What is the photo? How to pick an image

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Have you ever become so enamored with something, that you take 500 pictures of it, get home, and then wonder which one, if any, is THE photo?  This happens to me all the time.  I make it more challenging for myself by always trying to find a different composition with each shot.  Then I have 500 photos that are slightly different, and comparing them against each other seems impossible.  Below I will show you my process for picking an image. 

Warning:  you will see a lot of bad images.  I did do light processing so your senses wouldn’t be completely assaulted.  I have many reasons (ahem excuses) for so many bad photos- the main one is I was not on a tripod.  The other one is I had other people crowding me, because this was the only cactus with a bloom, and they all wanted a photo too.

Peter and I were photographing the gardens at Sunnylands, in Palm Springs.  He found me and said there was one cactus with blooms and I should go see it.  I scooted over to find 5 other people already there.  I wedged my way in, and started to try to figure out an interesting way to capture the bloom.

I started with the obvious – the flower

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but I didn’t like that dead yellow bud on the bottom left, so I re-framed

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then the patterns of the unopened blooms caught my eye

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and now it was starting to get busy, and my subject wasn’t clear, so I started to edit what appeared in the frame

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The unopened blooms still called to me.  Should I skip the opened bloom altogether?

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Or maybe it was better to photograph them from the side so the pattern was more interesting

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Nope – I think I like the juxtaposition of the open bloom with the unopened bloom is my favorite (but I will keep a few others and play with them a bit).

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