Hey Everyone! The holidays are upon us and everyone is hustling and bustling to get things done before the family comes to visit or you go to someone else's house. And now that winter is here the weather isn't as photogenic as in the spring and fall. How do we keep our photographic edge when we don't go out as much to shoot? For me, it has become sort of a pattern that I've done the last couple of years, and it seems to help even though I don't get to shoot as much as I want. The trick is keeping your mind photography active. Thinking, learning something new, stepping out of your comfort zone.
This time of year I'm winding down from the biggest photo event of the year for me, which is my photo club's fall trip. This is usually a week full of photography-rich shooting situations, and the senses are alive with what to take next. This year we went to Washington DC for our fall trip (DC Fall Trip Blog Link), so I started early in the year getting geared up and experimenting with different camera and gear combos trying to figure out what to take with me and also researching the DC area and what photos look like that have been taken there before. Last year it was a big change for me, because I'm mostly a landscape and travel photographer, and street photography in DC was a new and exciting thing to get ready for. So there were lots of things to keep my mind photography active. This time of year we also have our Help Portrait event that you can read about in my last blog. Help Portrait Blog Link This year I was helping a young lady with her lights, and it really got my portrait juices flowing again. I used to do lots of portraits, but I have slowly gotten away from that. I enjoy taking the photos, but it's all of the other stuff I don't enjoy, like dealing with people. LOL... But this year I really enjoyed it. I sold all of my studio lights over the last couple of years, and all I had left were some manual flashes. I've heard a lot about the Godox/Flashpoint line of flashes and strobes that you can control all of your lights from your controller on camera. Big plus! Since I've gotten my Sony I haven't really done any flash photography. So I purchased some of the lights so I could play and take some portraits of the family during the holidays and also expand my photography knowledge.
Okay, I've wandered off subject a little. The point I was getting at is that you don't always have to be out taking photos to keep your edge. As long as your mind is actively thinking and learning about photography, you can keep from getting too rusty. So this time of the year I start preparing for next year and start learning new techniques. Yesterday, I downloaded the free trial version of Capture One editing software as an alternative to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I've heard a lot about it, and I'm going to try to learn all I can about it and play with the program for my free month. Every day while I commute to work I listen to podcasts about photography and learn about all kinds of things that I would never even have thought about if it were not for the podcast. I have written a blog that you can go to to see what I listen to. Podcast Blog Link I also look at YouTube and watch lots of webinars and video tutorials about different things instead of watching regular TV. This is a great way to learn stuff, and it's free! You can also go to CreativeLive website. They have all kinds of tutorial programing, and if you watch it live it's free.
So this time of the year is the time to plan for next year. Set goals, learn something new, and get out of your comfort zone. Last year I wanted to do some astro photography, so I did all the research, got geared up, planned a trip, and got some shots of the Milky Way. I'm looking forward to new gear that will come out next year, especially camera gear that is supposed to come out. My camera is a couple of years old, and there are rumors that a new one will come out this coming year. So I'm looking to see if it will be worth upgrading to. The same can be said about new lenses coming out this year also. I don't know where the next fall workshop will be, so I haven't started planning yet. This is also the time to get my camping trips soft scheduled for next year that my wife and I will be taking that I look forward to. Maybe I'll sneak in a festival or two and a backpacking trip or two. But now is the time to plan. Because if you're like me and wait until the last minute, you won't go. You'll find some sort of reason not to.
I hope this holiday season brings you much joy and happiness with family and friends and please always be safe. Take lots of holiday portraits and document your family's history! Keep shooting!