New Year’s Photo Resolutions

New Year's Baby - Austin, Texas

New Year’s Baby – Austin, Texas

As a the calendar flips over again to start a new year, I started thinking of what 2012 my bring for my photography and blogging. I’m generally not much into New Year’s resolutions. I figure, why wait for the beginning of the year to start a new habit? If something is worth changing, doesn’t it make sense to change it immediately? I won’t bore you with non-photographic stuff. I did want to discuss observations and changes that have occurred in my photographic realm and my guess at the future direction of these trends.

I talked about some of this in a post called Canon losing the buzz, why I’m not interested but I’ve noticed this year that my interest in using my big Canon SLR has been decreasing. The initial trend started more than a year ago when I got my first mirrorless EVIL camera, the Sony NEX-5. I would carry by NEX-5 and the Canon 7D along on photo walks. I discovered, however, that the small Sony camera gave me a freedom of composition and expression that I didn’t have with the larger camera. Mid-year this year. I purchased the Olympus E-PL1, initially to play with and to get a color and exposure that I wasn’t getting on my Sony. It turned out that the slightly clunky E-PL1 especially with the Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens have become my go to camera for casual shooting. When I want a camera to make snaps of may family, the Olympus is in tow. When I want slightly more “serious” images from my photowalks, I still press the Olympus into service. The 40mm equivalent format is really easy to shoot but it also challenges me to see and make interesting compositions. I no longer, just relay upon super-wide images with HDR enhancements to make interesting shots. I’m hoping to create worthwhile images even with a lens that has a normal view and with a single exposure. I’m not sure if I’m succeeding or not but I’m starting to see changes in my newer images. I also feel more freedom when I’m no longer tendered to a larger camera and a tripod. I can move around easily, unencumbered and really explore alternate compositions. For 2012, I’m going to continue with this style. Less weight, more flexibility and a simpler way of shooting.

I also learned that skills and ability drop quickly. The downside of all this shooting with my small cameras is my loss of familiarity with my Canon DSLR. When I used the 7D all the time, I knew the controls and could make adjustments quickly. Now, when I pickup the camera, I’m sluggish and I need to search through my brain to set the controls. Recently, during my son’s school performance and at the Christmas gift opening, I broke out the good old 7D. I immediately noticed that my handling skills have dropped off and it took me a bit of fiddling to get the shots that I used to get with ease. Bounce flashes off the ceiling weren’t exposed right. I eventually got dialed back in but my hard learned skills were fading quicker than I imagined. While I’m planning to use the smaller cameras more than ever, I must remember to use my Canon and keep my skills refreshed. That, unfortunately, is the downside of having several different cameras — different interfaces. I need to rotate though my cameras to keep their usage parameters fresh in my head.

I’m still looking for the elusive camera/video multi-function camera, maybe 2012 will be the year. When I bought my NEX-5 back in 2010, I thought this might be the camera that combines high quality still images with an easily usable, auto-focusing video camera. As I wrote in The Sony NEX-5 Review and the new NEX-5n there were a few limitations with the NEX-5 that ultimately disappointed. The NEX-5n has addressed much of my frustrations but I’ve decided to wait. There are rumors of a new Fujifilm EVIL camera coming out, there is always a chance that Canon might finally address this high quality mirrorless market. This market is rapidly changing and I’m excited to see what is in store for this coming year. What will the successor to the NEX-5n be like? Will a Olympus E-P4 come out with a better low light sensor and better video? Will Nikon release large aperture primes (at least f2.0 or better) for their Nikon 1 line? Of course, If I do end up getting yet another camera, I exacerbate the issue I talked about in the previous paragraph. I add yet another interface to the array of interfaces that I need to remember.

Shifting gears to social media, I’ve noticed that in 2011, keeping up with my photo friends have increasing been difficult. It used to be simple for me. Everyone I knew was on Flickr. Now people have scattered to the different social medial islands that compete for our attention. Google+ is the new shiny site that has pulled many photographers away from Flickr and Twitter. There is also that large Facebook world and lone island that is personal blogs. I have two blogs, this one which has longer form posts and mostlyfotos which is my daily photoblog. I’ve developed these sites over the last year and a half and put significant effort in to them. And while I like how they are shaping up, concentrating too much on my site isolates me from my online friends. This year, I need to return to my roots, somewhat. I need to post more on Flickr again. When I return there, it feel like I’m back in the neighborhood in which I was born. Some of my old friends are still around and posting just as much. Some of the gang have left for greener pastures and are no longer around. I probably can’t spend as much time as I originally did a couple of years ago but I need to show up more often on Flickr. I’m still unsure of the Google+ world. While I have posted some to G+, I really have not spent the time to make too many new friends. I’ve bumped into people I know from Flickr, which is aways a pleasant surprise. It feels like running into an elementary school friend in the large out-of-state University. Social media seem to be changing quicker than cameras so I know I won’t have this figured out in 2012. I will just have to make adjustments that seem to make sense.

Finally, I’ve learned that writing is a skill like photography. I don’t know if my writing has improved any over the last couple of years but I find that I can craft together posts quicker than before. I also found that I have no shortage of topics and ideas that I can write about. Maybe, if I keep at this, my writing skill will continue to improve and I’ll be able to crank out these posts. Of course, blog post creation time has to complete with photography, photo processing and organizing not to mention all the rest of my life activities, so it is always an uphill battle to find time. I hope 2012 will bring more interesting and useful posts to anyone that my stumble upon my blog and my photography. I hope you all have a great 2012.

Happy New Year

7 thoughts on “New Year’s Photo Resolutions

  1. I started on a Canon T3, then segued to the PL-1 … and this Christmas, bought myself the E-P3. I finally decided that since the little Olympus is my “real” camera now,I want the extra speed of the P3 as well as the better quality LCD. I am hoping it will be worth the price. I believe it is. I haven’t done a lot of shooting with it yet, but now that the holidays are ending, it’s time to go out and take a lot of pictures. My test shots have been quite beautiful, though to be fair, the PL-1 gives amazing results too.

    The big difference, as I expected, is the speed. It recycles faster than a speeding bullet. It focuses very very fast … faster than any other camera I’ve ever handled. Very impressive. Reviews to the contrary notwithstanding, I have not found the menu system any more difficult than those on the PL-1. in fact, the menus are not much different: there are simply more of them. The documentation is as bad as ever … which is to say useless and there is no “E-P3 for Dummies,” But: the menus are sufficiently familiar that I am doping them out. So far, so good.

    If you haven’t wrapped your hands around the P3 yet, you might enjoy it. It is not a giant leap forward, but it is an upgrade. Happy 2012!

    1. Marilyn, the E-P3 is indeed a beautiful and very fast camera. The first time I played with it in the store, I thought it wasn’t working properly since it was focusing almost instantaneously — it was that fast. I did notice that the focusing speed was somewhat dependent on the attached lens. The Lumix 20mm f1.7, for example, was not nearly as speedy as the kit lens. I also like the fact the E-P3 takes 5 exposures in a bracket, which I could use for HDR, If I choose to do so. We will see what 2012 brings. Thanks for your visit and have a Happy New Year.

  2. Thanks for sharing your insights… As for me I found myself using the Panasonic LX3 for the most part of 2010 and early part of 2011. I’ve gone back to DLSR and medium format film cams because I do miss them. Cheers. Keep up the good work. New Year’s blessings to you and yours.

    1. Rob, thanks for your visit and comment. It is certainly nice to have different tools that we can use for different events or moods. I’ve been curious about using a medium format camera one day. I’ll have to see how my camera usage will change over time.

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