Saturday, February 23, 2008

Setting Goals

Have you ever thought about setting goals with your photo hobby? I have people come up to me all the time (well, not ALL the time) to tell me that they want to learn how to do this or that with a camera, but finding the time to do this makes it impossible! One thing that I’ve noticed over the last couple years of reading photo blogs of serious and professional photographers, is that they set goals for themselves on their blogs at the beginning of each year. When developing these goals, they will divide them up into several categories (like ‘developing their skill’, ‘improving their business’, etc). So, I began the year thinking about things that would improve my skills and make me a better photographer. To set good goals, they must be positive, precise and small enough to achieve in one year. With that in mind, I’ve set 3 goals for my hobby this year.

1. My first goal is to go out shooting pictures with another photographer. The idea here is to have the opportunity to share skills and ideas with another person. It will also give the opportunity to see ‘pictures’ from another perspective. Have you ever tried this? I’ve been on trips out west in the national parks with groups of high school students. The picture above is of the 2006 group I traveled west with.  This is a picture from a hike that we did in the Tetons.  Most of the students have some type of camera with them. They look like sheep as they all head for the same spot, but they’re really no different than most of the other tourist out there. They want to make sure they get the typical shot that they’ve seen on the postcard and in the magazines. However, there’s usually one that goes off on their own, looking for the ‘different’ shot. Usually, when we return from the trip, we meet and will share our various pictures from the trip. It’s always interesting to see the unusual pictures from that one student. Some can be very interesting and good! As of yet, I don’t yet have another photographer in mind, so this is one goal I’ll be working on.

2. My second goal is to give myself a photo assignment. It would need to be something that I’m motivated to do, but yet involve a skill I’m deficient in (that leaves me a lot to choose from!). For this, I chose a task that I’ve played around with on a couple of occasions over the years, but never spent the quality time needed to be successful. The assignment is to take pictures of moving water and achieve the silky look in the water that comes from slow shutter speeds. This silky look can really add to the feeling you’re trying to achieve in a water shot. I will probably try to go north this summer for this one and find a river or falls area, although I will have other opportunities this year too. I will be in the Smokey Mountains in early April and out by California’s Mt. Whitney in mid-July.

3. Now, for my third. After traveling west almost every summer for the last 20 years and reading photography magazines, I’ve seen many photography expeditions advertised and written about. The photographers that have written about these in the blogs almost always rave about what they’ve learned. I really would love to go to the Rockies in the fall and take part in one of these expeditions. Well, of all my goals, this one I’ve taken the first step on. I’ve registered for Moose Peterson’s Wildlife Photographer’s Base Camp. It takes place next October in Yellowstone National Park. I’m so excited about this one I’m not sure I’ll be able to wait!

So, what are your photography goals for this year? I would like to hear them. It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small goals, just set some and then share with us. Maybe it will be just submitting a picture in the next assignment on SPS photography group on Flickr! Come-on, share with us!

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