My Photography Resolutions for 2017

After an arduous 2016, full of misfortune both societal and personal, I'm gladly welcoming 2017. Over the weekend, I started thinking about how I can "up my photography game" during the coming 12 months. Here's a short list I came up with.

Shoot more
This one seems obvious, but, at least in my case, it's applicable. During 2016, I didn't get out and take photos as often as I had in the past. Whereas in the past, I'd get up early on a weekend morning and head out on "photo drives" that would take me all over my part of the state, in 2016 I didn't do this nearly enough. I'd make excuses like "it's too cold" or "it's too hot" or "it's raining", even though these things don't matter as much as I'd make them out to matter. So, I'm promising myself that in 2017, I'll get out and shoot more often, even if it is just throwing my trusty Lumix GM1 in my pocket with a 20mm prime and taking my dog, Winston, on a long walk around the neighborhood.

Make Some Photography Friends
I tend to be a "lone gunman" when shooting, as I imagine most photographers are. We don't like other people slowing us down or getting in our way while we're working. But sometimes, it's good to be around like-minded people that are "into" photography. Professionally, networking is one of the best ways to find new business and learn new techniques or skills. Personally, it's good to meet new people that you can "talk shop" with, especially if you're constantly boring your significant other with photographic minutiae that they clearly aren't that interested in. To remedy this, I've joined several active MeetUp.Com groups as well as local Facebook groups that regularly meet for photowalks and discussions. 

Hone My Post-Processing Technique
I'm a die-hard Lightroom user. I've been using it since version one dropped and everything I shoot goes through it. That said, I know there's still a lot of processing knowledge that I need to learn, both inside and outside of Lightroom. I'm working my way through online tutorials in Lightroom, Photoshop and, now, On1 Raw, the excellent new Raw processing application from On1.

Expand My Business
Like a lot of photographers, I live in the limbo called "semi-pro". Photography isn't my main source of income in that I do have a day job as a software architect. And while I love my software work, my passion is photography...it's what makes me truly happy. So, in 2017, I'm going to make a concerted effort to expand the business side of my photography, focusing on licensing and fine-art prints.

Have Fun
This is a follow-on to the last resolution. While I have the luxury(?) of not relying on my photography as my main source of income, I do want to expand it as a source of income. But I need to make sure that as I do this, I'm not working so hard at it that it ceases to be fun to me and becomes the drudge of a second job.
 

 

My Most-Interesting Photos of 2016*

*according to Flickr's Interestingness algorithm

As I've done at the end of the year in the past, here are the Top 10 "Most Interesting" Photos that I took (and posted) in 2016.

Pawn

Chasing Reflections

Oh Illinois

The Silos Under the Dark Sky

Blue, It Seems

Barbed

Under the Yellow Sentinel

Texas Structure

Under the Tall Pines

Into the Dark Sky

The misfortunate side-effect of ranking a year's photos this way is that it's entirely possible that I shot some photos this year that are better than these but have not yet posted them. I post a new photo every day on my photoblog at 75Central.Com and invite and encourage you to check in periodically to see even more great photos. You can also view a Flickr album of my 250 Most-Interesting Photos of all time here. Stay tuned for an exciting 2017!

Quick Tip: Find Out Where People Are Stealing Your Photos and Bandwith

Using services like Pixsy, TinEye or Google Image Search (built into Chrome!) to find where your images are being used without your permission is a "fun" way to spend some time (and anger you at the same time!). But there's a special kind of image thief that annoys me to no-end...the kind that hotlinks your site's assets, relying on you to use your hosting bandwidth/data to serve your own stolen photo on their site. How to find these? One trick I use is to go to Google Image Search and use a search query like this:

inurl:yourdomain -site:yourdomain

Essentially, you're telling Google to look for photos that have your domain in their URL but are not being shown on your site. So, for instance, to look for these types of photos on my photoblog, I use this search string: inurl:75central.com -site:75central.com

Which gives me these results:

 

Now that you've done that, how you react can be anything from DMCA takedowns, to replacing the photos with a message reminding people not to steal to lawsuits.

Modern Luxury Dallas Feature

Lifestyle magazine Modern Luxury Dallas recently featured one of my photographs, along with a short interview, in their December issue.

 

You can find the digital issue of the magazine here or jump directly to the article here.

This photo, an abstracted view of one of the many architectural details of Dallas' Perot Museum of Nature & Science, is available for purchase as a print here.