2012 Accomplishments

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:

  1. Lingering in the moment more often
  2. Learning new photography skills
  3. Improving my post-photo processing
  4. Redirecting my blog and keeping it going
  5. 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.

The Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg

The Trellis Restaurant in Colonial Williamsburg

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 photographyI 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.

See the other photographer on the right side?  Oh wait, that's my husband!

See the other photographer on the right side? Oh wait, that’s my husband!

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.

Riverfront in Savannah, Georgia; taken with my iPhone

Riverfront in Savannah, Georgia; taken with my iPhone

21 thoughts on “2012 Accomplishments

  1. I’m glad to hear that you’ve traveled to the photographic land of RAW and have remained there. I switched over permanently in 2006 and have been thankful ever since for all the details I’ve been able to recover from difficult pictures.

  2. And we get the benefit of seeing all those lovely photos!! The whole idea is to learn and grow doing something you love to do which is excalty what you have done. Pat your self on the back! What a positive post.

  3. Hi Nancy! I just popped over to say hello after you commented on my blog and what a great post to find first! I learned a lot about you. I love photography too but consider myself very amateur/hobby level. I’ve heard lots of folks talk of the benefits of shooting in RAW and have been thinking of trying it, but have been daunted by the huge file size and the need to always edit ( I like to go SOOC as much as possible!). My computer is several years old and doesn’t always run at top speed – do you think shooting in RAW might cause problems for someone like me?

    • Karen – welcome to my blog! Thanks for subscribing!

      The raw photos are often good enough to publish as is, but if you don’t ever want to tweak, then you might want to stay with jpg. As for speed, it depends on what you’re doing. I took a series of butterfly and hummingbird moth shots last year, and I set my camera to jpg on continuous shoot. Without jpg, my camera wouldn’t have recorded fast enough to keep up as those boogers kept flitting around. I also flip to jpg when the dogs are moving quickly. Raw isn’t fast enough.

      Your camera might have a setting to record both raw and jpg at the same time. It’ll take up a lot of room, so make sure to keep extra SD cards with you. It would be a good way to dip in your toe and try it out.

      As for the huge file size, I use a separate hard drive to keep the photos that I don’t edit. I went to Ginter today (local botanical garden) and shot 900 pictures, which is 300 if I didn’t bracket. My first pass is to decide which of each bracket I like, then I edit which pictures I like. So I’m done to about 200 that are possible to use. The other 700 either got deleted or moved off onto the extra hard drive.

      I hope that helps. Yearend close gets bad next week, so I won’t be doing much on my blog for the next few weeks. Towards the end of the month, I’ll try to do a few posts on raw over at my other blog, A Daily Life (http://dogear6.com).

      Remember to make this the year of big mistakes! Go out and EXPERIMENT!
      https://livingtheseasons.com/2012/12/31/happy-new-year/

      Nancy

  4. Nancy, I keep hearing people talk about shooting in RAW, but have no concept of what the process is, or entails. I think I need to learn, because your work was good before, and now it is amazing! Those lights in your header and the house in the last shot are something I am unable to capture at the moment. So much to learn and I’m chicken to try… But the thought has occurred to me just now, that I am suffering from a “FILM” mentality and this is the digital age. Make a mistake? Just dump it. ;)

    • You betcha. I can’t believe the pressure my husband had on all of his film shots to get them right without a redo. I love being able to experiment and not worry about film and processing costs.

      I will say though that my husband has been very encouraging with experimenting. He’s been doing this for years and recently realized that I really good on my own. I think it surprised him, as much as it surprised me that he finally realized that I wasn’t doing the same thing he was and that was okay.

      So yes, please do take inspiration from me and get out there and experiment! Remember – this is the year for BIG mistakes. And remember to use a tripod and remote release for those night shots :)

  5. I took a photo class with the Appalachian mountain club last May and was “taught” to use raw. I don’t have photoshop at home though so I stalled. I admire your gains. Keep on pushing on!

    • Thanks Paige! I think to use raw effectively, Lightroom is the way to go. Photoshop can do the same thing, but it’s a lot more steps and when you close Photoshop, the changes flatten and are much harder to change.

      • Nancy- I thought I posted a comment recently but it may not have actually posted. If you are a Goodreads member I would be interested in “following” you if you let me know your penname…or look me up, Paige Woodruff

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