The Earth has taken another long loop around the Sun and 2013 has come and gone, so I thought—like so many other media outlets—I would take a few moments to jot down a year-end recap of the world of 75Central Photography.
- This year marked the sixth birthday of the photoblog, during which we never missed a day of posting a photo. Some were great photos, some were—in retrospect—not so great photos, but we've always had fun sharing with you, our readers/viewers. And now we're almost half-way through our seventh year of photoblogging and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.
- We redesigned the website, moving to a more responsive modern design. (You can read about the various iterations of the site here). The interesting thing is, analytics have show that since we made the change in July, our visitor engagement has gone down, so we'll probably be moving back to a simpler design in the near future. In the interest of transparency, reasons for this downward trend seem to be related to load times, non-intuitive navigation and SEO-related issues.
- We moved from Fotomoto for our print fulfillment to SmugMug then back to Fotomoto. This was a situation that was out of our control and affected not just our site, but every other photographer that relied on Fotomoto for integrated print ordering. Sometime in the late summer, Fotomoto was sold to a third-party that immediately took the site off-line without warning or explanation, leaving us, and the rest of their customers, scrambling to find a solution. We moved our print ordering to SmugMug, but were unhappy that they do not offer an integrated ordering solution like Fotomoto had, forcing us to hack together a kludgey solution using custom Wordpress fields to link to the SmugMug "buy page" for each photo, which was a labor-intensive process. Luckily, after a few weeks of Fotomoto being down, the sale failed to complete and Bay Photo stepped in and bought it, reactivating the service and coming to our rescue. Within minutes of Fotomoto coming back online, we had 75Central.Com re-integrated with their ordering infrastructure.
- We completed a fair amount of travel this year. Destinations included Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, the Texas Gulf Coast, Seattle, Alaska (Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau & Glacier Bay), Carcross and Emerald Lake, Yukon Territory, Victoria, British Columbia, San Francisco and, most-recently, our perennial destination of Las Vegas, which included side trips to Red Rock Canyon and Mount Charleston. Unfortunately, for the first time in over a year, we have no travels planned for the foreseeable future, though there are thoughts of perhaps Lake Tahoe, Mono Lake and Yosemite sometime in 2014.
- Speaking of travel, it was our Alaska trip that had a big impact on my choice of gear for the last few months and probably the next few years. For that trip, I lugged a gripped 60D, a 24-105mm L and a 100-400mm L around for a week. And it about killed me, both from the weight and the bulky awkwardness. So, once I got back, I looked into moving to something smaller. Having seen a fair amount of well-known photographers make the same leap, I started moving to a mirror-less system, settling on the Panasonic Lumix G6. My first big test was the week I spent in San Francisco in November. And I loved it! Small, unobtrusive and lightweight, this camera is packed with a lot more features than any dSLR from Nikon or Canon. And the sensors and lenses have gotten so good, I can't really tell a difference between shots I was getting with my dSLR and shots with my MFT camera. The only slight drawbacks are that there seems to be slightly-less dynamic range and the focus on moving objects is not-that-great, but as I mostly photography stills, I'm not too worried about it.
- And, finally, a photographic recap:
- The Top 10 Photos from 2013 (based on comment count):
And, just for fun, here's a link to a set of our 25-most interesting (however that's measured) photos of 2013 on Flickr.
So, that was 2013. Let's hope 2014 will be a great year as well. From 75Central Photography, Happy New Year!