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Ten years ago was February 2008.  I hadn’t joined our photography Meetup group yet, but I considered myself a decent photographer at the time.

How naive…

I was still editing predominantly in Photoshop, creating extra files with every edit.  And I insisted on naming every picture.. and every variant of every picture.  Seriously, now it’s an organizational nightmare.  Why, past me?

This was the best I had to offer from then:

ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/2000s

I was quite proud of this photo, because I managed to capture the gull in decent detail.  However, with my additional ten years of wisdom, I can assess it a bit more objectively.


Things done right:

  • I shot with a low ISO; there was plenty of available light.
  • I used a very high shutter speed to capture the action.
  • I used a long lens (75-300mm) so minimal cropping was necessary.

Things done wrong:

  • I shot in jpeg; the quality would have been much better in RAW.
  • I did not use a polarizer; the colors would have been richer and the water more defined otherwise.
  • The gull was backlit.  This might have been a difficult thing to avoid, but I also failed to compensate in post.
  • With the harsh, contrasting light, there is some very minor chromatic aberration I didn’t fix.

Take 2

Here’s the original photo, SotC:


And this is how I would edit it today:



I brought up the saturation a bit and darkened the blue of the ocean.  But the biggest difference is in brightening the shadows on the bird so he’s much more visible.  Finally, I cropped it a little differently and added a slight vignette.


As a bonus, here’s another from that day:

Today’s edit
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