unMonday: marinating photos & getting back to nature

Happy unMonday!  As I mentioned in last unMonday’s post, I wanted to let some of last weekend’s photos “marinate” for a week before sharing them.  This approach, as practiced and preached by a number of well-known photographers, allows for a more thoughtful and objective editing process by using the passage of time to emotionally distance oneself from recently captured photos. While good photography should evoke an emotional response, a photographer’s emotional attachment to a photo (or their personal story behind a photo) should not be the determining factor in its selection for display, as this attachment often leads to displaying bad photos to which only the photographer can relate.

Some photographers wait about a week before displaying photos, while one street photographer that I know waits for six months or more.  And some photographers won’t even glance at their photos until after they’ve been sufficiently “marinated”. While I’ve never been the kind of person to sneak a peak at presents before Christmas morning, I cannot resist peaking at photos during and after a shoot…and I think I’m OK with that.  However, I have noticed that I have a tendency to become emotionally attached to some pretty uninteresting photographs, so the “marination” method seems like a worthwhile practice for me.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), much to the chagrin of many friends and family, I’m already unintentionally practicing the “marination” method on thousands of photos, waiting weeks, months, and even years before posting them. So adopting this new method shouldn’t be too much of a strain on my existing photo workflow.

The photos below were taken on May 5, while hiking Washington’s Mount Si (pronounced like “sigh”).  I was limited to one lens (Canon 24-105mm f/4.0L USM IS), which worked well as an all-around nature photography lens, but wasn’t nearly long enough to be used for wildlife photography.  The mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest offer a wide variety of subjects and challenges for a photographer.  The biggest challenge: As I moved up the mountain, the lighting conditions were constantly changing as I encountered morning sunlight, dense forest, shifting fog, patches of fresh snow, and bright clearings, all within a few steps of each other.  Pressing buttons and spinning dials every 30 seconds to change ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to match these varying conditions got pretty old after the first few hours of hiking.  But making these changes over and over again helped build my understanding of exposure and lighting.

Hope you enjoy the photos below, and feel free to click on a photo to view more shots from this hike on my Flickr stream!

Do you let your photos “marinate” before posting them? 

Are there any hikes that you would like to see photographed?

Zombie tree?

For the record: I don’t know these people. Who says you can’t practice street photography when you’re miles away from the nearest street? I guess you could call this “trail photography”.



  1. Umm… I believe there are quite a few people I know down here in the South that would like to see some hikes around the “Twilight” area of Washington! :-p Have any trips to the peninsula planned?

    • kyle

      Actually, yes…we’re going backpacking out there over Memorial Day Weekend! We won’t exactly be in Forks, but we will be in the Olympic National Forest.

  2. There’s a vampire in the third photo.

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