Entering the last week of the year, it’s a natural impulse to look back and think about developments during the past fifty-one weeks, about goals met and missed, about skills acquired and others that still defy mastery, about places visited and others yet to be explored.
2013 was the year my interest in photography turned from a hobby into a commitment: a pursuit that I take seriously, that I think about deeply, that I practise regularly.
This year was the first time I’ve taken a week off work and gone on a trip with the sole purpose of taking photographs: a self-indulgent activity but one which gave me enormous pleasure.
The formative influences on my photography this past year have been my friends Denise, Don and Jeff, with whom I went on photography trips to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and the Palouse area of Washington State.
This was the year I delved into infrared (IR) photography and learned about faux colour IR processing. In this area, a major influence has been Mark Hilliard, whom I met for the first time in October and who has become a valued friend and mentor.
In April, I met another one of my heroes, spending a delightful day shooting with Teri Lou Dantzler, whose artistic genius I have admired for years.
2013 was the year I launched this website, my first, an endeavor which never would have gotten off the ground without the help of Denise and Don, and had the temerity to launch a weekly blog, an audacious conceit which I remain unsure my photography can support.
Yet I must admit that I have found the challenge of publishing a weekly blog post invaluable in keeping me focused on my photography, in giving me a reason to get out and shoot regularly and in making me contemplate how to explain vision and technique that go into the images I create with my camera. The purpose of my weekly blog is to share what I learn as I develop my photographic skill and vision; the positive feedback that I have received on my posts from other committed amateurs has been an indispensable support in ensuring that I keep meeting my self-imposed weekly publishing deadline.
I can’t really tell whether, during the past year, my photography has moved forward, backward, sideways or, indeed, gone nowhere at all. Whichever it was, it doesn’t overly concern me: I enjoy photography so much that I don’t allow myself to get weighed down fretting over such considerations. What matters is the enormous pleasure I have derived from visiting these places and taking these photographs.
These, I think, are the best twelve images I created in 2013.