So I’ve started a new project, where I’m going to take a few images and have them professionally printed and tweaked by a master printer and compare them to my own printing attempts, both as a way to understand how they would process the image based on my objectives for it compared to how I do it, and to compare my printing results with theirs.

This is intended to get outside, expert eyes on my post processing and printing — and come out with some nice prints on the far side. But it’s really an exercise in critique with a physical product as a side result. I want to get insight from how they change what I submit to improve it, both in terms of the digital negative and printing specific changes.

I’ve done an initial selection of 15 images, and I’ll be tweaking and sending the first over soon. Assuming I like the results, I’ll be sending the others over the next few weeks as well. Before I do, I’ll do my own print and then compare that to what they create.

I’ll discuss this project further as it moves along, but one immediate insight I had in image selection: I wanted to treat this as a fine art project (for however we decide to define fine art), and I was rejecting a lot of my bird/wildlife work as not fine art on first examination.

I don’t think that’s incorrect — much of my bird work is more documentary than artistic, but I did find it an interesting insight I hadn’t considered. And it’s something I want to think about moving forward, whether I want to shift my intent in my birding work. There are many implications to that thought that may be worthy of discussion down the road…

Mallard, Radio Road Ponds, Redwood Shores, San Mateo County, California

I now have fifteen images, all 2015 or later, I am looking to use in this project. Five are classic landscapes, four are classic birds, three otter images (of course), and two the last last three are best thought of as bird-landscape hybrids, and the final one is best described as a weird semi-abstract I’m hopelessly amused by.

Some of them are obvious choices (to me) and some of them are going to be interesting discussions to see what pops out the far end.

But what I really find fascinating is that given my struggles creating landscape images that I don’t hate the last couple of years, when I do, I really love them, and they’re some of my favorites. And bluntly? I think they’re some of my best work.

And that’s its own discussion and insight, that I need to mull over and try to write about.