Saturday, December 29, 2007

The old and new year

This is the last post of 2007. And while I have drafts of about two dozen in the works, ideas expressed in a few sentences to get the jest of it down or whole essays awaiting the review and rewrite, this is about what has pased and what may pass in 2008. We all do this, but I won't make any resolutions besides the one I have made since 1999, to be in better health and fitness on my birthday than the year before.

I make this resolution every birthday to review where my health and exercise program is compared to the year before. I made this in 1999 after turning 50 and discovered in the previous year I had totally lost it. And all because of a career and new work which created the situation I've never fully recovered. But I can, and do, resolve to get back there if only in some small measure. I'll never fully get back to where I was at 48-49 years old where I really peaked with my running and hiking, but I can try, and that's all that matters, the effort to try.

So what has happened and what has been planned?

For one I got both my digital camera and my 4x5 camera systems. The extreme difference in photography thinking and work, but the basics don't change, the aesthetics of capturing and creating an image, and the knowledge and experience of the work itself, understanding light, exposure, and the rest.

I learned to simplify the digital camera where I can use it without too much thought, minus my own stupidity and absent mindedness, and can make adjustments when the circumstances warrant. I added a film body a few months later to have both cameras using the same lenses. I can't say the images so far are beyond good, but it's worth the effort. And the large format camera is really the fun and challenge. You are everything with it. Nothing happens until you do something.

I finally am learning more about Web design. I don't use template or wysiwyg programs, I like knowing and writing code. It's harder to do since you have to learn, or in my case adapt, some programs like java/javascript into the Web pages. And I'm still learning better Web (graphic) design since it's not me forte by any stretch. So I use the kiss principle and add improvements in increments.

And hopefully this year I'll add some flash and other image viewers, and even use some of the Web design tools on my Mac and the other packages I have. I still have to see where it would fit in without disrupting the overall consistent design I have for the whole new Website/pages design. I surf a number of photographers' and other Websites for ideas, but until I can find one that does everything and is fairly easily to learn and implement, I'll stick with what I like and what works.

I didn't get my business off the ground yet, but it's in the works for 2008 to become a legal business. But I really need to improve my work, learn some business management, build a better, larger portfolio and define what work I want to do for money. So far, I'm sticking with photo cards until I become better at printing 8x10 and larger prints. And get out in the field for more images, especially Mt. Rainier NP.

My photography guide to Mt. Rainier NP is coming along. I worked on the background information and resources. I update the news Web pages monthly. The plan is to continue with better maps (researching on-line map Websites with applications) for locating trails and places. After that, it's work on the 2-3 year plan for better quadrant maps and more specific information.

I managed to develop a series of blogs. Nothing great or such, such thoughts on the world, life and my life. After watching my father take everything he knew with him to his grave, I decided to write, and work on some bigger ideas into, just maybe, some publications. Who knows, but it's the journey of thinking and writing that matters. And I'll leave the rest to what happens.

Life in the second year of retirement and a new career has been interesting. I knew it would have its downside, and I think, after experiencing some it, I'm getting through it and better. I found it better not to put too much stress and deadlines in the process, but work off milestones, and then focus on slower, incremental progress. And this is what I have that I've really learned this year.

And that is time. In short, as I tell folks, I have the rest of my life to get my photography, my business and my life to get better. And yes, I'm gettng older and some things won't get easier, but that's the trade-off. I enjoy being my own boss and person know, and while I'm not the best, by far, time and work manager, it doesn't really matter. And I'm still open to opportunities I see in passing to change things and work.

The second thing I learned, especially with my photography, is be myself, and while my photography isn't great and doesn't begin to compare with the many professionals out there, such as on or in newspapers, just ordinary, it's still mine. And the goal is simply to do more and do better. And if it sells or I get interests for more, so be it as it only adds to the fun.

So, that's it, a good second year with hopes for a better next year and beyond.

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