Yesterday was the end of 2012 as well as the end of my 366 project and my first year of blogging. The blogging world seems to love lists, so I’ve decided to list 12 things that I learned in the process of completing this project and 12 of my favorite photos – one from each month. It was hard to choose only one, but I’ve never been one to shy away from the hard stuff.
What I learned:
1. I confirmed that photography is something I really love, not one of my many fleeting interests. Can we say knitting, karate, Muay Thai fighting, or cooking, anyone? Okay, fine, cooking only lasted a day or two. Whatever.
2. Since my first class two years ago, I’ve been using my camera in manual mode. I used to be so slow at making sure I had everything how I wanted it. Now, I’m pretty fast and don’t have to think about it as much – a big help when trying to catch wildlife.
3. I have a much better sense of lighting and pay attention to where it is falling within my composition almost automatically, though I still screw this up sometimes when I’m excited about the subject I’m shooting.
4. I improved quite a bit on shooting things in motion – flying birds, jumping cats, running squirrels, etc. I’m still working on it but happy to have improved somewhat.
5. I am 100 times better at processing in Lightroom. I will need to redo some of my old photos before putting my book together. A lot of them seem dark to me – that was before I learned about monitor calibration. We all learn about that after we send off for a print and it comes back dark and muddy looking. I still haven’t touched Photoshop, though. That’s a goal for 2013.
6. It took me half the year, but I finally figured out how to export properly for the size I want to see online or in print. I don’t know why this took me forever, but it did.
7. I had to be very creative on days when I left the apartment at 7:30am and didn’t get home until 11:30pm and still didn’t have a photo – or when I was feeling ill. Some of my best photos came from these moments of forced ingenuity.
8. Again, light is everything, and white balance is so important. I think my eye for colors and lines has improved, but that is subjective. I don’t always know how to fix bad lighting or white balance, but I sure can tell when it’s wrong now.
9. I no longer take 500 pictures of the same thing hoping I get a good one. Spray and pray only happens when I’m trying to get a bird in flight.
10. I am better at visualizing the final photo before I even lift my camera.
11. I thought I might learn what kind of photography I’m best at or enjoy the most so I could start specializing in 2013. I did confirm that I really enjoy nature and wildlife as well as pets, but I still have an interest in editorial, advertising, studio set-ups and all sorts of other stuff. Maybe I’ll figure it out this year.
12. Most importantly, I confirmed that the world is smaller than it seems. I’ve met so many great people around the world through my blog. Remember pen pals? It feels sort of like that. I also learned that I have a ton of friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In that are willing to take a few minutes out of their busy days just to encourage me. They are remarkable, and I appreciate them and all of you who are reading this more than I can say. Art is nothing if it isn’t shared.
And now, my favorites from each month: