Last Thursday my local camera club held its end of year competition, a sure sign that the club will be soon entering its self imposed hibernation over the summer months
So this is as good time as any to have a retrospective about how the year has gone photographically and to think what I want to do over the coming year.
About the same time last year, I wrote this entry in my blog.
That was a bit of a breakthrough time for me. One photo had come to a hairbreadth of winning and had given me greater confidence and optimism going forward. I had also set myself two goals
1. to improve my black and white images.
2. to concentrate on the story rather than the image.
So how did that go?
I think the first objective has been largely achieved. I feel my black and white images have improved considerable. My foray into the world of Infra-Red has helped a lot with that, but that has also been a bit of a distraction. I must admit I have enjoyed taking pictures with my infra-red camera more than all my other kit combined, but sometimes perhaps too much. However their reaction in competition and selection has not been as positive as I hoped, so maybe they are not as good as I thought.
|Probably still my favorite IR image. I had worked on it using Nik Effects and it did OK in competition. Maybe the only issue with it is the lack of balance with the clouds to the left.|
|They always talk about the importance of the story, but a cute bird will win every time. This did well in the DPI section|
But what about the photography in general? Do I feel I have improved this year.
Well, yes and no.
Certainly I feel my general standard has improved a notch. However while I am taking fewer poor images, I perhaps I am not hitting to top notes as often.
One thing I have found I have enjoyed is longer term projects, be it smashing light bulbs, or DIY infra-red cameras. What I am not so good at however is those spontaneous shots where you have only a few opportunities to take a shot, but have to be aware of all the various components that allow you to create a photo. In these situations I am to prone to get swept up in the moment and don't concentrate on the basics. Too often have I ended up with shots with boor backgrounds or too high an ISO.
Will this make me a better photographer?
No, probably not. But it does give me more options to fail :)
So what about the coming year? What are my plans.
Next year theme competition is on the word 'Emphasis'. I must admit I have only a few ideas at present, so I need to start thinking about that.
One thing I want to do more is Macro photography. I now have a half decent macro prime, so I will be looking for opportunities over the summer to try it out. I would also like to try focus stacking, but will probably need to buy some more software to do that since the free versions are not very good
I will still continue with my Infra-Red, but I probably need to upgrade my camera.While that converted A7S II is still out of reach financially, I have my eye on another old camera make which looks reasonable easily convertible.
I also have an idea for a project. In many ways it will be the hardest thing I have ever done. Not technically, but because it will mean asking strangers to pose for images. I will not say anymore about that at present, but watch this space..
Below are my two best images of the competition night
|I got a lot of nice compliments on this one. Which goes to show it is the ones you nearly don't put in that seem to do best. I had doubts due to the green colour cast, which is natural but some judges may think otherwise. Again using HDR on this one|