One way that digital photography differs from film photography is that you never are truly finished with an image.
Technologies may change and improve—and frequently do. For example, Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is often improved in its ability to process RAW files each time there is a new release of Photoshop. Should I go back and reprocess images using the new, improved engine? Maybe.
Another example is our new printer, which can create prints with a far wider color gamut that was possible in the past—but only if the workflow one used to process the image files fortuitously anticipated this increase in gamut through a perspicacious choice of color space.
More widespread than these technologically-based reasons for going back to the digital darkroom is the client who indicates that they mostly like an image—but will buy it, use it, pay for many more like it only if I work some more on the image file. This scenario has kept me pretty busy on a number of different fronts lately.
I’m not always happy about going back to work some more on something I thought was finished, but it is usually a process that provides some artistic insight and inspiration—and hopefully pleases a paying client, and gets my work into print. It’s also wonderful to contemplate how one digital image can be multi-purposed in so may different ways with a few quick tricks with layers, blending modes, masks, and the Paintbrush tool in Photoshop.
Case in point: when I originally processed Road Less Travelled I assumed it would be converted to black and white, so I intentionally over saturated the colors. This was helpful, because it provided me with more information in making my monochromatic conversion.
I do like the way the black and white version, called the Choosing the Path, came out (check out the image midway down the story Where Does Inspiration Come From?)
But I also understand the art director’s thinking when he asked to see a more ethereal and foggy version of the color Road Less Travelled. The variation of Road Less Travelled that I prepared in response to this request is shown above.