“ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” –Ansel Adams
The godfather of the zone system, Ansel Adams, knew what he was talking about. Great photos, significant photos, are few and far between.
This is still true in this day and age when every one has a digital camera and the feedback loop is so short anyone can take a good photo. A good photo is not a significant photo. In fact, during any given year you might only take a handful of truly memorable images. Sure your odds will go up if you take thousands of photos in a year. But for most of us who aren’t full time photographers, that probably isn’t going to happen.
If I was going to be truly honest with myself about my underwater photographs…their might be 20 significant images in 20 years of work. It was never easy shooting nearly blind underwater with a slow shutter speed, on film no less. Capturing a useable image, much less a significant image, was its own victory.
I have taken over 5500 Lego mini figure photos this year and I would be hard pressed to come up with eight images I would include in my portfolio. That ratio is slightly better than my underwater ratio of usable images to images shot, but still not that impressive. Luckily, when I look at those eight images they make me feel all “warm and fuzzy inside” (my sons phrase) and I know that it is all worth it.
So try not to get discouraged by the sheer number of images that need to be taken to get a significant image. Remember you are in good company: you, me and Ansel.