Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 in Review....

Had to give my head a shake when I realized that 2010 is nearly done! Wow... and realized I needed this time between Christmas and New Year's to reflect on what my favorite things were about my photographic journey this year. Looking back I'm overwhelmed at the amount of images taken and all the hard work I put in.... but I'm most excited about all the things I learned. Thought perhaps I'd share some with you, and then at the end post my most favorite shot from all of 2010. Right now this sounds like a tall order to me, but I'll do my best.... here we go!
One of my biggest lessons this year I learned while filling my contract from the City of Hamilton, documenting the parks in the area for almost 8 months (the resulting collections are being featured one at a time on my website if interested). Photographing the same five spaces frequently, capturing every seasonal change, during several different times of the day, from every possible angle, for three seasons meant I HAD to be creative, and yet still provide images that provided information and an overview of how the parks evolve through the year. What a balancing act! And after a while, no matter what you do, you're afraid that all the images are going to start looking similar. I learned to stretch my perceptions of what an environmental portrait was, how to keep important detail while exhibiting beauty, and how to use the natural design elements at my disposal (ie colors, shapes, patterns) to enhance what could be a very tedious subject at times since not everyone who views the finished images will be gardening fanatics either! For wide landscape shots, I learned to wait for the right interesting light, while for close detail shots of nature I learned to wait for clean light, less shadow, and the perfect cloudy day with little to no breeze. I hope all these things will be evident when you view the first gallery "Gage Through the Seasons".
The second really important lesson I learned is that learning the technical aspects of your work flow in editing, and compiling said images into collections for clients easily and smoothly is something you should be very familiar with BEFORE you begin the contracted work, whether you're documenting city parks, or shooting extreme sports for a possible commercial gig. Thinking that you know "enough" just doesn't cut it. Many a night I spent tearing my hair out, getting very little sleep, and "misplacing" the odd file only to find it right where I left it weeks before meant wasted time that could have been better used editing the next files instead of falling behind right before a deadline and wishing the magical "work" fairy would just snap her fingers and I'd be saved. Never did miss a deadline, but came very close and in the midst of it all made my family stressed and anxious right along with me.
Lastly, although I really could go on and on, I learned this year that you can't fake doing what you love. I LOVE landscape, nature, and architectural photography, nothing excites me more!  The job for the parks was a blast really... I found it very exciting. But I also caved to the attitude that any job opportunity is good if you can pull it off... and those jobs not within my forte were the ones that I really had to make myself finish, and never really wanted to go back to (with the exclusion of some photo sessions for friends which I thoroughly enjoyed) and it's because they really weren't me to begin with. Now there's nothing wrong with knowing what your weak areas are and improving them to expand what it is you love to do... but you also have to know which areas really suck you dry, are a waste of time and steal your joy in pursuing whatever it is you're pursuing too. I've learned the difference over the course of this year.
In the end, what all this means for my photography in a practical way is that you'll see the pages for portrait sessions and weddings disappear from my site.... and you'll see new things take their place soon in 2011, and in exciting ways I hope. If you're a fan, keep an eye on http://www.c-duncans-photography.com/ in the coming months for new elements to my business.
And as promised, here's my own personal favorite image from 2010.... can't wait to start 2011 with all of you! Thanks for letting me ramble on over this past year, and have a good one!

Dreaming of Fieldcote
by M.Christine Duncan 2010 ~ please click on image for larger viewing, then back click to return to post ~