Category Archives: Reflections

2014 Resolutions

Tierney, playing with hair in an evening dress
Little Big Town on stage at Peoria Civic Center (2013)

Little Big Town (2013)

What would a new year be like without a ritual where we set lofty goals and expectations for ourselves to stave off apathy for a few more weeks than normal? So, with my eyes once again looking to the future and my recipe for freshly baked disappointment already brewing in the pot, it’s time to share my photography resolutions for 2014!

Before we dive in, I want to check the list of 2013 resolutions and see how I fared.

  • Interact/Educate/Update
    I like to be positive so I won’t say this was a total loss. While the blog posts may have been hit or miss at times, I do think that I really did some engaging via other social media platforms.
  • Travel
    My schedule this year didn’t allow for a lot of traveling, but I did visit three brand new places: Chattanooga, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Garden of the Gods. If you count my honeymoon, then there’s four including Cancun, Mexico!
  • Projects & Concepts
    I’m a positive person, but honestly, I didn’t do as much with this as I would have liked.
  • Workshops
    No workshops in 2013, but I did host a very successful photowalk back at Hanna City.
  • Experiment
    Again… schedule was pretty tight so didn’t spend as much time as I wanted. No worries… we’ll get it the next time round.

2014 Resolutions

Well, 2013 wasn’t the best of years for resolutions, but let’s take another stab at it this year! Here we go…

  1. Shoot More
    Unfortunately, 2013 was a “slow” year in term’s of photographs taken; I only captured about 1/3 of what I usually do in a year. This isn’t a bad thing – like the tide, everyone needs a little ebb and flow for balance – but I truly feel like it is time to really get back into my craft and to dive a little deeper this year. Plus… this year, none of the weddings I am attending are my own so my schedule is a little more open.
  2. Sepia tone image of Tierney playing with her hair

    Tierney (2011)

    Edit Less
    In the past, I’ve set a lofty goal for myself of finishing shoot edits within one to two weeks. While I’m pretty good at getting this done for clients and models, when it comes to my own personal work, I suck at it. Case in point… I have some personal images from a wedding I shot in 2010 that I haven’t touched yet.

    The reason for the lag is my slight OCD – I feel like I have to edit every single image and not picking out the best of the best to touch and leaving the others to sit. It’s time for a change and I think I’m going to do just that; force myself to pick only the best and work on those. This should speed things up… right?

  3. Spread the Word
    I really have my heart on expanding my client base and getting some solid paying gigs. I enjoy working with portrait clients so much and I really missed that last year. I also want to look at doing some more in terms of marketing my services, including writing more blog posts for clients and not just for photographers.
  4. Blow Off the Dust
    If you think my editing is slow for personal projects, don’t even ask me about my portfolio galleries. I try to keep my best fine art material available for sale, but when it comes to my portrait galleries, I’m missing years of work that I haven’t had time to upload. Within the next three months, I plan on not only uploading all my updated material, but to really spend some time on refocusing my portfolio to better meet my vision and craft.
  5. Tear It Down
    Not only will I be overhauling my portfolio galleries, but I have looked at new designs for the site over the past few months and I am ready to redesign and revamp the site. I just needed the time and the next few months are looking pretty good. Stay tuned!

2014 is shaping up to be an exciting year so make sure to check back often or use one of our subscribe features to stay up to date on what is happening.

Got a 2014 resolution you want to share? I’d love to hear it. Leave a comment below!

Weathering the Storm

Destruction from Washington, Illinois Tornado

Destroyed ranch house I drive by everyday; only 5 blocks from my home

Monday mornings at the office should consist of procrastination, too many cups of coffee, and thorough procrastination for the projects that lie before us. That’s why many Monday mornings consist of recapping the uneventful happenings of the past weekend. This was not to be the case for yesterday’s Monday morning routine. Here in central Illinois, our discussions revolved around survival, blessings, giving thanks, and destruction unlike anything we’ve ever experienced or have seen.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, my place of residence, the amazing small town of Washington, Illinois, came under attack, not by any tangible foe, but by the sheer destructive power that is an EF-4 tornado. The wife and I have been Washingtonians for a little less than two years now, but we’ve grown to love this little town and the people we call our neighbors, no matter the distance that lies between our homes.

Sunday was a day of tragedy, but also of thanksgiving. Fortunately, we were spared and, other than a 27 hour power outage, had no damage to our home. This was not the case for many of our fellow Washingtonians. It has been a very weird time around Washington with boil and water conservation orders in place, a city-wide curfew of 6 p.m. nightly and much of the city blocked off from traffic.

Farm House Destroyed by Washington, Illinois tornado

Destroyed farm house I drive by everyday; only 5 blocks from my home

Things are getting better by the day, but there is still a long way to go to cleaning up our little town. The scars left on the land may heal within a year, but those left on our hearts, will take much longer, especially for those who were directly impacted. You can disagree with me all you want, but our little town was attacked by a force so powerful that it can wipe away the lives of hundreds of people within minutes (and did).

The worst part is that we can’t fight back and we can’t blame; how do you argue with or fight back against nature? You can’t. You are helpless in that moment, huddled in the basement in the dark, praying for the all clear signal to come fast. And, now, we are helpless to those “neighbors” from across town who are wondering where to go from here and how they rebuild or replace that which can’t be ever truly returned.

Giving Back a Little

While I don’t have much to give except for volunteering when the time is right, I’ve decided to do some fundraising of my own instead. I have two ideas… the first will start now and run for the next few months and the second will happen sometime next year when the rebuilding of lives really starts to happen.

For starters, I will be donating 100% of my profits from print sales on the website to the American Red Cross. Starting today, if you purchase a print through my online galleries, not only can you get an amazing photo print for your wall, but you can help to rebuild my hometown and the lives of many across central Illinois.

2013 Resolutions

It’s that time of year again, kids… the end. This is when nutty photographers and creative artists like myself become more reflective than the gold side of a 5-in-1 Lastolite TriGrip. All this thinking probably stems from our attention deficit-like nature and the inability to be outside playing in the warm light of sunshine. Either way, I’ve taken some time over the past week to really reflect on my craft and my vision so I’m ready to share with all of you my 2013 photography resolutions.

A Recap of the Past Year

Before we dive into my 2013 resolutions, I think it’s valuable to take a look at how well I was able to meet my resolutions for the past year. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Hammer Down (2012) - HDR photo of the interior of a rusted truck

    “Hammer Down” (2012)

    Shoot Less, Shoot Better
    I’m pretty sure this saying is now a cornerstone in the foundation of my photography and always will be. Did I work on it? Most definitely. I took almost 50 percent less photographs this year than I did in 2011, but yielded a lot more portfolio-level work.

  • Keep It Personal
    Unfortunately, I didn’t really pursue this one as much as I would have liked to. While I did limit the amount of unpaid portrait sessions I was doing and focused on more personal projects when I was out shooting, overall I spent more time focused on other priorities in my life: enrolling in graduate school, working on the new house, web design projects, etc.
  • Build a Client & Fan Base
    I will always be working on this one as well, but with less of a “heads on” approach. I find that be more natural, open, honest, and sharing/interacting one-on-one with clients and those I meet at art fairs yields stronger and more reliable relationships overall. I definitely grew my client and fan base this year, but I have ideas on how to expound on those ideas I learned in 2013.
  • Travel
    I am also going to carry this one over in 2013 as I’d like to do more traveling with photography in mind. I was able to travel within the region a decent bit and always took my camera with me plus I scratched three major “travel” items off my bucket list this year: meet Joe McNally, attend Photoshop World, and visit Washington, DC.
  • Experiment
    I am happy to say I was able to expand my knowledge of some photography techniques I hadn’t tried up until this year. While I want to keep on experimenting and exploring my craft, as you’ll see in my resolutions below, I was able to play around with extended shutter speeds and long exposures, capturing streaming water, night photography, and a variety of new post-processing techniques.

New Resolutions for a New Year

Do you hear that drum roll? That must mean it’s time for the main course. So, without further adieu, let’s dive into what I hope to master in 2013.

  • Artsy (2012) - Female model, Kirsten, posing with her dSLR camera

    “Artsy” (2012)

    The blog is almost two years old now as are my social media sites so I’d like to spend the next year focusing in on them. I hope to offer more frequent postings on a variety of photography topics for both photographers and models/clients alike. I am also hoping to better engage my readers and fans with some fun and exciting content including getting my toes wet in the world of video.

  • Travel
    As I said above, I hope to do a little more traveling this year than last year with my eye specifically on places to photograph. This may be tough with my wedding happening in October, but my goal is to visit at least two places that I’ve never been and revisit one that I have.
  • Projects & Concepts
    I had this idea in mind for 2012, but it didn’t pan out as well as I would like so I’m going to challenge myself to developing at least two of my photo shoot concept ideas and start the capture process, if not finish.
  • Workshops
    I planned and executed my first HDR Workshop a few months ago; I loved putting it together so much that I’d like to explore other opportunities to share my love for photography and my passion for teaching with those in the central Illinois area who would like to attend. Stay tuned right here on the site as I will share the details here first!
  • Experiment
    Just like last year, I want to push my boundaries. For Christmas, I received my first film camera: a Diana+ lomography camera. I’m super excited to explore some multiple exposure and pinhole images with that. In addition, I plan on exploring the use of light-painting beyond what I did in 2012. Lastly, I would like to spend some time working on extended exposures and night photography including light trails.

Well, that about wraps it up for me!

Do you have any New Year resolutions for 2013, photography-related or otherwise? Share them in the comments below!

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