Dealing with failure

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Not ever picture is perfect. That is a basic truth that we mostly forget about when watching or seeing photographs of the „big shots“ in photography. We never get to see the throw-outs. I guess they have less images that they throw out, maybe – but they still do throw out.

But what does throwing-out mean? Especially in the digital age and the age of quasi-infinite storage?

For me, throwing out means actually throwing out. Still. I try to keep as little bad/mediocre stuff as possible. I actually erase it from the harddrive. Not keep it somewhere as a backup. The failures are erased. Why you ask? Wouldn’t it be useful to go back to the bad images and learn from them? Yes! Absolutely! It is vitally important to get back to your failures regularly and remember them at the right moment.

But my point of this blog post is, is that you do not need the image to do that. The memory of how you shot the bad image and what you messed up is there in your brain, whether the image sits on your hard drive or not.

So here goes my failure of the past week: an astrophotographic work of about 40 minutes standing in the cold at night and pointing the camera at the Andromeda galaxy. I took 30 frames of the galaxy, and 30 other frames to do the stacking in post. Post took up about 2 hours. Only after those 2 hours I saw the final image. I was disappointed because it was too noisy, which meant the stacking didn’t work the way it should have.

So, I did some research which took another hour, and learned what (probably) went wrong. Do I need the images to remember what I learned from google-ing? Nope. So, off they go. A couple of RAW-files less on my hard drive. Only this one image I kept and it lives only in my WordPress-Library:

Stack of 10s x 20 and 20s x 10 Lightframes; 20 Darkframes and 15 Biasframes