In this article, we’re going to look back over the last 12 months, do a year-end review in regards to our photography and set goals for 2021. Let’s look forward with a positive note towards the coming year.
To say 2020 has been a strange year would be the understatement of the century. But can we still look back and find something positive or perhaps inspirational that happened this year?
I’ll give you some questions to think about to help you get started and will share my own answers as well.
List three things you achieved or experienced in 2020
Think about what you got to photograph this year. Did you hit any milestones? Master a new technique that has previously had you stumped? Did you get to shoot or experience anything exciting or new (even if it was in your own backyard)?
Here are my three things that I achieved in 2020.
#1 – Lead my 4th photo tour to Cuba
I got to lead a fabulous tour to Cuba in January with my good friend Daniel. My husband Rob was able to join us at the end and Dan and I met up with another of our DPM tour guides, Kav, prior to the tour as well.
We had a great group of people with us in Cuba, which might very well end up being our last tour for a long while. We even dealt with an accident and a broken foot and I have to give a shout out to Karen for being such a trouper and carrying on without any complaints!
So I’m grateful for that experience with those people, many of whom have traveled with us before and have become not just clients, but friends (Anne, Lynn, Peter, and Ron in the group below).
This was also the year I finally made it all the way to the east end of the island. We stopped in Camagüey, Santiago de Cuba, and Baracoa, all new places for me.
We all loved Baracoa and I want to go back there again soon! It’s such an undiscovered area with hardly any tourists, it’s the epitome of real Cuba. The countryside is rugged and beautiful but as always, it’s the people that I remember the most. They’re warm and friendly and welcoming.
#2 – I got to check off a bucket list item
I was honored to be co-instructor of Ugo’s Cei’s Venice Carnival photo workshop in February. I’m so grateful to have been invited to be a part of the workshop and to hang out with Ugo.
We even recorded an episode of Ugo’s podcast, The Traveling Image Makers, right in San Marco Square in Venice. That was fun and it was freezing cold at 7 am, just after I had finished shooting at sunrise.
I got to make some iconic images that I had envisioned in my head, connected with another past tour member, and got to work with Ugo and grow our friendship.
#3 – I was able to use my photography skills to help others. Over the summer and fall, I photographed six human rights events in Edmonton. That included rallies, marches, a vigil, and a couple of organized protests.
Through those events, I met some amazing people, especially several in the local Indigenous community, many of whom have become friends. It’s also helped me increase my awareness and understanding of some of the issues they’ve faced historically and still face currently.
I feel that I am a better human being and citizen, and I continue to work with a few groups to help however I can.
#3b – Bonus – several of the ladies I met at the events formed a new charity in Edmonton to help the most vulnerable and unhoused people in the city. Through meeting them and learning about this new group, I quickly stepped up and become a volunteer with Water Warriors YEG as well.
Since October, I’ve participated in a clothing drive, done donation pick-ups, and went out several times with their Street Team to hand out water, food, and warm clothing to people living on the streets.
So while that isn’t directly photography related, I got there by doing photography at the events and making connections with people on Facebook through my images.
Being a volunteer has given me something to be passionate about to be able to keep going when times have been the toughest this year. For me, a little perspective goes a long way to help me realize I have nothing really to complain about.
Favorite 20 images of 2020 challenge
Next, is a challenge. I want you to go through your image archives and look at everything you’ve shot this year. Make an Album (Luminar) or a Collection (if you use Lightroom) and add your favorites.
Then narrow it down to your favorite 20 images from 2020. They don’t have to be your best images, but your favorites. So think about the meaning of the images as well as the technical aspects.
Perhaps that slightly blurry image of the rare bird you got might trump a perfectly sharp but ordinary flower photo!
They don’t even have to be taken with your “regular” camera. Look through the gallery of your cell phone images as well. A special memory at lower quality has more value than a high-res one without meaning.
Here are my favorite 20 images from 2020
I originally was going to say to pick your top 10 but I couldn’t do it myself, so I won’t subject you to that kind of torture. 20 it is!
These are not necessarily my best photos of the year, but they are some of my favorite images. Play it full screen for the best viewing experience.
If you want to peruse the images a bit slower and see my comments and camera settings for each image, CLICK HERE to head over to the gallery on Smugmug.
Name three photography things you learned this year
Never stop learning! The day you stop learning you stop growing and expanding. So continue on your photography education even when you think you know all there is to know.
I am constantly still learning new things, even after doing photography for over 30 years. Anyone can pick up a tip here and there that helps you take better photos, improve your workflow, etc.
This is what I picked up:
- I got a few good Lightroom tips by doing a webinar with Piet Van den Eynde.
- Picked up a few ideas and techniques from Jason Page who is the master of light painting (see my image above)!
- I learned about how to shoot and process infrared photography with my Fuji XT1 that I got converted to IR.
So what did you learn? Was it something about your camera, like a button or setting you didn’t know about before? Did you learn a new technique such as long exposure photography or light painting?
Time for some inspiration
Who doesn’t like to look at great images? I know that I get inspired when I see a great shot. Use the internet to browse photography sites and just view the images with no other agenda except enjoyment.
See if you can reverse engineer some and figure out how they were shot. Or try and duplicate some of the images yourself. Learn by doing.
Here are a few sites full of winning images to get you motivated.
- The World’s Best Photos of #Work2020
- 50 Photographs From Nature 2020 Competition
- Professional Winners From the 2020 International Photography Awards
- Sony World Photography Awards
Photography goals for 2021
Now it’s time to look forward. How will you use your time in 2021 to take your photography to the next level?
Set at least ONE big goal for the coming year, and share it in the comment area below. Perhaps other DPM readers want to do the same thing and you can help each other out as well, or maybe it’s something I can write about..
My goal for 2021 is to do more photography for myself and photos of my family and niece and nephew. As well I want to sort through and process the images from many of my past trips, so this is a good time to catch up!
I may share some of my images and processing tips as the year progresses.
Now it’s over to you. I want you to do the following:
- List at least 3 things you achieved, accomplished or experienced in 2020.
- Find your 20 favorite images of the year.
- List at least 3 things you learned in regards to photography in 2020.
- Set at least one big goal for your photography in 2021.
Please share your images (or a link to them), your lists and your goals below in the comment area. I’d love to see your answers and images.Cheers,