Welcome to 2017 from EFCubed

By Mark

Well, it is a whole new year and Roger and I plan on being a bit more reliable in our blog production this year.  Last year, was one of the busiest we have ever had at our “real” jobs.  That annoying requirement that enables us to pursue our photography.  At the start of the year, I lay out a whole list and schedule for the blog topics I want to try and cover.  Usually, I plan my shoots to support the topics I intend to write on.  I guess I will get to reuse a large part of last year’s list. 

For the first time in a decade, we made the decision to not attend Photoshop World last year, due to a lot of turmoil at Kelby which impacted people we knew and liked, but also because we wanted to force ourselves to actually go out and shoot.  Our trip to the Great Smoky Mountains was fantastic; as well as therapeutic for me, and photographically satisfying.  

Our timing was exceptionally fortunate, as even while we were there, we could tell the impact that the drought was having on the waterfalls we planned to shoot, and the colors of the fall foliage.  Last fall’s fires burned up a lot of the area we were shooting in.  In fact, the hotel directly across the little creek from where we stayed, suffered significant damage.  Roger, who is not a nature/landscape shooter, admitted he enjoyed it, way more than he expected. I went with some definite objectives for practicing long exposure images and shooting waterfalls.

Each day I learned a lot and think the shots got better, at least they seemed easier to get the results I was looking for. Plus, of course I got to see Roger fall in the river.  

One of the other factors which impacted my schedule this year was the summer project which gutted and redid our bathroom.  I took lots of photos to record the progress.  You tend to forget that the gradual daily progress eventually leads to huge changes.  

Taking the photos for ourselves, turned out to have an unexpected secondary benefit.  I gave copies of the photos to my builder and he was really thrilled.   He is an amazing craftsman, but used his iPhone to show off his work.  The pictures were fine, but didn’t really capture the details. As a result, we went to shoot one of his larger projects, a whole house remodel and I got to experiment with some architectural photography.  I found I really like the intersection with my macro work and capturing the larger vistas from landscapes.  We will probably do more during the coming year. 

I really expected my image totals to be down from previous years, but our family vacation to Disneyworld over the holidays brought my average up.

I used my phone’s camera some this year and got a few decent shots.  For me, it still doesn’t replace a DSLR, but in Disneyworld, with a million new friends on Xmas day, it was a lot easier to haul around.  I am still working to process those last thousand images. 

As with everything in photography, each picture is a chance to get better. Focusing on specific areas in your own shooting where you know you can get better, is one method of helping your growth as an artist.  As with any other endeavor, practice is important. I have already resolved to do more shooting in the local area, just to force myself to get behind the lens. I’ve picked out a topic I want to cover and will see how this personal project develops. Practice, both behind the camera and behind the monitors is critical, but we all just need to make the time.