It Is Time [Time To Review]
So… 2013 is winding down. I’ve seen literally about 20 blog posts about how people feel they did in 2013. [Most of them include what people are focusing on in 2014 too. Not me. Yet.]
I thought I would look back at 2013 and do a bit of a recap of “the year that was.”
The Turn from My Plan [I Quit School]
2013 will probably go down in my mind as the year that my life took a turn away from what I was expecting, towards wherever I am going right now.
Truth is, I don’t think the jury has come back with a verdict yet as to the wisdom of my decision to quit pursuing a degree in Computer Science. The idea being to carve out a niche for myself in the crazy world of the internet. Not only online, but also in “real life” as I pursue starting my own local small business.
So that is the biggest thing that I think I need to remember from 2013. The change from career scholar to a guy with a business card.
The Big Trip [Maine 2013]
2013 was also the year of the “big trip” to Maine. A wonderful two weeks spent with my cousin, Nathan, traveling, photographing, camping, and wishing we had a few more weeks to travel… It really was a great trip and one I am extremely glad I was able to be a part of.
The trip to Maine was also rewarding photographically. I’ve never used as much photographic gear as I did on that trip. I rented a Canon 5d mk3 (amazing), a Sony NEX 7 (pretty amazing), and a few lenses. I was also carrying a backup camera body, the Canon 5d classic. I found myself shooting more with the Sony NEX 7 than the Canon cameras. Which eventually led to me questioning what I wanted to use in the future. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have since sold my Sony NEX 6. This time strictly for professional reasons. I may put together a post about that sometime in the early New Year.)
My Families Business [A Corn Maze]
For my family’s business, and myself, 2013 was also the year of the first ever fall season at Yoders’ Farm.
We designed and made a corn maze. It was a team effort of course. But I was able to help “man the maze” for the 6 weeks that we were open.
The entire thing was something of an experiment for us. Not only did we have to figure out a bunch of stuff about designing mazes, cutting mazes, but then we needed to try to market it… Part of what made it a bit more difficult was needing to figure out how to sell people on an experience instead of a product. (Instead of selling a strawberry or tomato we were selling the opportunity to walk through a corn field. For some reason it’s a bit different.)
We did ok with it, I think, but I definitely am looking forwards to trying do a better job of that this coming fall. We have gotten a lot of good feedback about the maze and fall activities that should help us out in the entire venture.
The Blog [This Blog]
I thought I should probably include a few paragraphs about the blog. I mean, this blog may be the only way you have connected with me in 2013. That’s important right?
The blog started out with a big push. Most years it does. But then it started to dwindle. I started to cut back my expectations and what I wanted to do with the blog. As well as what I was doing with it.
The beginning of the year was all about photography. I shared images. I shared stories of how I created those images. I shared how to type posts about photography.
Then towards the middle of the year I started to do a bit more personal writing. This fall I went pretty far when I posted about quitting school. More recently I wrote a post about the truth of Christmas and how it can be good and bad, especially for a single guy.
So the blog kind of evolved… It wen’t from being all about photography to being more personal… This is probably a trend that will continue into 2014.
Another thing that happened in 2013 was the release of Pressgram. An app that I’ve been following since its inception. The app allows iPhone users to publish directly from their phone straight to a WordPress powered site. This was (and is) a great new world for me and I wrote a few “how to” type posts about that. Those posts are literally the most popular posts of 2013. Mostly because they can be found on Google… 🙂
I’m not sure how technology writing will fit into the blog for 2014… Some of it might be here, but I’m actually getting ready to start another blog, that might get a lot more of those types of blog posts.
2013 Goals. How Did I Do? [Seriously?]
At the beginning of 2013 I was planning on a few things. Here are those things… I’ll add to each one and tell you how I did.
- I’d like to create and print twelve images to hang on my walls. I tend to just view my images on the computer, but there is something incredible about getting a piece printed and having it hang on your wall. The fact is, shooting with this idea in mind makes me take more time to get “everything right.” It’s good for me. At The End of 2013: This was a good goal. And for a few months I kept up with it. I printed four or five things throughout 2013 that are now hanging on my walls. I recently moved out of my folks house, so now I have a lot more “wall space” to fill. I wouldn’t be too surprised if I would get some more prints made in the next few months.
- I’d like to narrow my focus photographically… Know better who I am as a photographer. Sure when it comes to work photography for clients I’ll continue to shoot the things I have in the past. But in my personal work, the stuff I share especially, I want to try exceedingly hard to work and create the best possible landscape images I can. At The End of 2013: Hmm… I think I did narrow my focus photographically in 2013. But I also didn’t end up exactly where I thought I would at the beginning of the year. I’ve shot a lot of landscape work throughout this year that I am incredibly happy with. But I’ve also shot some portrait work that I am pretty happy with… and had a lot of fun shooting. However I have not (and will continue to not) shot a wedding in 2013. That was probably one of the biggest things I wanted to keep in mind throughout 2013, and it will continue as I go into 2014…
- I’d like to get published – Technically I have been published already, sort of. I’d like to try to get some work published in a magazine or on some of the blogs that I’ve looked up to in the past. (If you know someone who can help me out with this let me know!) At The End of 2013: So I got published. In an architectural magazine… But… I didn’t get a copy of it. The folks I was working with said they would get me a copy, but I haven’t seen it yet. (I did get to review a copy in their office though.) It was kind of incredible to see my images in a magazine as a part of an article.
- I’d like to post to this blog at least 250 times. That means creating 250 images that are at least worth sharing, not necessarily the greatest images ever, but not horrendous horrible images either. At The End of 2013: I’ve published 293 posts this past year. I’ll be honest… a lot of them are as a result of Pressgram (iPhone app that allows me to publish images to WordPress) but I don’t see anywhere in this goal where I mentioned that these images had to be created using a DSLR… 🙂
- I’d like to share the things that I’ve learned about photography. However I can. Probably, at least for now, as tutorials on this site – walking through the entire process of creating an image. As I continue to learn I realize how important to work of others who share their “processes” have helped me out. At The End of 2013: I did some of this in 2013. I tried to slow down and show folks how I did specific things. But I could have probably done better. One thing that I did towards the end of the year was take a couple of younger folks on a hike, carrying cameras. Not only was this incredibly fun, but I also got a big kick out of it. This is definitely something I want to do more of this coming year.
What About 2014? [Thursday]
As I look ahead at 2014 I’ve got a number of goals that are pretty high on my list of things to do. I’ll be working up a post for Thursday about some of those things. Like it or not, some of you will be a part of my 2014. Blogging is definitely something that I want to figure out how I want to approach in this New Year.
But for now it is still 2013 and I am tired. Because for some reason I thought it was a good idea to sit in my bed, listening to a guy sing a song called “Father to Son” and write what will probably become the basis of my 2013 year in review blog post.
On a side note, you can also watch me write this blog post. No… you won’t actually see me, [we wouldn’t want that – I’m sitting in bed] but you can see the words appear on the screen. Not sure why someone would want to see this, but if you want to you can… 🙂
Michael John Beil says
Eldon Yoder says