There's a hashtag/loop on Instagram that I follow - #beautyinourbackyardsloop - and I think that pretty accurately sums up my photography opportunities this year. I was actually interested to take stock of the impact that the various degrees of restrictions to our movements have had on my photography, so now that the year has drawn to a close, here is what I found.
Somethings have not changed - I still photograph the things that catch my eye. The barbed wire fence line opening to a snow covered field, the bison out for a stroll on the road at Elk Island Park just after dawn, the way the late afternoon sun highlighted a cattail at the wetlands where we take our daily walks, the seed head of flowers past their bloom, snow covered and against a wrought iron fence. What catches my eye? Hmmmm.... hard to define sometimes. It might be colour, or light, or sentiment, or a memory, or the unique, or, for that matter - the ordinary.
Somethings were new ventures; capturing the ice crystals as they formed on a bubble outside my garage door in winter, and feeding blue jays literally in.my.own.backyard, experimenting with images by overlaying bokeh and brushes and lens flares to bring something a little unexpected, maybe even magical to an image, playing with tones and saturation and complimentary colours, and natural lighting and matte finishes - just experimenting to see where my efforts take me.
The things that did change this year were the subject matter and my go-to choice of camera lens. So much more of my photography this year was with a 90mm macro lens - florals and details and close up subjects. Most of the rest of the time my trusty, general purpose, walk-around lens was a 70 - 300mm zoom lens for birds and wildlife. I spent some time with a 55mm f1.8 that netted me the image of the blacksmith inside his workshop at Heritage Village - hand-held and in low light.
So while we didn't get to travel outside of our own province this year, I did find it profitable to spend more time with my macro lens and with post-processing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop, and I did embrace a sense of freedom to play with my images and make them be anything I wanted them to be. More so than in any other year, this year I photographed and processed to please myself! I still heard the voices of past mentors in my head, but I chose when to listen and when to do my own thing.
What will I do in 2022? Well that's as much of a mystery to me as to anyone. I haven't set any goals or made any New Year's resolutions. I will be continuing to experiment and try new things whenever and wherever my opportunities take me. The past year had its share of disappointments and frustrations, but in slowing down the pace I had the chance to develop my photography in ways I had not foreseen.