Calling someone as imperfect as me a perfectionist boggles the mind. I’m often haphazard and prone to procrastination. I’m messy and ramshackle. I’m unorganized and absent minded. None of that sounds like the profile of someone who fights to make every detail correct.
Despite what the litany of attributes above says about me I have to admit that I can turn into a hyper-focused perfectionist at times. I see it more as a curse since it makes itself known with silly things and never what might be helpful in the pursuit of bettering my life or work. When the demon does pop out it seems a bit self-defeating and senseless as when I make sure my ink bottles are sorted by maker.
A recent example of this tendency occurred last weekend during a sunny sojourn with nature. While bicycling along I took a quick glance to my side and was presented with a scene I thought would make a great picture. Yes, I always sling my camera bag over my shoulder when I mount my trusty two wheeled contraption on the off chance I see something I want to capture for posterity. That leads to some of the slowest bike rides ever as I often stop to click my shutter button over and over. Sometimes I jump out of jogger’s and biker’s ways as they almost run me over during my fixation on something through the lens.
In this instance I saw a fallen red leaf being illuminated by the sun and surrounded by darker ex-foliage. It seemed very right as a shot to me in both color and composition and so a few seconds of squealing brakes later and I was on my knees leaning in to focus. It was a rather windy day and the leaf that was the center of my universe for that fleeting moment flew off before I could get a third picture of it. My perfectionism in this case makes me wish to be sure I’ve got a good image so I press that dang shutter release a few times in case focus or lighting is off at first. I was dismayed to think that my need for excessive exposures would not be accomplished so I ran after that dang leaf so I could bend it to my will. What followed was me putting the leaf into many similar settings and positions for ginormous run of subsequent photo-ops.
Now you may feel taking 30 pictures of one sad beat-up leaf is a bit excessive. Um…what would you say about 40 or 50 then? Actually, I’ve not counted and I will not in order to maintain my self-respect. When I did get home with my days’ worth of photographic meanderings I dutifully went through the cavalcade of red leaves I now had. OK, you know there will be a punch line to this story and I don’t want to disappoint so here it is: the one I liked best was the very first frame. Typical.
So, was I right in my choice? I’ll let you decide. Below is the image I liked best and several of the “posed” surplus shots taken later. They are not in order so examine them all and find which one you feel is nicest. I’d be interested in seeing your choice if you would be so kind as to indicate it in the comments. A few days from now I’ll let you know which one I chose. Yes, they are all rather similar so you might just think any would do…but I didn’t. I’m Mr. Picky.