I thought I'd take the time to reflect on my photography for the past year. All of the good and the bad, and lessons that I have learned. By taking stock of 2017, I will have an idea of where I want to take my craft going into 2018.
A Major Change in Gear
To say that I have Gear Acquisition Syndrome is a massive understatement. Even then, I did not expect myself switch camera systems and go all in to the Fuji GFX 50S. I went into Samy's Camera in San Francisco on a whim when they the Fuji representatives over with the GFX for a hands on demo. Needless to say it was love at first handling. The ergonomics were great and the images it produced were stellar.
Months after coming out of that hands on demo, I found myself with a shiny new GFX 50S instead of the new Leica M10, financed by the sale of my Sony gear and the Leica M typ 240. At the time I questioned my sanity (I still do), but looking back now I can confidently say that I am happy with my choice. The GFX has proven itself to me in the field.
Shoot More Film
I always lament that I need to shoot more film. It's never been for lack of having film; I have plenty. Finding subjects that I think would look good on film and just the sheer effort of developing and scanning the film were large enough deterrents. Frankly, I was too picky.
This year I scanned 899 film shots, a mix of 35mm and 120, but mostly 35mm. I'm close to using up the entire 100 ft bulk roll of Ilford Delta 400. A lot of this I think is due to me not having a digital Leica camera anymore. When I just want to go out and take pictures, I'll drag out my M6 TTL Millennium and 5 rolls of film now.
More Project Shoots
Another aspect of 2017 that went well was I did more project shoots. I enjoy project shoots because I have a greater control over the entire process. From location and time, to lighting and outfits, I want it all dialed in to my vision.
Something that I learned, but is quite obvious, is having an assistant or two really helps a lot. Even if its one extra person to help with positioning the lighting, that takes a load off my plate so I can focus on the more important task at hand.
Not necessarily a learning, but I've really enjoyed photographing street fashion this year. I find that it's much easier to plan than a full blown project, and blends the aspects of my photography styles of portraits and street photography. It's been really fun to explore and find interesting looking places to shoot.
I Still Suck at Lighting
Well, more accurately I still suck at artificial lighting. When I use my strobe as a fill light, things are fine. However as a sole light source, I still struggle to grasp a good way of lighting a subject. While my preferred style is to shoot in available light (darkness), as I do more projects this is an area I will need to shore up.
Not as Many Location Scouting Adventures
This year I didn't go on many location scouting adventures as I'd have liked. I only went to three locations, two of which were close to each other geographically and visited in the same day. While not something bad, by not venturing out to find new places, I feel that I'm not trying to get out of my comfort zone.
Too Old for Long Road Trips
A bit tongue in cheek, but in 2017 I took a road trip with friends from San Francisco to Seattle. That was a pretty grueling 16 hour drive, with a lot of stops, some snow, and not much sleep. It'd probably be more enjoyable if the car was bigger or less people, but I'm not so eager to do that again. That being said, the drive itself was quite beautiful and I wish it were more of a leisurely trip so that we could stop off at interesting places along the way.
Looking Forward to 2018
The biggest improvement that I'd like to make for 2018 is to do more projects with a concept. For the most part, most of my projects focused heavily on the outfit and not expressing any particular idea or emotion. While not bad per se, I feel that to grow as a photographer, I should take the time to conceptualize and synthesize an idea and base the entire project, outfit included, around that concept.
More shooting and less editing. The eternal dream of all photographers! In all seriousness, I'd like to streamline my workflows more so that I spend less time editing. I've toyed with the idea of just editing JPGs since the GFX produces monstrously detailed JPGs and most of my cosplay photos will be displayed on the web or mobile anyways.
Lastly, I'd just like to travel more. Besides the one road trip to Seattle, I haven't gone anywhere in 2017. I'd like to change that. See the world and all that jazz!
Thanks for reading! I hope that you have a Happy New Year and will continue to support me in 2018!