Photographic Serendipity -- the 7 % Solution

Found this nice photo image unexpectedly.  Story below.

Hadlock Falls

Hadlock Falls


Taking photos is often a very studied process for me.

I mean there’s finding the right subject — I’ve always loved waterfalls — and choosing the right perspective, the direction and type of lighting, and not to mention a zillion possible combinations of settings on my camera.  But mostly I think composition is the key factor in a successful, pleasing image.  Where you balance the elements of a scene, consider the colors, textures, lines, shapes and, with waterfalls, the implied movement. 

A few years back, shooting in my favorite place on earth (Acadia National Park), I spent an afternoon capturing many images of Hadlock Falls, a good sized waterfall in the park beside one of Rockefeller’s carriage trails.  I was very pleased with the shoot and one of those photos wound up being selected for a juried exhibit at the Hammond Museum in North Salem, NY.  Here's the photo.

Hadlock Falls Original

Hadlock Falls Original


But here’s the kicker.  Today I was trying to do some organizing of my collection of some 30 thousand! photographs, trying to create some sense and order through cataloging and key wording.  And, as usually happens when I attempt such tedious work, I was easily distracted — the original Hadlock Falls photo caught my eye and I tried to tighten it up a bit with some minimal cropping.  I won’t bore you with the details but the editing program I use sometimes has a mind of its own as you push and pull with the mouse, at the same time grabbing and locking in on a “handle” at the border of the photo.  Some digital clumsiness on my part caused me to lock onto a tiny portion in the middle of the photo and mistakenly hit return.  Surprised but fascinated, I moved the tiny selected window around until it revealed the image above, and I finalized the crop.   Because the trimmed image accounted for only about seven per cent of the area of the original, the visual result was very pixelated (grainy, losing a great deal of detail through over enlargement) and it magnified the lack of sharpness caused by a little camera shake and very slow shutter speed (1/8th of a second).  The “incorrectly" cropped image had a nice painterly quality of color and brush texture that I really liked.

So who is responsible for this pleasing impressionistic rendering?  The camera, the enlarged pixels, the cropping software?  Me?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and maybe you might want to see if you can locate this tiny selection from within the original image?

Or take a moment to check to check out some other what I call "Image-inations" here: 


One final observation: there’s something a little weird about this Seven Percent Solution image.  Do you see a mysterious figure in the top right section of the image?  Do you think it might be Professor Moriarty, that “Napoleon of Crime," peering out from behind his watery cloak while menacingly outstretching his right hand?

Might have to call Sherlock in on the case.