Sunday, 17 May 2015

a year remembered

I haven't been able to do many photography related activities recently, including writing this blog. As result I have a backlog of images to sift through with the somewhat vain hope that I can unearth some gems from the rough. Plus I have a number of new projects just waiting for the point I can spend some quality time on them (also note to self, also see more of family).

A consequence of this. is that I have only recently noticed that it has been one year since I started this blog.

Now this is a big thing for me, since my track record on these sort of things is not stellar. I remember getting a diary when I was 12 at Christmas (life was simpler then), and deciding I was going to keep a day to day log of my activities. I think I got to about January the 2nd, before I gave up. The entries up to that point had not been literary masterpieces with passages such as "had dinner" or "went to bed".

I now wish that I had the discipline and ability to record my life in more detail (although when you are 12, writing a page of prose is not something you could ever imagine you would do as a  pleasurable activity).

However I took two lessons from this failure

First blogs, like diaries, take considerable time and effort. Secondly the biggest challenge is finding something that you find interesting and you consider worth writing about. With blogs, there is the additional complication that it has to be something you others might also find interesting.

Over the years I have started a number of blogs, with limited success, but this one has so far proved the most fertile and long lasting.

When I started this blog, it's purpose was for me to record my progress in photography. It was a personal journey, but one I was happy to share if it helped anyone else along the way. Since that point there has been 69 posts and almost 3000 views. Now some of these are probably just accidental, but I do like to think on my darker days that someone may of get some joy out of it, even if it was just to pass away 5 minutes on a dull day. My primary intention of course was to help me remember my journey. Helping anyone else on the way is just a bonus.

As with all anniversaries, this calls for a bit of self-reflection. So how has the year gone photographically speaking?

Well, this is probably the 1st year that I have taken my photography seriously.  A lot of my journey has been traveled and measured against my local photographic society who have provided many of the challenges, plus many of the incentives. If anything the social side of joining a club, being together with people of the same interests has been as important as the photography itself.

The big question for me however, is has my photography improved over the last year?

I think the answer has to be yes to that. At the start, I possible had a slightly over-inflated[slightly? - Ed] opinion of my abilities as a photographer. As I entered competitions, I had a rude awakening and had to re-evaluate my talent. However in recent months I have had some good results, showing that if at least I have not completed my journey, at least I am a part way down the road.

However I have a feeling that this is a sort of 90-10  situation, where 90% of the work takes 10% of the effort and the final 10% takes 90% of the work. The easy fruit has perhaps been picked. Moving to the next level will require as much effort again, if not more.

Also the progression has been incremental. I sort imagined that I would wake up and have a road to Damascus type moment, when all would come clear. Instead it has been a year of slow learning and trying to reinforce any lessons learned.

So what about the year ahead. Well, like I said earlier, I have two projects which are in their early stages, and as I do them, hopefully I will document them on this blog.

Like any good reviews, I have also set myself some improvement goals as a  photographer, namely
  • Stop taking to take "nice" photos' and instead to take ones that have a improved narrative.
  • Improve my black and white photo's. B&W images are the purest form of photography, since you cannot hide the flaws in composition etc by saying "look at the bright colours". 
  • Take fewer insurance photos. Taking a lot of images in itself is not a problem, but most are there just because I lack the confidence to know that I have got the image I want. I take many images of the same thing with different aperture, focal lengths and exposure settings. This is because I don't have the skill and confidence to execute the image I want. I want to learn how to better imagine, plan and finally take that photo, so I get the result without 100 other images of the same thing.

Finally, thanks to everyone who has helped me this year, with advice, a shoulder to cry on and tea and encouragement. It's been greatly appreciated. Also thanks to all of you who has visited the blog over the last year. The fact I am not shouting into the wind has given me loads of incentives to carry on.

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