Back in January, I made a New Year’s resolution that I would take at least 50 pictures a week, and I was quite diligent in fulfilling that goal for a couple of months. But as time went by, I found it harder and harder to meet my quota. What I had not considered was how challenging it would be to find suitable subjects, or even go out and photograph, week after week. If I was in a photographically rich environment and took 150 pictures this week, then I still had to get 50 more next week. I began to feel as though I had “wasted” those extra 100 photos; after all, according to my rules, they didn’t “carry over” to the following week.
To address this, I began finding myself trying to limit the amount of photographs I took in any given week. So, if I was in a particularly good location, I might take 80 pictures one week and come back the next week and get another 70. Sure, I could simply take pictures indiscriminately, but I wanted to capture images that were more than snapshots. I wanted photographs that at least satisfied my own sense of aesthetics and artistry. And this became increasingly difficult to do on a weekly basis. Most importantly, though, I wasn’t having fun anymore.
So, I decided to modify my goal slightly. Rather than 50 pictures a week, my new goal is 250 pictures per month. Now if I shoot 150 pictures in one location the first week of the month, I now only have 100 more to go over the next three weeks. This has taken a great deal of pressure off of me and has brought back the fun I was having originally. I still try to go out and shoot most weekends, but now, if I’m just not feeling it one day, I don’t worry about it. But the requirement remains the same. No snapshots – only images that satisfy me artistically.
One thing I have discovered happening as I continue working on my resolution is that I am beginning to see things in a photographic sense that I would not have seen before. And, I am trying new things I would not have tried before. I never did much macro photography in the past. Now, if I see something I think would make for a good macro subject, like the dandelion, I get my equipment set up and shoot it. I have never done street photography before. In fact, if there were people in a scene, I wouldn’t shoot it. Now, if an interesting street scene catches my attention, as it did of the couple eating dinner on the San Antonio River Walk, I grab the camera and get the shot.
While my resolution has proven to be challenging to meet, it has nonetheless been enlightening and rewarding. I can tell that my photographic vision has gotten stronger and my photographic skills have improved far more than I would ever have imagined. I probably delete as many, if not more, shots now than I ever did. In fact, when I look at some of my photographs from just six or eight months ago that I thought were pretty good, now I look at them and wonder “What in the world were you thinking?” But, I think that’s a sign of progress as, with every passing week, my artistic standards must move higher and higher to match my photographic improvement.
I guess, in the end, improvement is the purpose of any resolution.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 400mm, 1/40 sec, f/16, 68mm extension tube