the photoshooter's journey from taking to making


Vigil Variety, 2010. 1/320 sec., f/8, ISO 200, 50mm.

Vigil Variety, 2010. 1/320 sec., f/8, ISO 200, 50mm.


AS YOU READ THIS, I AM AVAILING MYSELF OF ONE OF THE MOST SPLENDID BENEFITS KNOWN TO A PHOTOGRAPHER: THE DO-OVER. Ahhh. Feels good just saying it. Do-over; the artistic equivalent of doing penance, of setting things right. Returning to the locales of your earlier misbegotten attempts at a subject, with just the chance that you’ve learned a few new tricks since your last try.


Maybe it’s just that possibility  which thrills….that, and the hope of exorcising those little demons which jab you with pitchforks every time you look at shots from bygone outings. In my case, I’m trying to banish the Ghosts Of New Mexico Trips Past. It’s my third trip to the regions between Alberquerque and Abiquiu, which includes Santa Fe. It’s an odd mix of terrain, economic strata, art, superstition, spectacular vistas and harsh romance. Anything you want to shoot is there to be seen, some of it invisible and needing to be brought froth for the naked eye.

Sisters, 2010. 1/320 sec., f/8, ISO 200. 50mm.

Sisters, 2010. 1/320 sec., f/8, ISO 200. 50mm.

It’s not hard to see why painter Georgia O’Keeffe, banishing herself from the concrete canyons of Manhattan, decided to stage her own do-over in this mysterious land in 1929. O’Keefe had been a photographer’s wife, and painters and photogs are often twin kids of different mothers, so I emotionally understand what she saw in New Mexico, but far more than I have been able to intellectually convey.

So far.

It’s been nearly a decade from my first visit to my third, so I now have a little backlog of what will and won’t work, maybe even an inkling of what I’m trying to show going forward. I didn’t come back from the first two trips empty-handed, but I didn’t come back with the motherlode, either. Since the only real barriers to most photo do-overs are geographic, i.e., the means to return to the scene of the crime, I am really blessed at being able to get another at-bat at this incredible place.

Two strikes, three balls.

I plan to swing for the fences.

Follow Michael Perkins on Twitter @MPnormaleye.

2 responses

  1. It’s always valuable for all creatives to go back and redo and improve what hasn’t worked so well before. I think your approach is excellent – and hte result you show here likewise. I love those two kids.

    October 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    • Thanks so much. I hope that the images I attempted this weekend in New Mexico can show that I’ve built on my good luck from last time. One thing I am hoping for is a better rendering of the area’s amazing blue skies. I did not use any kind of polarizing filter last time, and over the last few days it may have really helped me, since the whole state was ablaze with fall color. We’ll see. I truly appreciate your feedback, and thanks for the encouragement. I often wonder where those sisters are today….

      October 29, 2013 at 8:07 PM

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