Time feels like it is racing by faster than ever to me. Reminiscing about the past year does make me realise however how much I have done and yet the extra that I did not accomplish. If 2017 was the year that really kindled my passion for photography, then 2018 was a year that I tried to hone in on the aspects I really enjoy and start to think about developing my own style.
Looking back at my favourite individual images I would saw there tend to be more B&W than colour. Overall I think I've realised that Landscape photography is the key focus I want to pursue. Certainly I've noticed in terms of consistency, which I recognise is key to assist with curation of a portfolio, I think my black and white images together are better. I seem to gravitate towards patterns with structure in the image rather than strong use of colour, which to me feels an incidental component of images I create. Part of this might be because photography is an abstraction of what we see, diminishing and accentuating aspects of the real, and it could be that limiting oneself to black and white is intrinsically a bit easier to do this as even a snapshot in B&W will be altered significantly from what we see. Or perhaps its because I find dark moody B&W landscapes leave more to for the observer to interpret. The open questions from ambiguity in the image draw me in.
Probably one of the things I did this year that'll help me most going forward were a few boring tasks in tidying up my Lightroom library with useful tags and sets and also migrating to Koken the technology this site is built upon. I started to curate my work on this site and also take a more active approach on Instagram which for now seems to still be the best photo sharing platform for a broad audience overall. This seems to be a good foundation in 2019 to keep sharing my work and I also aim to print more of my work - potentially going through the process of putting together a book looking back at some of my favourite images from my first 10 years of photography.
I was fortunate enough to take a couple of pure photography trips in Scotland and Iceland this year and also got some good shooting opportunities in Cornwall and the Canary Islands. The former were great trips that got me to most of the locations I'd dreamt of photographing. There was however alot of driving, which I don't mind, but meant that I could not afford to wait for the best light at each. It makes me realise the benefit of visiting the same place multiple times, with the first trip as more of an overall scout, so in future its easier to focus more of specific areas of interest. Next year its unlikely I'll travel as much, but I'm hoping to be able to do at least one photography focused trip.
The tools I have at my disposal grew, accelerated by a bout of gear acquisition syndrome, although overall it was the Bronica SQ medium format system that I already owned that I feel assisted me in capturing my best shots. I love the square format and the way it encourages me to take care capturing each shot due to the slow set up time and limitations of 12 shots per roll. The addition of the 250mm lens turned out to be very useful for compressed landscape shots but the 2x TC for it failed to impress. As for my Nikon collection I satisfied my urge to own all of the top line film SLRs apart from the F6. In particular the F5 was a big help for exposing slide film this year and got a number of great shots from Scotland and Iceland that look great projected on a big screen. The F4 didn't get much use and has lingered with a half exposed roll of Cinestill 800T for far too long. Using this more in 2019 is a new years resolution as is not buying any more cameras.
Digital took a back seat to film in 2018, although the Fuji XE-2 Mirrorless was a welcome addition, particularly for its size to image quality ratio and using my 55mm non-Ai Nikkor Macro lens with the peak focus indicator in the EVF. As for analogue, TMax 400 was the B&W stock of choice, or Delta 400 when my local shops have run out of stock (which has appeared to be more frequently than I'd have liked!). For colour I mainly shot Portra 400 as I wanted the speed and softer colours than Ektar which I used to use almost exclusively but has fallen out of favour. In 2019 I want to shoot a few more rolls of Ektar. I shot a few rolls of slide film too and got good results with Provia in 35mm in my Nikon F5 (which I've also enjoyed projecting on a big screen with a new to me Kodak Carousel), but inconsistent ones with Velvia 50 on my Bronica clearly showed how challenging it is for a newcomer to meter well for this film's narrow latitude.
So, aims for 2019? I want to continue thinking about the best way to curate my work when publishing it and keep trying to develop my style with B&W landscapes. I'd like to put together a book of my favourite landscape shots in the past decade but also read more photobooks to inspire me as I've found spending too much time reading or looking at images for inspiration online can be fatiguing and actually be counter productive.
Oh and one more aim - to shoot more and not end up with rolls of film stuck in a camera for longer than a month!