Moving Forward

By Sunday, January 6, 2013 grafphoto

Patterned driftwood in dunes, Silver Lake Dunes, Michigan, Nikon 24 mm PC-E tilt/shift lens

Inspired in part by my friend Carl’s post on Photography Goals, this time of year always seems to have me thinking about what I want to do with my work.   This time of year is always filled with “resolutions” which I don’t do, but I do reflect upon what I would like to do just to give my creative aspirations some direction instead of wandering about aimlessly.  What hit me most poignantly was Carl’s mention of some advice he received from Craig Tanner … that all that really mattered to him is moving forward with his work.

For me, moving forward is about looking at what I have been able to do and strengthening those abilities, and also looking at what aspects of my photography may be missing and how I want to address it.   On the subject side, I tend to start a lot of different projects as ideas, and then they may fizzle completely when it comes to developing them further.   I often find themes that would make for a really great project, and then I am not able to find enough images to match up with what the theme was about.  Other projects tend to be more long term with no specific “endpoint.”  I create a Lightroom folder and drop images into it when the subject fits.    I think in the field I am becoming more project oriented instead of just shooting whatever catches my eye.

Those may be technical strengths / weaknesses, subjects I may want to explore, or skills that I need to work on.   I know in 2012, I felt like I was not using my tilt-shift lenses to their full potential.   So I purchased a couple of e-books, and began taking those in the field with me instead of their focal length equivalents in normal lenses.   I really like wide angle shots with close foreground subjects, and traditionally have worked those using hyperfocal distances and my wide angle lenses.   Well, using my 24 mm PC-E lens the way it should be used helped me recognize how much sharpness I could obtain throughout the image.   Often you don’t realize how much sharper something can be until you are able to compare side by side using both methods in the field.  I don’t feel like I have enough experience with them yet to write intelligently about them, but someday in the future perhaps as I gain more experience.

Here are some areas that I hope to expand in my photography for 2013;

Long Exposure photography

I have always been a fan of this, especially around shorelines.   Most of the work I have done to date is within the 30 second metering range of most modern cameras.  I want to go beyond that more often.   I just recently ordered a long exposure remote release for my camera, so I hope to go exploring beyond that 30 second range more often.   Just call me Bulb Boy.

Wide world at f1.4

I started this over a year or so ago using my 24 f1.4 lens.  I have long been a fan of shallow DOF.  It was a counteraction to the typical use of wide angles using the most DOF possible.  Well, the project turned out harder than I thought.   Even though I shot quite a few images this way, very few “worked” in my opinion.   I need to work this more to learn how to identify situations that are good candidates for viewing the world in this way.

Stonescapes & Abstract Expressionism

This Inspired by Stone project has been ongoing for years.  I didn’t add many in 2012, I only made one post about it. (!)  I have so many rocks piled up in my office, Fred Flintstone should be working here.   So I hope to at least get caught up with the slabs I have.

Panoramic Macros

This is something I started in 2012 with the help of getting more familiar with my tilt-shift lenses.   I hope to do more in 2013.   Better yet, that I sell one of these that really takes advantage of the 80 MP images!


I mentioned this in my 2012 favorites post – I have enough images as a good start to a project, I will probably do some more in 2013.

Turbulent Seas

Another theme subject I started gathering images for.   At the start I knew it would be difficult to accumulate a lot of images for this as I need to be out in significant storms for it.   With our changing climate, I have no doubt 2013 is going to bring some whoppers of storms.  Whether I will be out in or around them is another story.  We shall see…

This is at least a start for me – at least I have identified the subject areas, and more will come up along the way I am sure.  In fact, looking that this list is freaking me out a little – that is a lot of territory to cover! 🙂   Maybe 3 out of 6 is a better target…

What types of things to you see yourself doing to move forward in 2013?



Join the discussion 21 Comments

  • Sandra says:

    Very strong monochrome work, Mark. I love the graphical look and the dramatic sky.
    Good luck with your 2013 projects – looking forward to seeing more.
    Sandra recently posted…~ Frozen trees ~My Profile

  • That is an abitious list for sure but I admire you for making a challenging one. I have a couple of ideas for subjects to focus on for the coming year, but I think I need to solidify these or I wont take action on them. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Anne McKinnell recently posted…Top 5 Best Photography eBooks of 2012My Profile

  • Good for you if you could just give me a little nudge forward just to get me started lol !!
    Bernie Kasper recently posted…The Skipper brave and sureMy Profile

  • Greg Russell says:

    This is a great list; it’s certainly ambitious, but I know lots of great things can come out of it. As you saw on my blog today, i’m also looking ahead, not really thinking about any particular projects, but mostly I am engaging in some introspection regarding personal style and vision, and about the craft in general. I’m looking forward to some trips this month to help grease the wheels, so to speak. 🙂


    • Mark says:

      Funny, I actually started writing this post with some of those aspects in mind, and ended up going in the way of the ongoing projects. Sometimes I don’t know where I will finish with! Sometimes that lack of knowing carries over a little bit too much into the field. 🙂

  • Earl says:

    Mark, it sounds like you’ve a list for 2013 which offers a wonderful variety with both artistic and technical appeal. I think it’s good to have multiple projects underway at one time with fluid movement between them as you see fit. I believe this preserves the “freshness” and helps keep the inner fire burning. I’m particularly interested to see/hear more from you in the “tilt-shift lens” and “wide world” area.

    Have a productive year!
    Earl recently posted…Olympus OM-D: Get a better grip with the HLD-6 Battery GripMy Profile

  • Paul says:

    I forgot to say that looking at this wonderful image, I thought about perspective control lens, then I remembered how much they cost and, well, I could buy a few plane tickets for that. 🙂 So, I guess that will have to stay off of the list for now.
    Paul recently posted…The guardianMy Profile

    • Mark says:

      That is what kept me from getting one for the longest time. And they aren’t the easiest thing to use – so I although I really liked the results, I am really on the fence on the benefit vs. the making choices on which type of lens to carry.

      I didn’t mean for my list to be overly ambitious – just a number of projects I have been accumulating that someday I would like to turn into something more tangible. 🙂

  • Paul says:

    Wow, Mark. I’m glad that I don’t have your list – I’d probably be doomed to failure. 🙂 My list is substantially shorter, probably 2 items long – you know, nice and manageable. 1. Travel specifically for photography. 2. Make those travel photos into folios or projects. That’s about it. Oh, and a 3rd one. Meet some more bloggers! Yeah. That’s it!
    Paul recently posted…The guardianMy Profile

  • Good of you to share your outline for the year. Interesting to read how photographers like you and Carl are investing your time. I believe a list pays off quite well at certain stages of development as a photographer, but sometimes it pays not to have a list. Even though I am full-time in the business of photography, my own work is part time on the side. Thus I am fortunate to still be at the stage where most photographs are spontaneous and an adventure into the unknown, though I do find I am planning more as time goes on. I do pre-visualize regularly. Also, I have goals as to where I will exhibit my work, what to learn next, what to practice and that sort of thing too. I’m sure I will get to the stage where I get much more organized about it, but I am extremely organized in so many other areas of my life that I enjoy keeping photography fun and light, at least for now.
    David Leland Hyde recently posted…My 12 “Greatest Hits” Of 2012My Profile

    • Mark says:

      Sounds like you have quite the list also David. I often have a hard time sticking to a particular goal when I go out, and leave my self open to the spontaneous possibilities you mention.

  • Your list puts mine to shame as I have no list. Well, that’s not totally true as I do have an ongoing project list. I just may have to spend more time at a list. I journal and know putting things down in black and white is a good way to move forward. I suppose the one thing I do want to expand in the coming year is with portraits. Another would be camping in locations with the hope for new landscapes images.
    Monte Stevens recently posted…A Few FavoritesMy Profile

  • ken bello says:

    WOW!!! An ambitious list, indeed. All of these projects I find interesting and I can’t wait to see what your spin on them will be like. By that I mean you have to make these projects your own, with your mark.
    ken bello recently posted…hazy shade of winterMy Profile

  • Anita Jesse says:

    Like you, I have discovered that my list is unmanageably long. I am in the process of editing it. Your list is certainly impressive. And, wow, the tilt-shift lenses produce incredible sharpness. The photo for this post is amazing.

    So, it isn’t my imagination—you haven’t beem posting those wonderful rock abstracts. As much as I enjoy everything you post, those rank high on my list of favorites.

    These are all fascinating goals and, while they don’t match mine—no turbulent water nearby and no tilt shift lenses in my future, for example, your list inspires me to re-examine my own.
    Anita Jesse recently posted…Post #1 for 2013My Profile

    • Mark says:

      Well Anita, I didn’t count on even this list to be this long when I started this post. 🙂 But as I started thinking about it, I kept adding this one, and that one, and before I knew it… well, you can see.

      Thanks for your support on the rock abstracts, I have been meaning to return to them for some time… I just go into a funk over the summer, and then spent fall doing other things. They are still a high priority for me, so you will be seeing more soon.

      Thanks for your remarks Anita.

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