Saw an interesting blog challenge this week – post your view of 2012 in pictures. I’m not organized enough to do one of those “a picture for every day of the year” challenges but I do have enough in my Lightroom catalog to cover a year pretty well. With almost 13,000 images in 2012 surely there are 12 I feel portray what I was seeing. It’s also a good opportunity to perform an exercise one of my instructors mentioned he does each year; that is, look over your images and see if there are any trends you want to go deeper with or any directions not traveled it would be fun to explore in the next year. I haven’t yet created long personal projects for my work so this is a good way to look beyond the day’s shoot and get a sense of where my craft is going. And head off any bad habits before they fester into skills!
With that, here is my year in pictures:
Trends? More black and white than I ever thought I’d be interested in making. Between film and digital I’ve just begun to appreciate the value of black and white for certain images and this is a trend I expect to continue building on. Another is an improved use of design elements in the composition – lines, angles, curves, negative space, etc. Everything isn’t right in the middle of the image (unless it’s important that it be there) and there is more energy in some images than in others. Surprisingly, not as much wildlife as I would have expected for the year. I get the sense 2012 was a year to learn deliberate composing, taking time to evaluate a scene and craft a view of it that is more than a snapshot. Wildlife usually doesn’t stand still for that kind of artistic contemplation but I’m expecting the time spent this year will benefit animal portraits next year.
To satisfy the goal-setting brain cells that have been hammered in me by management consultants over the years, I do see improvement over 2012, a movement closer to my expectations for photographic quality. My criteria continues to be “would I print this?” as a starting point to work on an image and it feels like there are more of those this past year than previous. I do know my post-processing skills have improved (you don’t get to see the before versions so you’ll just have to take my word for it) but more and more I seek to get it right in the camera, at least for the composition and exposure. Post-processing is where I try to improve on the drama of an image or the way it tells a story, but the best skills can’t turn a sow’s ear photograph into a silk purse quality print.
As a mostly visual person I like this way to review how the year went. It’s a way to remember places visited, experiences had, efforts relived and contact with friends. And what more could we ask of our photographs?