Fail! Inorder to Succeed

note: link to full image download is at the bottom of the post!

Remember when you were a young kid just learning to ride a bicycle? First you had had training wheels, then your parents where beside you balancing you and only then you rode on your own. But let me ask you this: How many times did you fail at riding a bike, until you actually succeeded?

My guess is more times than anyone is willing to count. Or how about how many times it took good ol Thomas Edison to get the light bulb right? 10,000 or so times was it? And as he proclaimed some time after this perfect: “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work”. Without his determination and focus on the matter, we wouldn't have the light bulb or anything luxurious which his inventions eventually allowed us to bring into your lives.

This topic has been written about more times than I can count. It was written in Think and Grow Rich, The Secret, and just about any self-help book you'll ever come across. Heck, even Rich Dad, Poor Dad banged it into our heads!

No matter what you do in life whether it's a setting up mutli-million dollar joint ventures, riding a bike or even a relationship you will probably fail at something at some point. Get over it. The best life lessons are learned, and remembered, from the School Of Hard Knocks.

Life's well taught lessons are also always learned best first hand, but it never hurts to get a first motivation push to start something than with a story. This is my personal story of the panoramic image above, and all the grief, time and trouble it gave me and the feelings of success once I had it finished!

Over the summer I visited the wonderful island of Bali. Being a photography nut I took pictures of every nick, nook, cranny, dust ball, rock, tree, statue, person and view that I found interesting. Suffice it to say, by the end of the trip I had to get a brand new spare external hard drive just to fit all the raw files! Yikes! Though one view was always stunning to me and each and every morning I was in awe of it.

My penthouse room overlooked a calm and serene rice field. The rice stalks swayed and danced with every breath of air. Each second I gazed upon it gave me a sense of peace, serenity and zen. I truly have never been calmer in my life while looking at the rice field. Any movie you watch, any picture  you see or description you read will never do such a view justice.

Well, being a photographer I had no choice but to capture it's majesty as best I could. So every time I had some ‘free' time on my vacation there, I would head on over to the gazebo, sit and gaze upon the rice field pondering it's beauty. Only then attempting to photography it. Took me several weeks trying and hundreds of photographs to set it up right.

In the end, frustrated that I wasn't able to capture the serene essence of the view I took what I considered to be my best set and worked with that. Though, this being Bali it's hard to find a place with no people or any ‘busyness' going on. The rice field always had some rice workers roaming through it or cows/bulls munching on the grass/rice/weeds/whatever. So I knew that even this was my best set (or so it seems so on the camera) it would still require a little bit of touching up.

So I load up the images onto my computer and what do I discover? Each and every image is out of focus! After all that time and things still weren't right! At this point I was about to give up because I've tried so many times to get the angle right, focusing, light conditions, people … ect … I really wanted to throw in the towel. But no.

I messed up so much that I now knew exactly where to position my camera for the best view, when in the day to take the shot so there are the least amount of people, who to get the stalks just right in the wind and everything. So I took my trusty camera, headed out to the ledge, in slight anger made 100% sure that the lens was on auto, and everything was getting focuses. A minute later I was back in the room with about 10 panoramic shots ready to be hopefully stitched together.

After downloading the 10 images, I noticed 8 out of 10 there perfectly in focus and for some reason 2/10 were slightly out of focus. But oh well I thought. That's why sharpening correcting tools are for!

Thus I spent the next week of free time editing 10 raw images to what seemed like perfection for stitching. And mind you, each and every time I'm thinking this isn't worth it at all! If you saw the original images you'd think the same thing!

Well, after stitching them together I noticed nothing that I really didn't notice before: the full stitched image was butt ugly! Why?

1) Too busy

2) Bad coloring (overall)

3) Parts of the view which seemed like a good idea at the time looked just horrid in the picture

4) The difference in sharpness really stood out

But guess what? I didn't give up! I worked hard on it and getting this image right I wasn't about to give up! What did I do? I went make to the raw files, sharpened up the bad images just a bit and gave each image the same color profile.

Then i re-stitched everything. Cropped out the ugly parts and then there was the case of it being a very busy image. I wanted a ‘zen' type image. So after an hour or two of work I ‘fixed' it ­čÖé

I removed all the ugly parts and made it very un-busy and serene.

Well ladies and gentleman. After all my hard work I had an image I would be very proud to put up on the wall and sell as a professional photograph. Behold, my lovely creation: Peace At The Rice Fields (click the link to view the full image).