Shooting Journal: New Seasons, New Ideas

The past months of neglect of both my photography and my website have led to making plans to do some things differently. Ohio's usually gloomy winter was fraught with both good and not-so-good stresses this year, and has caused me to reassess my goals for photography. The profusion of great and easy-to-use cameras has made it possible for most people to take good photographs and for the already skilled to create exceptional images. It's hard to stand out in the crowd these days. What to do?

Some of my time recently has been spent working on images I've always thought needed improvement. For example, a photo taken in County Kerry, Ireland, along the Dingle Peninsula, seemed less impressive than my memory of the flowers and rocks along that lovely shore. Using Curves in CS4 helped brighten and correct the color. I added some straightening and cropped it for better composition. Now I'm more satisfied with the feeling of the work. My plan is to review my portfolio to decide which images would benefit from this type of freshening. Knowing i can do better and now having the time to devote to this is great motivation. I like experimenting (well, playing) with the Topaz Adjust and Photoshop filters to give old work a different look. I shoot a lot in my own garden which is planted with tomatoes, herbs, and flowers. Some of my favorite subjects are botanicals and I've used these filters to see them differently. The sage poster and chives watercolor are examples of this.

My impending retirement from many years in the mental health profession will give me a lot of time to travel, including a celebratory visit to France. I'm expecting to return with many photos that will be both salable and memorable for us personally. However, another area of interest for me for the past year or two has been genealogy. Hopefully there will be time to visit the parts of eastern France from which part of my family emigrated to America. The area is a small triangle of the Bas Rhin above Biche in Alsace Lorraine and photographs of that area would add much to my understanding of their lives. I've found a renewed fascination with old family photos, as well. Some have been badly stored in my late parents' attic and just came into my possession. I bought a copy of Ctein's Digital Restoration to learn to do a better job of returning some of these great family records to glory. I may entice other family members to part with their own daguerrotypes, tintypes, ambrotypes, cartes de visite, etc. to scan into my files. I'm also toying with how to use a cache of old postcards sent by my grandparents to each other before their marriage. They are scanned into Photoshop but so far, I've not started that project. Instead I've spent time creating montages and a photographic family tree to share with other family members. After scanning a piece of embroidery I did as a child, I used it as a background to File>Place small shots of family members and home places. Good reviews so far from those who've seen it. I will possibly be adding some of this work to my Pinterest genealogy board.

Looking over this entry as I'm writing, I realize I haven't been neglecting my photography, just rethinking it. The coming months should give me the opportunity to work through this process more.

Sage Poster

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Spiced Chives

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Wildflowers & Lichen

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