Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right ~ Oprah Winfrey
Last year I wrote a blog entitled ‘Turning the Page-Thoughts for a New Year’.
It was one of my most-read blogs and it is good to re-read that blog at the turn of another year to see whether I have achieved any of the goals I set for myself in terms of photography. At the time I stated my intention to update my blog regularly and, despite the fact that I am often disappointed at the lack of readers, I still try to post at least every two-three weeks. The discipline of doing this is good for me as it forces me to keep learning and reflecting on what I have learned. I have also responded to others who are getting started in this field and shared any tips which I found useful. I have found most interactions with others in the blogging community to be helpful and supportive.
Writing my blog has indeed given me the impetus to find new inspiration and to keep developing as a photographer. It has ensured against becoming stale or giving in to times when I have lacked motivation. I am still in the process of identifying my own particular style and preferences, but I am not in any hurry to do so as I am enjoying the journey of discovery. I have found photography teachers, both online and in photography workshops, whose style of teaching I admire and from whom I have learned a lot. I have also learned from casual conversations with other enthusiasts. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and embarked on some street photography sessions, I have used travel as an opportunity to experience something new in terms of my photography and I have taken some time to study the photography of professionals and ‘masters’.
It is often a good idea at the end of one year and the beginning of another to reflect on our accomplishments in an area of particular relevance to us, whether this is work related or a personal project. In my case I think it is worth reflecting on the photos I have taken during the last year, particularly to pick out those I was happy with. This exercise has the added benefit of helping me to think back over the year just gone, to remember the places visited and the adventures undertaken in photography terms. My goal at all times was self-improvement so I want to evaluate my images in terms of composition, interesting subjects, good use of light, unusual angles, and find the ones where I have succeeded, to some degree, in creating the image I set out to create. These are some of my ‘favourite’ images of the year with a short explanation as to why I think they succeed.
This was an unexpected shot on a foggy morning in April. I was driving past a lake and decided to see what I could capture. I particularly like this one as it has a minimalist feel and the drops of water on the branches are in contrast to the dense fog in the background. To me it conveys a feeling of loneliness, which might not appeal to everyone, but it does create a mood of sorts.
This particular photo was a personal victory as I waited for a long time to capture the girl in mid-flight as she jumped into the water. If I had had more confidence I would have moved closer but it still speaks of the possibilities that await in photography with more practice.
Castle by night
I love taking silhouette pictures and this was a perfect opportunity from a boat on Lake Garda at sunset.
Reflection on the lake
Another favourite of mine is capturing reflections, and this is something I would like to improve in the future. This image was taken on a still December day and I like the reflection in the water coming from the side of the picture as well as from the centre.
In the frame
I have tried some natural framing of subjects. I took this one with my phone camera and I like the composition of the branches framing the background.
On the streets
I have made some inroads into the world of street photography, again something that I wish to continue to improve in the coming year. One of the things I look for on the streets is human interaction so this shot appeals to me in that way. It's not a great shot (I think I missed the best moment of this particular interaction) but it does show me the potential that this genre holds.
In the coming year my hope is to improve my vision and to begin to shoot more creatively than I have been doing as a learner. It’s time to take what I know out ‘into the field’ and use my skills to create more interesting compositions. I want to continually train my eyes, using my smartphone or my ‘inner vision’ when I don’t have my camera available, for any future projects that I might undertake. And I would like to try my hand at architectural photography, an area that I haven’t yet explored, as it offers the potential to shoot from different angles and perspectives, and it provides a challenge in terms of composition.
My hope for my blog post so far has been that I would create something that would be of relevance and interest to others by taking the approach of responding to what comes naturally to me, doing further exploration into areas of particular interest and sharing these findings online. I am aware that all new ventures take time to become established and that some of these succeed while many do not. Although my blog has not been attracting as many readers as I might like, I am still sufficiently interested in the journey to continue travelling down new avenues (even what may ultimately be cul-de-sacs) in search of inspiration and motivation, and to continue sharing as I progress.
New Year’s Day isn’t all about leaving the past behind – it’s about carrying on the good to make it even better; it’s about looking forward to facing fresh challenges with a new perspective. Above all, a new year is about making new mistakes, because making mistakes means we are trying new things, learning, improving, pushing ourselves to grow and change, not just ourselves but hopefully also a little part of our world.
My new year’s wish is to make mistakes, plenty of them, to embrace them and learn from them as I look forward to another year of blogging and another year with my camera.
Happy New Year.
Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can install in us. - Hal Borland