Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My year in review

Okay, so I’m a little late in posting this, as year-end reviews are usually posted, well, at the end of the year. But I ran across a quote by Ansel Adams that got me thinking. The dean of American nature photography once said, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Of the hundreds of shots he made annually, if St. Ansel managed to capture about one good picture a month, he was a happy man.

I estimate that I easily took more than 3,000 photographs last year, maybe closer to 4,000 (I made the jump to digital photography – I never would have been anywhere near that output with film). So, did I end up with 12 pictures that I could call “significant?” I’m defining “significant” as a photo that breaks new ground in some way, whether it’s a technical, artistic or technological jump.

Herewith is a collection of my significant photos from 2008, beginning with the photo at the top of this post. It's significant in that it was one of the first digital photographs I ever made after more than a decade of shooting film only. Shortly after getting a Fujifilm Finepix s700 for Christmas, my wife and I took a trip to Door County, Wisconsin. I was still getting acquainted with the camera when I shot the Sturgeon Bay Canal Pier Light just before dawn. Plenty of mistakes in the picture, but plenty of potential, too. The composition makes up for some technical problems (focus, noise). A cleaned up version of this photograph will be published in this year's Door County Visitor Guide.

Technical and technological achievement. Capturing a nearly full moon (technical) and inserting it into an existing photo via Photoshop (technological).

Being in the right place at the right time. The odds of that happening increase the more you actually get out and look for pictures. And don't miss a chance to shoot photos when it's foggy.

If the clouds are doing something dramatic, grab your camera and get out there.

Pictures don't have to be complicated.

Right time, right place, dramatic clouds, simplicity all in one picture.

Let the picture evolve. This park sits at the end of a pathway through a wooded area in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. I took photo after photo as visitors came and went, then kept the photo with the most interesting configuration of silhouettes.

Backlighting from a nearby window combined with a sheet of plack foam board with a string of colored lights inserted, Lite Brite style.

Drama in the sky, stillness in the water.

Exploring macro and natural light using a sheet of black foam board as a backdrop. Shot outside in the shade on a sunny day.

Same black backdrop/shade configuration as previous photo. This daylily was one of many growing by a neighbor's garage.

We all walk a path that takes some twists and turns. I had already taken a number of shots of the winding road when a gentleman out for a walk passed by. We exchanged greetings and I waited for him to make his way to the top center of the composition.

These 12 photos represent a whole lot of learning in a year's time. Three of them are award winners, several have been published and together they've garnered more than 30,000 online views.

Click on pictures to enlarge. Photographs © 2008-2009 James Jordan.


SD at "Addicted to The Click" said...

Your photos are amazing! Love each and every one you posted!

Thanks for sharing. They are very inspiring!

Joan Elizabeth said...

Thank you. I really enjoyed your annual roundup.

Steve said...

Love the photos Jim. It's been fun and inspiring following your journey. Not to mention that you've made prints available and very affordable! We have several of them placed around our home.

Lucy Hollis said...

I haven't really heard of the Year in Review concept, but I've enjoyed seeing and reading yours. I think it is a great concept: pictures may be worth a 1,000 words, but it really interesting to see a bit more of the 'behind the image' info. And especially how they are relating to your personal development, which an individual blog entry might miss. Your images are fantastic of course too! Thank you for sharing. Definitely something that I can learn from!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these-they are delightful.
My favorite is the tree with the fog,water and light. Immediately reminded me of J.R.R. Tolkein's Ents in "The Two Towers."

Tori Grant
Franklin, TN