Happy New Year!

By Roger (1 January 2015)

Happy New Year!

Today is the beginning of a new year. The changing of the calendar always leads – at least in me – to random thoughts flying all over the place. Yeah, you may see some random thoughts flying through today's brief blog.

Do you remember days / Not so very long ago / When the world was run by / People twice your size? / And the days were full of laughter / And the nights were full of stars / And when you grew tired / You could close your eyes. (Mike Williams)

The kids and their kids are returning to homes to all over the map, again. This year, most of us were stricken with some random bug, causing additional mayhem in the chaos that already exists around big family gatherings. Everyone was recovering just as it was time to leave. Many of my ambitious plans were left in tatters. Sigh.

We managed to travel to North Carolina (before the plague struck) and Canada (where I was struck down), before we got everyone back together in northern Virginia. I barely got my mandatory kids-on-the-steps photo before I dissolved into a sniveling pile of goo for a couple of days.

Grandkids, this year.

Grandkids, this year.

Kids, back in 1997

Kids, back in 1997

This morning, as the final ones were leaving, I bounced across some very old stuff that I hadn't heard in many years, and it got me all motivated to get on with the new year.

My motivation most frequently comes from music. I have tons of it, and there is almost always some kind of music playing. And, I used that, today, to help me shake off the last coughs and get to planning my photo year. There are lots of plans for this year. My music will play some role in my projects and ideas.

What motivates you? That can be a pretty big, existential question. I mean we're talking photography here, but motivation comes from so many sources: your personal history; outside influences over your life; your current environment; and your dreams. It's really a hard thing to nail down, and, of course, your life motivations will intersect with, and affect, the photographic ones. Just to complicate things, motivation changes over time and fades and builds as that time passes. I need to constantly tap into it, so I keep on course.

While you may not need to go through the annual ritual of sketching out the year every January, it helps to sit back, every now and then, and make some goals for the near future.

Here are some helpful hints:

1. Think short term. What can you do, this month, to ensure you pick up the camera as often as possible? Review the basics until you can use the camera without thinking about it. Do you need to work on a certain skill set? Where can you get help if you need it? (Um, we're standing by to answer questions here or on Facebook.)

2. Think longer term. If you always bail on attending workshops, due to a lack of expendable cash, start setting a little aside throughout the year, so you'll be able to afford it. (Photoshop World is in August, and Mark and I already have our tickets). There are other great workshops, somewhere, every month; many are inexpensive; many of them are taking reservations already. Or plan your own trip for spring or summer. (I'll be in Appomattox, Va, for the end of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, in April.) Or join a local group that does photowalks. (The Worldwide Photowalk will probably be in early October.) See how easy this planning thing can be?

3. Just think and prioritize. Most of us can't do everything, so determine where your priorities lie, and sketch out a draft plan for them. Do you need to work on your photography organization? Post-processing? A new lens? If work or family requirements will prevent you from traveling anywhere, then, put travel at the bottom of your list and concentrate on what is possible. You just need to keep shooting and improving. Hey, that might be the best plan you can handle, this year.

We hope you stick with the blog; share it with your friends; ask questions; and keep shooting. Put some music on, so “while attempting your pursuit, you have a merry tune to toot....” ;-) Work on your balance. It's going to be another fun year.

Your priority is a good balance.

Your priority is a good balance.