As 2010 comes to an end, its time to reflect on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year as I think about new goals for 2011. So here if you will is my scorecard.
1) Visit and photograph another National Park: A highlight of 2009 for me was visiting Glacier National Park. I attended Moose Peterson’s Wildlife Photographer’s Base Camp and learned more in 5 days than I ever imagined I could. Moose and his son Jake did a great job of combining wildlife biology and practical photography knowledge with business experience. I will definitely attend another Base Camp in the near future. As a result of Moose’s teaching I have read about and researched our National Park system since that visit and have become obsessed with visiting these national treasures. Ken Burns put together a fantastic series called “The National Parks: Americas Best Idea” that I highly suggest everyone watch.
I give myself +1/2 point for this one. I visited many state parks, most notably Baxter State Park in Maine and Honeymoon Island State Park in Florida. However I did not make it to any National Parks in 2010. I need to come out strong in 2011 when it comes to visiting National Parks!
2) Create photographs that illicit emotion: One of the true tests of being a successful photographer is whether your images are able to pull at someones heart strings. Good photographs capture moments, great photographs illicit emotion.
I give myself a +1 for this goal. I owe a lot to my mentor Moose Peterson in this regard. He is the king of pixel passion! While I give myself +1, I have a lot of work to do in this regard. I’m still at the bottom of the hill in my learning curve.
3) Get published: I will attempt to have one of my photographs or a text/photo package published in 2010. I will also explore having my images exhibited at some of the local Fairfield County art and framing galleries. I will also enter at least one judged photography contest.
I give myself a 0 here. While I should be able to announce a series of my images being published shortly, it didn’t happen in 2010. I also did not have any of my images exhibited at any art galleries or judged events. I hate when I come up short. That being said, I have 2 submissions about to go to magazine editors so 2011 should see some big dividends for me in regards to being published……I hope.
4) Experiment with different forms of output: I would like to try new print media and video capture (I need to get a DSLR with video capabilities first)! I believe the advent of devices like Amazon’s Kindle and the rumored Apple Tablet will make “moving pictures” an important part of a photographers output capabilities. If you have not seen the Sports Illustrated Tablet Demo it is well worth your time and really cool. While the origin of this mockup is being questioned, the capabilities described are real. There is an old Wall St. traders saying, “Don’t fight the market, go with the flow for resistance is futile”. While I like creating and viewing photographs the tide in the industry is definitely trending toward moving pictures.
I will give myself a +1/2 here. I was successful with trying new output media but did not tackle video. I decided early in 2010 that I should invest my time in improving my photography and not attempt video at the same time. I don’t want my skills to be considered “Jack of all trades master of none”.
5) Attend Photoshop World: I have never attended PSW. Based on my current level of proficiency I think the educational and networking opportunities will far outweigh the costs.
Alas, I have to take a -1 here. Shame on me, I should have gone to at least 1. I bet you can guess what goal will be on the 2011 list!
6) Attend at least one Wildlife Workshop: This doesn’t have to be a photographic workshop, although it can be. The goal is to learn more about wildlife. Having just returned from Africa (I will definitely visit Africa again) I have an even greater interest in learning more about the biology of wildlife. I have started to investigate volunteering for a local wildlife organization to help them with their research by taking pictures.
Grand total 2 out of 6 possible points. Hmmmm, I thought I had a pretty good year photographically in 2010 but a grade of 33% doesn’t seem like it.
I’m sure I will get a few emails or comments about why I would post a goals list and review and put myself out there by saying I didn’t succeed in my goals. The big thing I will tell you is if you only read blogs or surround yourself with people who always are 100% perfect, you are short changing yourself. Life doesn’t work that way. One of the best leaders I ever worked for was Ace Greenberg, the Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns. He had a very simple message for people that claimed perfection and I paraphrase here, “If you always make money you are not taking enough risk”. While this statement is intended for traders in the investment banking arena, the sentiment applies to anyone, even photographers. If you are always right or perfect, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. I like pushing myself!
The truth of the matter is that I had a great year photographically in 2010. My skills improved dramatically, I continued to meet great people in the industry and I identified other things I need to focus on in order to be a better image and media creator. Personally I find reviewing my goal list motivating and cathartic. I also think you can’t create new goals unless you fully review what you did and didn’t accomplish in your business the previous year. So while I am disappointed with my 2010 score, I now have more information to help me mold the 2011 list. Off to work I go!