2022 Photography In Review
It's been a blessed year for me, both in the photography and writing fronts. I did a decent amount of both writing and photography, but not enough to satisfy me. My day job and family obligations took precedent, as they should. I also started a new journey into taking care of my body (down 15 pounds so far). In fact, I really ought to be at the gym right now but find myself drinking coffee in my pajamas in front of the computer.
I'll talk about my writing in a future blog post, but on this New Year's Eve, I'll recap 2022 from the photography perspective. If I could sum up 2022, I'd say it was the year I started to find my brand. It's the first year I began selling prints, it's the first year I won any serious awards for my work, and it's the first year I began to think of myself as a fine art photographer. Giving myself an artistic label doesn't mean limiting myself to only one creative area, it just means that I have a lens to focus my efforts. Having a focus is good, as it allows me to concentrate effort, build depth and increase my skills.
These are my favorite images from 2022, presented in generic categories. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did taking them.
My Favorite 2022 Images Taken for next photography book
In 2022 I started work on my next photography book. I didn't get as far as I wanted, but I made a good start. For this project, I have as much research to accomplish as I do actual photography. I also have a lot of Photoshop work ahead of me, as this project will involve digital art as well. I might even have to hire a model or two. It's a big project, but one I truly believe is worthy of the effort it will require. The project is related to Abandoned Wiregrass, but far more ambitious and more history-based.
This project also marks the first time I've changed how I conduct my field work - much of it is now done using a motorcycle instead of my truck (its just more fun). I put 5000 miles on my Harley in 2022, most of it working on this book. This project also saw me reverting to using my cropped-sensor camera more often then my full-frame Canon.
Hopefully, 2023 will see the book's completion. I'm keeping its details under wraps until I can pitch it to a publisher. Here's a sneak peak at the first draft images.
My Favorite 2022 Fine Art Photography
These fine art images are not associated with any specific project. They are either images that presented themselves, or me simply trying to perfect my art. 2022 was a year I took fewer images, but tried to push my personal limits on composition and light. Another change from 2022 from previous years was more use of my old cropped-sensor Rebel as opposed to my more capable 6D. I find in bright or medium light, especially outdoors, the little Rebel is just more practical. It's lighter, fits in smaller spaces, can take punishment, and I don't worry about breaking it. It can also use my high-ed glass with it. The more comfortable I get with my style and gear, the more I can "squeeze out" of less capable equipment. In fact, several of these images are IPhone shots.
While I try to always have my DSLR camera with me, this year I got caught a few times without it. That's no excuse for not getting the shot, so I pulled out my IPhone more often in 2022. When using a phone, one must rely heavily on skill, and that means leveraging light and composition to the maximum extent possible.
If you want to have fun, try to guess which images were taken with my phone, which were with my little Canon Rebel, and which were taken with the full-frame Canon 6D.
It is my hope in 2023 to open an online store to sell my fine art photography. I need to get smart on it first. More to follow.
My Favorite 2022 Client Images
2022 marked the fewest portrait clients I've had since I started photography. Most of these were repeat customers, family or close friends. I didn't actively seek new clients in 2022 because most of my efforts centered on fine art photography. As I said before, this is where I am starting to find my niche.
However, I still love portraiture, and will still do it on a case-by-case basis. Going into 2023, my goal is to deliberately move toward a more fine art style of portraiture when the opportunity presents itself. I think these 2022 images show the direction I'm moving. I want to evoke feelings and reflect how the client wants to see themselves.I want to boldly use light and setting to accomplish this. Simply put, in 2023 I want to forge my own unique artistic path, not necessarily a commercially-oriented one. I'm looking for clients who would like to be a part of this journey; those who won't shy away from trying new things and have fun creating memorable photography experiences.
If you're interested in a fine-art portrait session in 2023, personal or commercial, please take a look at these images below, or at my broader portfolio, and contact me.
My Favorite 2022 Music Images
If you know me, you know I love music photography! Starting in 2016, I cut my chops taking live performance photos. 2022 took me in new and exciting directions.
Summer 2022 saw an extraordinary opportunity drop into my lap. I was hired to photograph country music legend Vince Gill I think I did a good job despite the "handcuffs" the venue places on photography. I was thankful for the chance to work the event. I love working under pressure, and this event challenged me. I'm really proud of my work on this one.
Helping make an album cover was another first for me in 2022. It was my honor to assist rising country music performer Bryson Storey create his first album, Bellwood Road. This was LOT of fun and I learned a how to format an album cover. If you love country music, checkout his music!
Thankfully I was able to hit Harlow's in Ozark, Alabama at least once in 2022 to catch Temple Monarc once again. I'm hoping 2023 will afford me and my camera more opportunities to visit Harlow's (my favorite music venue) and catch some of the best performers in the area.
Music photography is my favorite, and that means all aspects of music photography! If you are a performer or band and you need high quality imagery, browse my portfolio here and on Facebook give me a shout.
Just For Fun in 2022
I took these photos in 2022 just for fun! I took these on vacation, at motorcycle events and at the beach. I simply liked them, maybe you will too!
For those who have visited this blog and supported my art and literature in 2022, THANK YOU! I'm hoping 2023 leads to exciting new possibilities in both my writing and photography. I'm still having fun, and I hope you are, too. If you're new to my blog and work, you can find out my books here and here.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
If you enjoyed this blog, please like the post and leave a comment or if you're feeling brave, share it on social media. This platform is my entire advertising budget and is how I share the word on my books. Also visit my Facebook, my author page and check out my photography book from America Through Time, "Abandoned Wiregrass: The Deepest South's Lost and Forgotten Places."
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
It's 10 am on Christmas Eve. I'm drinking coffee in my pajamas. Christmas shopping done. Gifts wrapped. It's below freezing down here in the deepest of the deep south and I keep worrying a pipe will freeze and burst. All the outdoor plants are in the garage, huddled for warmth.
I'm surrounded by my family, and feeling blessed. May all the blessings of the season be upon you and yours this season, and I'll see you in the New Year.
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Doubts, Faith And The Neglected Things
Its quiet and I'm alone in the house for a few hours. The holidays are upon me, and nothing is getting done. I'm a little tired today.
Boxes of ornaments sit waiting next to a nude Christmas tree. My manuscript hasn't moved forward in over a month. My camera is patiently waiting in its bag. My life is overwhelmed with everything else. I both love and loathe the holidays. Things at my day job accelerate, as deadlines fall like snowflakes. The beloved extroverts in my life have gone nuts and planned event after event. Introverts like me grow exhausted.
Yes, I am blessed, but I'm tired.
Downtimes from writing and photography are probably a good thing. I tend to neglect other important things when I fall into my creative rabbit holes. My health is one of those neglected things. Several check-engine lights are now blinking on my health dashboard, and I had better get a handle on it now. I've been to the gym quite a lot, and I'm down over 15 pounds since November began. That's no small feat during the holidays. I've even resumed jogging, at least as much as my neck and back will permit. I'm also back lifting weights. I love lifting weights, and I can't understand why I abandoned it for so long. I was hoping the improved fitness would increase my energy levels, but I still can't seem to shake the ever-present exhaustion.
Along with my health, I'm also trying extra hard not to neglect the important people in my life. Lately, a good deal of my free time is spent with family, especially my daughter. She has been cooking healthy meals every night to help me. At only 14, she is an amazing cook and baker. Oh, and she is a straight-A student who takes the tough math and science classes. She's simply amazing, and I don't think she realizes how much her old man loves and thinks the world of her. I'm proud of the young woman she is becoming.
I also think the world of my wife. With a demanding career, her world is currently more hectic than mine. The other day we decided to take a day off our respective jobs and just get away. It was nothing more than a day trip to the beach, but it was pleasant. I wish I could do more of this kind of thing during the holidays, just stop and spend time with the people I love with no agenda or schedule.
I don't see much of my two oldest children these days. My oldest son is out on his own as a successful video game designer. My middle child will soon be a college senior, and has a busy life of school, friends, and work. The day is coming soon where they will not be able to come home every Christmas. I realize I have to make every moment of the time left before they have their own families and responsibilities. I don't think either of my sons realizes how much their old man loves them, and thinks the world of them. I'm proud of the young men they have become.
In addition to family time, I've trying to get home renovation projects completed. Right now, the big project is the garage. Its freshly painted, and I'm waiting for my new shelves and cabinets to arrive. After the garage, fence repair, pool repair and yard rehabilitation. Somewhere in all of this, I will resume writing. I am still highly motivated to write, but why is beyond me.
My fiction books are not selling, and that's a bit disappointing. As an indie author, this is normal and makes me just one of the pack. Regardless, it always sows doubts about the quality of my writing. Doubts, always doubts. If I haven't found my audience by now, perhaps I never will. This situation should make it difficult to get motivated. Yet, I will continue to write, perhaps just out of stubbornness. My oldest boy has picked up "Black Sea Gods" and is slowly reading it. Occasionally, he calls me to talk about a plot point or ask a question. He never really considered reading my work until he listened to the audiobook version of The Golden Princess. It's weird to talk to him about something I started writing when he was nine, and now he is a man. I'm not sure if he's reading the book to be kind, or if he is genuinely enjoying it, but I am thankful either way. It's just my doubts creeping up on me. Doubts, always doubts.
When I was young, I had so few doubts and so many dreams. Now, I cling to just a few remaining dreams, and oh so many doubts. If we grow wiser with age, shouldn't we grow more sure of ourselves?
But behind the doubts there is always a faith I never knew (or needed) in my youth - faith that I'm doing the right thing. Faith I'm showing the people most important to me the time and attention they need. Faith I'm not neglecting the things that need taking care of. Faith that in between all of this and that I will eventually get these ideas and stories out of head and onto paper.
Faith that maybe they will be worth a damn.
Yes, feeling blessed, but tired.