I don’t think I have much to say- I must have talked about everything I needed to share last week. Overall, picking up my camera daily still feels very happy. I did have one or two of those days this week that you sometimes have when you commit to shooting something every single day for an entire year. Wandering around, not knowing what to shoot, and looking ahead feeling like there is NO WAY you can produce something every day. Fortunately, that was mixed in with some other days where I had trouble choosing which photo to use for the day. I still struggle with deciding if I choose the photo for the day that is technically “the best”, the one that makes me happiest, or the one that is most representative of the day. I did a little bit of each this week.
This week I have been really focused on participating in the workshop I am taking (Voice and Visual Intent). It has added a whole new level (of difficulty? intensity?) to my daily shooting process. Especially since my process before this was “just take some sort of photo within the span of the day that is reasonably ok in ok light and hopefully in focus”. In using the concepts from the class, I am forced to be way more intentional about the photos I am taking, and am thinking about what I am trying to express with the photo. This is something I am still trying to wrap my mind around. Like with the photo this week of the pears, for example, I am illustrating lots of things, but as far as I know I am still just saying… pears. Pears are pretty? Pears are delicious? I don’t know.
And speaking of the pears, that brings me to the other thing I have been focusing on this week. I purchased a Lensbaby, and I am ashamed to admit this will be the THIRD TIME I have owned a Lensbaby. This time I purchased it with the new Edge 50 optic and with the intention of using it primarily with my Fuji XT-1. I bought it in a Nikon mount though, and just got an inexpensive Fuji adapter. I have forced myself to use it every day. On day one, Adam looked at my photos and said, “I don’t get it. Isn’t something supposed to be in focus?”. Every day, I show him my results, and finally the last few days he has been acknowledging that he gets it. I don’t know that he loves it, but he isn’t necessarily my target audience with it (although, who is?). And he does say the resulting photos are “unique”. I took the photo of the colored pencils using it with my Nikon, and found it surprisingly easy to manually focus. And the pear photo I took with my Fuji, thankful for the focus peaking features. I kind of love having it, as I have always liked the tilt-shift effect and this is a fairly inexpensive way to achieve that look.
Finally, I am so excited to report that I never win anything, but I did win a seat in an upcoming workshop- The Reflective Artist. There will be a two week overlap where I am doing two workshops at the same time, but I think it will work out well, and that the material will be complementary. I think it will be an amazing workshop. I am very fully immersed in photography, and from the outside it might appear that I am overdoing it a bit. I don’t feel overwhelmed though, I still feel very happy and enthusiastic about it. And to be honest, I am not even totally sure why I have made such a serious commitment to improve my photography right now. I still have serious doubts that I would want to do anything professionally with photography, but part of me wonders if I might feel differently about that if I become more confident in my skills. It will be interesting to reassess that as this year progresses.
Here are the photos for this week. I really wanted the Lego photo to be a diptych, and I know that I should be able to figure out how to use the Lightroom Print module to create collages and that kind of thing, but instead I purchased Blogstomp tonight. I was hoping it would just make the process easy, and it turns out that it is very, very easy. I haven’t really done a lot of grouping photos together for storytelling purposes/posts, but this will give me the option to do that in the future.
I am very immersed in photography right now. I am completing my second small group mentorship with Kate Densmore and about to start her Voice and Visual Intent class next week. I have really enjoyed my work with Kate, and these group mentorships have significantly impacted my photography and my daily shooting process and practice, all in good ways. I was just talking to some photography friends about how I am feeling really happy with shooting and learning and focusing on photography right now, and that I feel optimistic that this will be a year of growth for me. At least I hope so.
And 2016 so far… seems ok. We will tread lightly. Keep our expectations reasonable. Have gratitude for all of the good things we have. Keep aspiring to do a little better than just survival mode. Keep trying to take better care of ourselves and each other. Take an actual vacation. Really.
Well, I am back, and hoping to resume posting regularly. Of COURSE I started another 365 (well, 366) this year. Every January 1st comes, and I can’t help it. I have to do it. I fully planned on doing it alone, not in a group, but within two days of shooting I changed my mind and ended up joining a few groups for support. I am posting to Flickr as well, and am so happy to see that a lot of the photographers that I follow and admire there are doing 366 projects as well. What that means for me is that I get to see new work from them regularly. Always a good thing.
So, after all of my talk about the wretched year of 2015, and my dreams for the magical year of 2016, it turns out that things didn’t end up suddenly transforming at midnight on January 1st, 2016. We still have a few little hiccups to work out, mostly physical sickness and medical things. In all honestly though, I feel pretty positive. And every day, I feel a little more optimistic that things are going to keep getting better for us. We are trying to address some problems we couldn’t get to last year- making necessary dietary changes, for example, and creating some coping skills for a super emotional child who isn’t adjusting well to school. All of it feels a lot more manageable than what we went through in 2015. I have also accepted that having three fairly little kids with no support from family close by is always going to bring challenges. It won’t always be this way, but it is where we are now. We can adapt to it and accept it and can still create a beautiful and fulfilling life with those limitations.
As for me and my big fancy goals. I didn’t really make any. I have lots of shoulds, but whatever. I am doing what I am doing, and it is going to have to be good enough for right now. I want to become very physically healthy and stable this year, and if I were going to pick one little word to focus on for 2016 it would be “energy” or “strong”, or something along those lines. There are things I have to start working on in that area, as soon as my current medical stuff gets worked out. Have to. It is the only way I will be a good mom to my kids and a good wife to my husband and a good friend and a good person. Truth.
I also somehow feel like this might be the year where I finally turn a corner with photography as far as my skill level. I am putting myself out there more. I am taking a few small group mentorships and classes that are much different than anything I have done before, and making connections with people that are helping me grow. I don’t have any specific photography goals for this year (except cull and print, cull and print, cull and print, geez, can I get a handle on those already???). I just think it is going to be a year of significant growth for me, and I am excited about that. I feel ready to concentrate and work hard at it, and that is a big part of what is different this year.
And I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t talk about gear a little bit. Some photographers don’t share what they have, and I am always curious so I will share. I like cameras and lenses. I research and obsess and I actually think it is all super fun on some level. I sold every single thing I owned last year except my Fuji X100T. I replaced my Canon gear with a Nikon D750, 35mm 1.8FX, 50mm Sigma Art, Nikon 105mm macro lens, and a Sigma 15mm fisheye. I bought a 50mm 1.8D for $60 from eBay that I plan to disassemble so I can learn to freelens. I sold my Canon EOS3 and bought a Nikon F100. Still not giving up on doing a little film. I also purchased a Fuji XT1, 23mm 1.4, 35mm 1.4, and 56mm 1.2. Oh, those little Fujis. I am so glad that the Canon stuff is gone. I look back through my Canon photos now and have no idea why i didn’t switch sooner. I am just so much happier with the Nikon. And I am enjoying the Fuji too, of course, although I am not totally sure about my Fuji lens selection. The 56mm 1.2 is DREAMY and a keeper for sure. The 23 may or may not make sense for me. And don’t even get me started on the 50mm Sigma Art for my Nikon. Sharpest lens ever. My next dream lens is a 135 (either for my Nikon, or the 90 mm equivalent for my Fuji). Before I make any other big gear decisions, I will probably rent the big serious 70-200mm 2.8 to see if I could handle the weight of that lens. Now I have talked about cameras for so long that if I share this on Facebook, all of my non-photography friends will be glazed over and lost.
That is enough for this week, all the words, words, words. I have more to say about the photography mentorships and classes I am doing, about making new photography friends, where I am with my feelings on social media and photography, GREENTOE (Google it, and then ask me about it), and probably other stuff I can’t think of at the moment. I will continue to try to make it a priority to actually add content to the blog each week beyond the photos- maybe I will even make it a goal to blog twice a week! And not talk about photography the whole time? Maybe? But for now, the photos for the first week of the 2016 366. BY MISTY PROCHASKA: Mom with some cameras.