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The journey toward higher artistic accomplishment and ever improving levels of craftsmanship, requires that we migrate from a reliance on external feedback, toward a disciplined habit of self-critique. This is part 1, of a 6-part summary of how I personally approach this.


To begin with some key definitions, my main area of interest is “Fine art nature photography” and specifically the *digital* variety. Digital photography enables me to pursue the “making” of images, beyond the “taking” of photographs.

I consider digital photo art, like all art, to be a medium of communication; a special “language,” best suited for the sharing of emotional realities. Factual, precise descriptions of objects or accurate and detailed documentations of events are not as much of a concern to the photo-artist as they might be to a photo-journalist.

Art is about communicating mood, emotion, feeling, atmosphere. So, to know when I have adequately developed an image I must first travel back, in my heart and mind, to the very moment of inception, and to recollect the emotional content of the original scene. I must re-experience that mood, that feeling, that emotion which wowed and inspired me to try and create the image in the first place, and so decide if I am ‘there’ yet with my processing.

Over many years of image processing I have learned that five elements have the greatest impact on how effective a digital image will be, in communicating its mood & emotional content. I refer to these elements by their initials, L-C-C-C-D, (Light, Composition, Contrast, Color and Detail) and use them as a working checklist throughout my image-making steps, from original field capture to post processing.

In the parts that follow we will consider these elements one at a time…

Next: the big “L”