10 Things I Learned in 2012
10. When real life is so compelling, the virtual life quite suffers.
Since July (the last time I updated this blog) I’ve been traveling at least once, sometimes twice a month. I was too busy even to update the calendar on my website. But like the Mayan doomsday theory, when I unplugged from social media and the internet, nothing really, really bad happened.
9. One camera and one lens is all you really need.
I had one trip where it was not all business. The photos on this post are from that trip. I borrowed my friend’s G11 and put it on manual. I didn’t change lenses. I just waited for beauty to cross the frame, and made sure my hands were ready.
8. Technicality can be learned, but creativity is harder to pursue.
We should warn all beginning photographers: there will be a time in your photography life that you will never be satisfied with any photo you take. I had my first winter of discontent with photography in 2008; I might be having another one now. Somehow, although the technical details come to me easily, I miss the imagination that ran my early days with the shutter. I think this is what I’d like to tell a beginning photographer: Welcome the discontent. It means you are about to pursue improvement.
7. Letting go is easier than I thought it would be.
I said no to a bunch of photography clients. I said yes to a lot of other non-photography jobs. It was not painful. I am no longer earning minimum wage and no longer working 18 hour days processing photos.
6. Time is more valuable than money.
Now that I am no longer processing photos past midnight, I have more time to learn other things. I don’t feel burned out; my eyes don’t have dark circles. Smiles come more easily, and I laugh a lot these days.
5. Like riding a bike, the memory of using a camera comes back easily.
But sometimes I do pick up a camera, and I close my eyes and feel the dials and buttons, cradle the lens. And I know I can see a shot, and I can feel my way into making the shot without looking at the machine.
4. Having a camera without being able to control light is no fun.
Just yesterday though, an old workhorse decided to retire. I was getting ready to take the family on a day trip and decided to take the D3 with me. But sad to say, it would no longer let me change the aperture or the shutter speed on Manual mode. It wouldn’t even change modes any more.
3. Shooting with left brain interference should be avoided at all cost.
My real job has to do with sequences and words. When my job dominates, my left brain is on overdrive. When this happens, and I handle a camera, the shots come out boring as hell. I’ve learned that for everything there is a time and a place. And when your left brain dominates, don’t shoot. Wait until the right brain can take over. Then there is more freedom to just let the light speak.
2. Travel photography needs the investment of time.
2013 resolution: work hard, but leave time to invest in travel just for photography.
1. Hobbyists have it good.
2013 resolution # 2: be a hobbyist. Love for the craft, the art, whatever you call it, has no price. But the rewards are so much better.