This holiday business has me starting to think about the end of the year and all of the usual fanfare this brings to the photography community and my little world in particular. The end of the year usually finds us doing a disproportionate amount of navel gazing. What was your favorite image? What was your shot of the year? What did you do right? What did you get wrong? Where do you want to go next year? What are you going to shoot? Ah, the mind boggles as I try to wrap my head around some of these questions and even, dare I say it, start searching for answers.
On the whole, I would have to say 2016 was a bit of a mixed bag for me photographically. I mean, I feel like I didn't do anything earth shattering, maybe made a bit of progress, probably could have done more, a heck of a lot more, but, you know got some results. I found myself going to Dakota, where this image was taken, landing in Peru unexpectedly, taking a tour of old school houses, working a couple of model shoots, doing a band shoot at a local nightspot, and the like. I did less night photography (in general) more landscape photography (in general) and a bit of travel with some architecture thrown in for good measure. I did a bunch of portraits in the unexpected camp some of which I liked, some I did not. I wish I could travel more, shoot more, always want to shoot more, and I think even Flickr says my top image from this year was something like #18 which is, you know, ok, but, heck, I didn't even land in the top 10 really. All of this "Meh" is just killing me at this point.
Looking at the web, I can spot a bit of a trend here too. While Flickr does tell me I'm sitting at number 18, I also haven't uploaded all of my shots. I'm very behind in post processing, which is not entirely uncommon for me but it does seem like I can't seem to catch and break and catch up any. I haven't been blogging as much as I should, I've been on Twitter/Facebook possibly more than I should. I've neglected Instagram and I haven't been showing as much as I normally do. On the flip side, I landed a magazine this year, got a nod in a couple of award type things, managed to sell a bit more work than usual and kind of almost felt like I was hitting my stride a bit or, you know, trying to start down that path. I guess I should not really expect to land an image in my top 10 if I don't post enough of them, right? If I'm sitting on some good ones, some that I know are good, and not getting it out there, I shouldn't expect results, but there you have it. I want my cake and want to eat it too, right?
Technique wise, I've stopped using the Lensbaby a bit and have grown used to the "big girl" camera, the Canon 5DS, along with the walkabout lens. It's not a gimmick and forces me to make "real" work, whatever that might mean. I've dropped some of the experimental things I used to do-no more shooting digital infrared this year but still shooting iPhone. Pretty much narrowed my kit down to the Canon 5DS, lens of choice, and the every present iPhone for good measure. I've been playing with apps a bit more on the mobile side and doing some experimentation there. I have a strong desire to paint again but I know that stuff can be toxic and time consuming so trying to avoid it if I can, for as long as I can hold off. Managed to work on the studio space and spruce up the home a bit. Feel better about that, but there's more to do and I'm not even done yet with the mini studio.
Taken all of this into account, I'd have to say 2016 was a very bipolar year for me. Mixed bag, mixed results, mixed blessings, some curses, some demons left to slay, and a bit of looking forward to 2017 wondering how, exactly, I'm going to piece all of that together. I guess, if I had to sum it up, 2016 has left me with a little "Yeah, what's next?" taste in my mouth which I can't seem to wash out, but it wasn't maybe as bad as it could have been. Ah, now there's a ringing endorsement for you. "Wasn't as bad as it could have been but still, you know, it was what it was." If I had to say it, yup, that's 2016 right there in a nutshell, man. Phew!
I hope your year in review finds you in a better course or at least, you know, knowing which side of line you're standing on as we hit 2017 with a bang.
Until next time...
PS This one from Dakota, with the walkabout lens, Canon 5DS and an open road will do that for you.