January 3, 2016 and it’s time to take stock in how I did on my photographic resolutions for 2015 and to make new or continued one’s for 2016.
Beginning with last year’s resolutions, we have:
- Focus on seeing. Well, as I said last year: I think that this always must be there. Seeing and visualizing are really what photography is about – seeing the scene and visualizing how it is going to translate to the final picture. This is complicated, in that the visualized image is in your mind, so part of the process is formalizing how you are going to use your technical skills to achieve it – or to learn those skills. I am going to give myself a B+ on this as there is a lot of room for improvement. That after all is the real adventure.
- Spend more time taking photographs and have my camera with me more often. Another B+. I have become much better at this, but not perfect. Of course, the IPhone helps a lot.
- Slow down, concentrate on composing the image, on setting and checking the light. And yes, learn more about the camera controls, the one’s you don’t use, but should. This remains the key and is a lifelong lesson. Yes, indeed. I have been working a lot on this. I always set my camera for bird photography, so as not to miss anything and when I am confronted with something else, I do think. First is invariably which set of focus points I need – set those. Often, I drop the ISO from my default 1600 bird ISO to achieve a less “grainy” image. What should be given priority exposure time or f-stop? Take the first images. Do I need exposure compensation or greater depth of focus? Do I need to shift viewpoint or from “landscape” to “portrait.” I start to worry about the framing of the image – about lines at the edges, tilted or rotated lines in the image. I review the image, zooming in to check the sharpness. I have started to notice a curious fact. I see something and visualize what I want. I start to take images. But typically this comes to an abrupt stop when I realize that I have gotten exactly what I want. So in a sense the whole image concept builds up. It isn’t a random snap, snap, snap. You could argue that more of the process should be visualizing through the lens and less by taking pictures. But that is the luxury of digital “35 mm” – quotes because it isn’t really that. OK, I’m so proud of myself – how about an A- here?
- Continue to learn to photograph trees. They remain the most worthy of subjects – always, always. I thought that I would celebrate them here with a picture that I took on Christmas eve at Heard Farm in Wayland, Massachusetts of the sun beginning to set. Again an A-!
- Work more on portraiture. I have tried hard to do this and as my “En Persona Gallery” and “The Swap” project with Donna Griffiths indicate I have had some decent success. I think I need to learn more technically about portraiture and to use more of the tools. So B+.
- Learn and utilize strobe-light techniques in portraiture. Those are some of the tools that I am talking about along with umbrellas and the like. Sorry, Wolf – only a C for this and that is probably a gift.
- Continue to photograph birds and to develop better technique. I think that I have had some good success with this, and in particular have learned how to use my mid-range zoom to better effect rather than struggling with the big lens. So here I give myself an A.
So now the big question is where to go next ,and I will make the following resolutions, many being continuations of last year.
- Focus on seeing.
- Spend more time taking photographs and have my camera with me more often.
- Slow down, concentrate on composing the image.
- Continue to learn to photograph trees.
- Work more on portraiture, learn more about the deliberate techniques.
- Continue the fun adventure of photographing birds.
- Go further with the pictorialism photography project.
- Learn more about using layers in imaging crafting Photoshop.
Well, that’s all for now. It is the first weekend of the year, and I had better get out and take some photographs.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Figure 1 – Canon T2i with EF70-200mm f/4L USM lens at 168 mm, ISO 1600, Aperture Priority AE Mode, 1/4000 at f/7.1 with no exposure compensation.