Silver Falls (and including People in your Photos)

a hiker looks at silver falls on the ohanapecosh river at mount rainier national park in washington state usa

Hiker at Silver Falls

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   Both of these photos were made at Silver Falls on the Ohanapecosh River in Mount Rainier National Park this past August.

   Over the years I have often avoided having people in any of my photos. After all – I am usually there to photograph nature, not a bunch of people! Often in busy locations there was some waiting while the other visitors walked out of my composition. Now, however, I tend to include those people in a photograph for a few reasons (and then photograph it again when they’ve left). First, I may potentially like the composition more with the people than without later when I edit my photos. Secondly, certain locations don’t show the scale of the scene very well, and including people can give the view a better sense of overall size.

silver falls on the ohanapecosh river at mount rainier national park in washington state usa

Silver Falls

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   I had viewed other photographer’s photos of Silver Falls before my late Summer trip to Mount Rainier, but really didn’t understand how large the falls actually was. The vertical photo at the top of this post is not only more interesting because of the hiker standing there looking at the Falls, his presence helps show you how large the rocks and surrounding area really are. I am not sure that could be accomplished without him in the composition. The second photo here I like a lot – but I do think the scale could be shown a bit better had that hiker still been there!

    In my previous post I showed a few images of people enjoying the wildflowers at Tipsoo Lake (also in Mount Rainier National Park) – and I think the people there help the photos a lot as well, though for different reasons than above.

Why I Save "Borderline" Images

late evening light on firs and cedars at ricksecker point
Late Evening Light at Mount Rainier National Park
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Save your photos! Well, some of them.

  Sometimes I read how others delete all the shots they aren’t immediately happy with, not just those that were out of focus etc. As I have written before I do go through and quickly delete photos that are obviously not up to par (focus accidents, test shots etc) – but then I tend to sit back and digest them for a while. Immediately after I shoot the impressions I have of the results may not be very objective. I wait for a while to process most images so I can more clearly see what is going on, and to distance myself from my initial expectations. Even after some distance and thought I do not always get things “right” in my choices, and sometimes images fall through the cracks.

  The image here is one such example. This is a late evening shot I made in Mount Rainier National Park in October, 2010. Ricksecker Point is a good vantage point for Rainier itself, but unless you get some really special light things will look just like all the other “iconic” shots from the same spot. I had gone there hoping to get some good sunset shots near the Tatoosh Range but this just wasn’t going to happen with that day’s conditions so I started looking for alternative compositions. I noticed the glow of the late evening light on these fir and cedar trees and made a few photographs of what I saw. When I first looked at these at home though, they did not really seem to stand out.

  A few weeks ago I was going through some of my folders of photographs from 2010. I like to review things occasionally and look over shots I have passed by in favour of images that, at the time at least, appear stronger. I noticed this shot and was somewhat surprised I had never really noticed it before. It had not been a throwaway but was not selected for bigger things at the time either.

I am curious what other photographers do with the shots they initially think are “borderline”? Do you purge everything but the strongest images right away or do you sit on a lot of shots so you can evaluate them later?