I never know what to call these stick tepee things I often see on our walks- nor do I understand why they are there. But- the autumn light coming through the trees called out to me to take this photo.
As we walked on the path through the trees, the sun started peeking through the clouds, creating spots of sunlight among the aspens on this overcast day. We are hoping for good weather next week when we make the trek up to Flagstaff once more on our quest for fall color.
I started my photography journey in the summer of 2010; it’s been 5 1/2 years of excitement and learning and practice and discouragement and more excitement. I am now starting the sixth year of this blog, which has become a record of my photography progress and also a bit of my life. I had no idea it would extend beyond the first year, but I’m not thinking of stopping. Things got more manageable when I stopped the whole photo a day commitment; some days my photos are just not blogworthy. I still have the commitment to myself to publish five days a week, which may not be the best practice either, since I sometimes just post the best of the mediocre shots I’ve taken lately. But my photography, like life, is a work in progress.
Pondering my photography goals and the progress I’ve made in the last year is something I do as the new year approaches. I’m happy I can point to a few areas of progress:
- Lensbaby- What a challenge that has been! I can’t say I have become a Lensbaby master, but I have produced some photos that I really like. And I love Lensbaby photography!
- Landscape photography-Although this often involves getting up early and using a tripod (two things I’m not crazy about doing), I’ve done it enough now to feel better about my skills and also enough to know it’s not my favorite type of photography to actually do.
- Showing my work- This year, I again participated in my photography club- and also showed photos at the fair and our group show at the Raven. In thinking ahead to next year, I thought one of my goals would be to have the courage to submit photos to a local gallery or two. But then, just before Christmas, two opportunities were presented to me unexpectedly, and, before I could think about it, I now have four photos in two juried shows at two different galleries in town! It’s a fun experience- and not as daunting as I thought. I don’t know how often I will want to do this, but it is nice to get the pat on the back of having your work recognized.
So then- what are my goals for 2016? I was talking to my friend Carol about what she is learning on all the photography trips she takes with expert wildlife photographers. One of the things that resonated with me was the importance of being intentional when taking photographs. I know this. I’ve read this over and over. I intend to be intentional! But somehow, I just keep clicking away- especially when I am out and about. When I am at home doing macro or still life- or just walking around the yard with my camera, I find it easier to look and really SEE. This process all too often disappears when I am out in the world. So my over-riding goal is to be more intentional.
A couple years ago, I started the practice of picking one word for the year, rather than making New Year’s resolutions. My previous words- TRUE and JOY are great words, but this year I wanted something that would have a meaning that could be interpreted broadly but also very specifically to photography. My word is . . .
I love my word! It can be about bringing light into my life, living lightly on the planet, spreading light- but it also has a very specific meaning for me in photography. Photography is all about light and using it to enhance the image. My goal is to be very intentional about finding the best light as I shoot. The photographers I admire all use light in beautiful ways. I want to become better at that- that’s my word, that’s my goal!
What are your goals for 2016? Do you have a word?
Photography notes: The tulip photo above was taken using the Lensbaby Velvet 56. I was intentional (I am wondering how many more times I can use intentional in this blog post?!?) about finding early morning light and placing my tulip in the light. 🙂 I have no idea how the beams got there- they just appeared! I’m not sure if this is a quality of the lens (I have had this happen with the Edge 80)- or if I was using my new diffuser at this point and it had anything to do with that. Something more to figure out!
It was 5 below as we walked along the board walk in the Upper Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Although I’d been here before, this was my first visit to the terraces in the snow. The sun shining through the icy trees and steamy mist gave the scene an ever-changing magical appearance; these photos can only hint at the exquisite beauty we witnessed.
The latest prompt for Kim Klassen’s Studio had to do with light and shadow, which she related to ups and downs in her own family. It was easy for me to use that metaphor for the twists and turns that have been part of our 2015. Life has been mostly wonderful, but we have stepped into the shadows a few times in the last couple months.
Although I considered this theme, I have not yet done the still-life assignment. Instead I took some sunrise lensbaby shots of the sunflowers I bought the other day (that I had INTENDED and STILL INTEND to use in a shadowy still life). Somehow, I always find myself drawn to impromptu still lifes, rather than styled ones, and in this case, the morning sun on the sunflowers was too beautiful to pass up. There is shadow in these images- but the light is predominant.