The Year in Review – 2014
To my credit, this year I did start thinking about my year in review post before the actual end of the year. I just procrastinated enough to have the post actually get finished on the last day of the year. Looking back over the past twelve months, the best way for me to describe my year would be to call it a roller coaster ride. There were ups and downs with a few curves thrown in for good measure.
I can say the year started off on an upswing, I guess I was still riding the momentum from 2013. I was getting out with the camera and doing quite a bit of exploring. To my credit, once winter settled in I found a new outlet for this interesting creativity inside me by exploring still photography in my house. I setup a little area in an extra room and played with quite a few different concepts. The one I am most happy about is my Game Pieces Project. I searched all the stores in my area for different game related objects to photograph.
Another reason for the continuous output of images was the 52 week project I was doing with some great friends I met in Disney during my October 2013 trip. I have to say if I tried to do something like that on my own I would never have succeeded as well as I did with them by my side. We encouraged and pushed each other to explore more and try new techniques and formats. I don’t think I tagged every project post properly but you can get a good flavor for the whole experience here Club 52.
As the summer faded into fall my output began to drop. I think the quality of my images was improving but the quantity was trickling off. There were a lot of reasons for this trend and I’m not looking to make excuses so the take-away for me is to work harder this year on the quality side of the equation. I’ll still be out with my camera but what I post will be more meaningful, for me at least, than just a bunch of images clicked off for the sake of creating an image.
On to the images… One image for each month. Not necessarily the most popular image I posted in each month but more the one with the most meaning for me. (Please click on each individual image to view it full size.)
January – The first of the year saw lots of snow and many opportunities for me to go exploring. I stayed with quite a few of my normal haunts; i.e., Delta Lake, Mohawk River and around the neighborhood. Towards the end of the month I began experimenting with the still photography in the extra room. The image I chose for January was one I planned on taking, one I thought of before the winter even started. I have this same scene in a few different seasons and this one completed the series for me. It represents the new phase of my photography, the thinking phase.
February – This month was about exploring the indoor still photography and the weekly challenges. I believe there was also a strong word challenge by my friend Karma at Karma’s When I Feel Like It Blog. (If you missed the post check it out here.) An obvious choice for this month’s image is my favorite from my Game Pieces Project. This project also started a picture obsession for me in my house. I went crazy getting my favorites printed and framed. I’m running out of wall space… lol.
March – There were actually a few contenders for this month. There was a series I did from the Utica train station and a couple of good weekly challenge images but I had to come back to my Trees in the Snow image. I have had this picture of conifers covered in snow in my head for a long time and every winter I try to capture the image with my camera. This one comes close but I will still be on the lookout this winter. I’m also falling more in love with a good monochrome image and this one just works for me.
April – This is another of those concept images I get way to infrequently. I seem to recall reading an article about capturing 24 images of a single subject. Exhausting every possible point of view and learning about composition from the exercise. I had an image of my mailbox from a year ago that I liked and was going to try this exercise with the mailbox. It was in this thought process that this images concept came to be. To really set the scene though I must explain that all this happens inside my head, usually on the car ride home from work. There are days I wonder how I am able to navigate to the house. (FYI – here is the original image that set off this synapse explosion in my head.)
May – Another month in which I discovered a new project to undertake. It was a happy accident as a result of one of the weekly photo challenges. My regret is that I did not explore this technique as much as I should have. Seems my intentions are strong but I need to work on the follow through. This is the post that kicked off my Reflection Series. With this short lived project, the Water on the Rocks image is by far my favorite.
June – The start of Summer! This was to be the summer of the state parks. I had explored quite a few last year but I was set on exploring even more this year. What happened? I wish I could explain where it all went wrong. At least June had me visiting a few of the parks. This image is from Robert H. Treman State Park just south of Ithaca, NY. I guess I know what one of my new year resolutions will be… 😉 June is also the month I started experimenting with a few new/different techniques to process my images. I would say this was the beginning of a new look for me…
July – There was a lot of activity in July. A few visits to nearby state parks, a county fair and what would become the winding down of the Club 52 project. But this image represents a conscious effort on my part to do more than sit on my butt during lunch at work. I was bringing my Olympus E-P3 camera to work and digging around the old piles of stuff behind the plant. Ssshhh! Don’t tell anyone. My goal was to train myself to “see” better by finding images in ordinary things. This one is my favorite from that effort.
August – Ah, the beginning of the fall college semester. My daughter transferred to the local SUNY college which required some transportation juggling after work. At first I thought it would be the end of my photo excursions but I quickly learned that a college campus can be a treasure trove for me. With some late night classes I was even afforded the opportunity to practice my night, long exposure and HDR photography in preparation for the next Disney trip. My favorite happened on my first night of running around the campus. You can see a whole set of my SUNYIT images here.
September – Another example of finding an image in your own back yard, or front yard at work. This is from another lunch walk with my Olympus E-P3 camera. It also highlights another concept I learned from one of the Disney podcasters I listen to… ‘Always look up’! I walk under this tree whenever I venture out into the side yard at work. Looking up is the only way to get this view.
October – Autumn colors! It seems I look forward to this season all year long and then have the hardest time capturing the quintessential autumn image. As luck would have it I found this one right up the road from work. My adventures during lunch continued into the fall and the trees did not disappoint me. I still need to get off my butt and head into the Adirondacks next fall.
November – With this month came some drastic changes in the weather. From wonderful fall days with leaves and running creeks to our first good snow. It was with this snow that I was slightly rejuvenated into getting up early and getting those sunrise images I have been missing. This image is from the field just past the end of the airbase runway and although it is at sunrise this view is looking west. The colors are from the cloud reflections of the morning colors in the east.
December – We come full circle. Where the year began it finishes, Delta Lake State Park. I had quite a few more ideas running through my head at the end of the year but sadly, time was not on my side. I need to find a way to keep work to an 8 hour day and still allow me time to get out to enjoy this passion of mine. It is only up to me to make it happen. Once I get out with my camera in hand I have such a good time and the cares of the day just fall away. Sounds like another resolution.
Last year I ended with my favorite Disney image of 2013. I was considering that again this year but I thought of one other technique/project I started this year that I want to mention. My Painted series of images. I discovered this technique while watching a webinar by Ron Martinsen. I was hooked. I even created a new page on this blog to showcase the images, Painted. I started with some of my Disney images and eventually tried out the technique on a few landscapes. Reviewing the page I realize I have not pursued this as much as I would like (another resolution!) and will work on improving the process next year.
I would like to thank everyone that is following my ramblings here on Picture Day for another great year. I am going to push myself to be more expressive and maybe even try some instructional posts next year. Your encouragement and friendship have made this online experience absolutely wonderful. You have helped bring this introvert out from the shadows and into the light (which of course is the best place for me to capture my images!). Here is to a fantastic 2015!