So, two things have happened over the last week that have re-energized my belief in my ability as a photographer. The first was the above image taking 2nd place in the Anza-Borrego Foundation's annual photo contest. Yea! Enough cheering, calm down now. It was nice to have that little artistic corner of me validated.
The second, and possibly more gratifying, was having 7 images printed at a local print shop. Always before I'd just use Zenfolio's connection to MPix to have prints made. My main problem with MPix is their limited selection of papers (for B&W it's just 1). Ever since I've gotten serious about printing and image making I knew I wanted to sit down with a knowledgeable print maker and discuss the best papers for any particular image. Well, I'm still not there but I've made big step forward. Alex, my friend and shooting companion, introduced me to the print shop in Mira Mesa where he had his 1st place image printed. I took 7 files to them (6 B&W and 1 Color) and had them printed on textured paper. I was, and still am, totally blown away but the look, feel, richness, and tonality of the images. Last night I laid them out and just stared. I've never seen my work look so lush with rich blacks and fine details. I wanted to print every image I've ever taken as I'm positive even the abandoned and discarded pictures would take on new life if printed as these 7 were. There really is nothing like a good print.