A few days ago, I sat and wrote down 25 accomplishments from 2012. It was quite satisfying to end up with a list of 34, quite a change from several years ago where it took several tries to get a minimal list of accomplishments that I could feel good about.
In the review of my 2012 goals, I commented on how my accomplishments veered off from my goals – which was a good thing. The goals were my intentions for the year and were never meant to be all-inclusive or even to all be done. I accomplished many of them, but I also jettisoned the ones that did not work or appeal to me as the year went on (the discussion of how I set and use goals is here; my game plan for accomplishing my goals is here, and my 2012 goals recap is here).
So what were my top 5 accomplishments from 2012? They were:
- Lingering in the moment more often
- Learning new photography skills
- Improving my post-photo processing
- Redirecting my blog and keeping it going
- Traveling for photos
Lingering in the moment – I wrote earlier about how I was lingering in the moment versus savoring it (here). It was an ah-ha moment into the enjoyment I was getting from stretching out the small pleasures of life. I relaxed and enjoyed myself more when I lingered, however briefly it may have been.
Learning new photography skills – this one probably most impacted my goals, along with next one of improving my post-photo processing. During 2012, I started shooting in raw. This helped me better capture the red and yellow colors and have a better chance of improving my photos if they were less than perfect out of the camera. With a jpg, the camera makes the decisions for color balance, lighting, contrasts, lights and darks. With raw, I make those decisions.
I also started bracketing my shots, so that each time I took a photo, there was one where I thought the setting should be, one a little lighter and one a little darker. Usually the first setting worked out fine, but in quite a few situations, the lighter or darker one saved a photo from being deleted because it didn’t work out right.
What else did I do? I learned how to do night photography. I shot in the rain. I practiced self-portraits, focusing manually (on a tiny spider), backlighting, taking a video, and using my iPhone. The more I practiced, the better I got and the more keepers I came home with.
Improved my post-photo processing skills – because I’m now shooting in raw, I have to adjust most pictures before I publish them. It’s not hard and I’m not doing a lot of adjustments. Still, it took quite a while to learn how to use Lightroom and what kinds of adjustments I would typically need on a typical picture. I also learned how to watermark my pictures and export them from raw to a jpg to publish in my blog. It doesn’t seem hard now, but it took me quite a while to master the various sliders and buttons to a good workflow that I could do quickly.
Redirected my blog and kept it going – I wrote about this when I reviewed my 2012 goals (here). In 2011, I posted everyday using a randomly selected word, along with a fellow blogger who posts at KittyHere or There, Anywhere. It was a great accomplishment, but in 2012, I wanted the freedom to blog whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, that took me a while to figure out what that was. In April and May, I was visited by a massive load of discouragement that I worked through. It was a big effort accomplishment, but I was glad I did it.
Traveling for photos – I also did a daily photo challenge in 2011. One of the pieces of advice I read was to do field trips for photos, both to find things to take pictures of and to remain interested and interesting. I continued this in 2012, even though I didn’t do a daily photo challenge. My favorite boy toy, who is a professional photographer, loved it as we took a number of daytrips and overnight trips to take pictures together.
My 2011 list has some similarities to the 2012 list. 2011 saw me starting to adventure into these things; 2012 saw me refining and improving my skills considerably. Overall, I’m pleased with what I did in 2012 and the joy it gave me.
I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at www.livingtheseasons.com.