Check out the student documentary short video (#6) among the thirteen NYT's posts. All worthwhile, but the student one can give us all hope for the next generation of photographers and may even inspire our own work.
For the third consecutive year, I've followed the suggestion of John Paul Caponigro and have reviewed my photos for the year. John's suggestion is to identified your a)best photo, b)your second best, and c)the next ten and d)find the common threads among them. Its an exercise in editing, and in seeing the direction a photographer is taking over time. I encourage you to do the same. Without further ado, here goes:
Wow - when I contemplated doing it this year, I thought I would struggle to find 12 shots worthy of being the year's bests. But, when I actually reviewed 1700 or so photos taken this past year, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a good year photographically for me. (Hopefully for you too!) My favorite for the year was taken early in 2017 as I walked around Seattle's Pioneer Square. The young woman's pink hair amongst the outdoor tables just stood out for me. Desaturating all of the colors in Lightroom except red/magenta resulted in this final image.
Now, my second best was a bit more difficult to determine. But I ultimately had to go with one of my first composite photographs - leaves from Spokane's Japanese Garden overlayed on the Stonehenge Veteran's Memorial on the Washington side of the Columbia River. I felt it just worked and was one of two photos that I used on our holidays cards. Branching out, trying new things, listening to the muse.
OK, now for the other ten photos that I felt best represented my work during the year. The first two were taken at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico this past April. Keeping with the monochromatic scheme was weaves its way through many of this year's 12 photographs, White Sands is best portrayed in its starkness.
Next comes two photos taken at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup this past September. One of my familiar themes is motion and what better place to experiment with motion than the fair's midway.
OK, the next one is important in that I was photographing on behalf of the Bainbridge Island group of Partners in Health, an amazing not for profit involved in international healthcare. It was taken during the island's Fourth of July parade.
Now come four photos taken during another "first" for me - a photo series for use in publicity for a new physical therapy/massage business on the island - Healing Motion PT. Deanna was amazing to work and we both loved the results.
For the final photo, I go back to the composite work, again featuring the Stonehenge Veterans Memorial, this time coupled with the Pacific Ocean just north of Manzanita, Oregon.
So, is there a recurring theme? Well, not really just one (other than responding to the muse!). But monochrome, people, and motion seem to be the three themes of the year. I can see where I headed off in some new directions, while continuing to enjoy creating photographs that improve upon past work. That's what I call a good year!
With all of the photographs we tend to take with our digital cameras/phones, its tempting to just choose a few "keepers" and then ignore or delete the remainder. I use Adobe Lightroom's star rating system, and usually pretty quickly delete those that get "no stars," which are often out of focus, repetitious of other photos, or have other insurmountable problems. I then focus on the 4's and 5's and ignore the remainder, with the temptation to delete the 1's and 2's at some point. BEFORE YOU DO THIS, go back through the 1's and especially the 2's and see if you're missing something. Don't do this immediately after the initial ratings; waiting six months, or year or more, before looking at the photographs afresh.
I started working on a self-published book on my Cuba trip of two years ago and realized, after looking at the 4's and 5's that I was missing the full story of my trip. So I expanded the search to the 2's and 3's and was surprised at what I found this time around. Sure, most deserved to remain "in storage." But a fair number, especially with some adjustments in Lightroom became 4's!
So whether you are looking for photos to illustrate a trip or a person or an event in the past, don't forget to recheck some of the "backup" photos; you may be pleasantly surprised! And some of the surprise may be a result of changes in your "vision" of what a good photo is.
The original on the left; the new (greatly increased exposure among other changes) on the right. I like the stark look versus the silhouette. But to each there own!