details and there were plenty of failures. The result was moody and grainy.
I recall what it would have taken for me to get this effect in Photoshop 2 back in the 90’s. It had a lot fewer bells and whistles than it does now. No actions, history or layers. I probably would have resorted to doing a composite for the sky. Perhaps half a day or more would be required.
In fact this image was made with an iPhone last week and from there put through an app called Intensify and selected a preset. All up an investment of just 10 minutes.
We have it so good right now. We can make so many more creative choices and follow different paths using the same image without the massive time investment. While I’m obviously grateful for that, I also appreciate what the past has given me, namely patience, the skill to pre-visualise images and do a lot more in camera before pressing the shutter, rather than relying on post processing. This was borne out of the effort required to make good images when I started out over 30 years ago. I learnt through failures and I wonder if this is still possible for new photographers since digital has reduced the cost of failing to practically nothing?