After an arduous 2016, full of misfortune both societal and personal, I’m gladly welcoming 2017. Over the weekend, I started thinking about how I can “up my photography game” during the coming 12 months. Here’s a short list I came up with.</p><p><strong>Shoot more</strong><br />This one seems obvious, but, at least in my case, it’s applicable. During 2016, I didn’t get out and take photos as often as I had in the past. Whereas in the past, I’d get up early on a weekend morning and head out on “photo drives” that would take me all over my part of the state, in 2016 I didn’t do this nearly enough. I’d make excuses like “it’s too cold” or “it’s too hot” or “it’s raining”, even though these things don’t matter as much as I’d make them out to matter. So, I’m promising myself that in 2017, I’ll get out and shoot more often, even if it is just throwing my trusty Lumix GM1 in my pocket with a 20mm prime and taking my dog, Winston, on a long walk around the neighborhood.</p><p><strong>Make Some Photography Friends</strong><br />I tend to be a “lone gunman” when shooting, as I imagine most photographers are. We don’t like other people slowing us down or getting in our way while we’re working. But sometimes, it’s good to be around like-minded people that are “into” photography. Professionally, networking is one of the best ways to find new business and learn new techniques or skills. Personally, it’s good to meet new people that you can “talk shop” with, especially if you’re constantly boring your significant other with photographic minutiae that they clearly aren’t that interested in. To remedy this, I’ve joined several active MeetUp.Com groups as well as local Facebook groups that regularly meet for photowalks and discussions. </p><p><strong>Hone My Post-Processing Technique</strong><br />I’m a die-hard Lightroom user. I’ve been using it since version one dropped and everything I shoot goes through it. That said, I know there’s still a lot of processing knowledge that I need to learn, both inside and outside of Lightroom. I’m working my way through online tutorials in Lightroom, Photoshop and, now, On1 Raw, the excellent new Raw processing application from On1.</p><p><strong>Expand My Business</strong><br />Like a lot of photographers, I live in the limbo called “semi-pro”. Photography isn’t my main source of income in that I do have a day job as a software architect. And while I love my software work, my passion is photography…it’s what makes me truly happy. So, in 2017, I’m going to make a concerted effort to expand the business side of my photography, focusing on licensing and fine-art prints.</p><p><strong>Have Fun</strong><br />This is a follow-on to the last resolution. While I have the luxury(?) of not relying on my photography as my main source of income, I do want to expand it as a source of income. But I need to make sure that as I do this, I’m not working so hard at it that it ceases to be fun to me and becomes the drudge of a second job.
*according to Flickr’s Interestingness algorithm
As I’ve done at the end of the year in the past, here are the Top 10 “Most Interesting” Photos that I took (and posted) in 2016.
The misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year’s photos this way is that it’s entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75Central.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2017!
Using services like Pixsy, TinEye or Google Image Search (built into Chrome!) to find where your images are being used without your permission is a “fun” way to spend some time (and anger you at the same time!). But there’s a special kind of image thief that annoys me to no-end…the kind that hotlinks your site’s assets, relying on you to use your hosting bandwidth/data to serve your own stolen photo on their site. How to find these? One trick I use is to go to Google Image Search and use a search query like this:
Essentially, you’re telling Google to look for photos that have your domain in their URL but are not being shown on your site. So, for instance, to look for these types of photos on my photoblog, I use this search string: inurl:75central.com -site:75central.com
Which gives me these results:
Now that you’ve done that, how you react can be anything from DMCA takedowns, to replacing the photos with a message reminding people not to steal to lawsuits.
Here’s a nice ambient video of waves rolling onto a beach that I shot recently in Galveston, Texas, with a DJI Phantom drone.
- I encourage you to sign up for the walk at http://worldwidephotowalk.com/walk/tyler-state-park/. This will ensure you’re eligible to win one of the prizes being offered this year. Also, by signing up, we increase our walker count and ensure that we will be invited to host again next year.
- We’ll meet at the historic bath house on the lake at the park at 4:30PM. You can find a map of the park at http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/park_maps/pwd_mp_p4508_039d.pdf
- We will walk north along the shore line then up into the woods to slowly loop back around southward back towards the bath house to arrive before sunset. The backlit views of the sun setting over the trees on the far side of the lake is quite nice and photogenic.
- We’re not gear snobs, so feel free to bring anything that can take a photo.
- The entrance fee to the park is $6 per person.
- If you need to contact me the day of the walk, you can email me at email@example.com or text me at 972-342-8078.
- Since we’ll be walking in the woods, you should wear comfortable shoes/hiking boots and bug spray.
- If you have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I suddenly just realized that I hadn’t actually blogged about anything in a very, very long time. So, to celebrate my return, I’m announcing that I’ll be hosting the Tyler, Texas, walk during Scott Kelby’s annual World Wide Photowalk. We had a great time walking in Downtown Tyler last year and are hoping to continue the fun this year at Tyler State Park. To join us, you can find the details and sign up by going to the site for the walk here. If you’ve never been to Tyler State Park, click here to see some of my photos from previous visits.
Hope to see you there!
For my year-end wrap up this year I’ve done something a bit different.
Below are the “Most Interesting” photos from each month as determined by Flickr’s Interestingness algorithm. While a bit-flawed in that I may have not yet published the truly-most-interesting photo for a given month, it’s nonetheless interesting to see how Flickr’s algorithm ranked my photos.
I was honored to host the Tyler, Texas walk of the 8th Annual Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk. We had a pretty good turn out and a lot of that success should be credited to my new friends at the East Texas Photography Meetup Group. If you didn’t join a local walk as part of the event this year, I encourage you to sign up next year. And, as always, I encourage you to find a local photography group to join and get out to make new friends and shoot photos!
As I do on occasion, here’s the GPS log for the walk:
I started photoblogging eight years ago today. That’s almost 3000 photos shared since I began on August 12, 2007. A lot has changed since then…I’ve gotten married, changed day jobs a couple of times, traveled a lot, got a dog, and countless other things. But one thing has stayed constant, and that’s that I’ve made sure to photograph my adventures and share the results every single day since I started. In celebration of this event, I’ve put together a short video that shows every single photo I’ve blogged since I started. It’s interesting to observe how much my technique and skills have changed while catching glimpses of Dallas, Las Vegas, Jamaica, Montreal, Alaska and all of the other many places I’ve had great times in since I started. Thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing to provide fine daily photos for your enjoyment for years to come.