Through A Lens (2011)
Coming into 2011, I had plans to simplify my goals and just focus on a couple of projects. Let’s review how that worked by looking at goals for 2011:
Work, Shmirck: Life’s too short, so work can no longer be a barrier to shooting. I will have my camera in my hand much more in 2011. (Grade F-): Shortly after I wrote this goal, I had a little project called Target Canada drop on my plate at work which basically destroyed all hope of actually achieving this goal. By 2013 we will have opened around 130 stores in Canada starting with nothing. I’m running a team focused on in store systems including point of sale, so the pressure is on to land this successfully. That equates to work, and not much else!
Projects: Rather than worry about Landscapes, Lighting, People, etc. I’m going to focus on a couple of projects. One will be the Almanzo 100 and the other is still to be defined, but will stretch me in ways that make me uncomfortable and push me to shoot more. (Grade D): See point 1 above. There were two projects I had in mind when I wrote this. The documenting the Almanzo 100 and achieving a “abstract” image each and every month. Achieving the Almanzo project was easy because it was one day. That said, it was a miserable day. About 40 degrees and rain made for an interesting day of shoot and even a more interesting day of riding for the competitors. It was miserable. Almanzo 2011 saw resulted in my pictures getting published in DirtRag magazine and and XXC Magazine which was cool, but my efforts for the day only rated at about a B. I got a few cool pictures, but in general thought I could have captured the spirit of the day a bit better. As I said above, it was miserable. That said, a step forward, a very cool event, and it may have sparked some new ideas for 2012.
My other project of creating a abstract image each month fell apart quickly with the demands of life (or so I claim). It’s one stinking image a month, so the real issue is that I never actually verbalized that goal to anyone, and I honestly just gave up on it after a few months and the growing demands of life. I have to stop doing this.
The Boys: Much to their dismay, I still truly love to capture my boys growing up. I’m blessed with two fantastic little guys and my mission to document their youth continues. Couldn’t be prouder of Owen and Morgan. (Grade B): Could have been better. There were many days when I left the camera behind, but I also feel like a captured the year pretty well. I just love documenting the boys growing up. I know that most everyone does this, but I hope some day my boys look back and say that I did a pretty good job. Highlights of the year this year were Owen’s baseball team, Morgan riding his bike without training wheels, and our vacations to San Diego and Chicago. Sorry boys, I think you’re going to make the list again in 2012.
Beyond my stated goals, I continued to educate myself and experiment. Kelby Training continued to be a trusted resource to help grow my knowledge. Truly great videos that educate and inform on key techniques. I specifically spent a fair amount of time learning about light. Joe McNally courses are pure genius and instructors such as Cliff Maunter, Jay Maisel, and Jeremy Cowart influenced my photography throughout the year. The internet is truly wonderful in how it brings this top notch teaching to you year after year. If you’re interested in improving your photography, I highly recommend kelbytraining.com.
Equipment: One major purchase this year on the photography front this year was a new printer and I couldn’t be happier. This spring, I invested in the Epson R3000 printer and I’m absolutely in love with it. For a couple years, I’ve longed for the ability to print on Epson papers and the R3000 absolutely nails it. To me, photography comes alive in the print and I’m thrilled to have the R3000 producing such great results!
What Else: This year my passion for riding my bike continued to grow. I upgraded my rides in the spring with the addition of the Salsa Vaya for road/gravel riding and the Salsa El Mariachi Ti for mountain biking. Why two? The plan was originally just a new road/gravel bike, but I soon came to the conclusion that mountain biking on my single speed Surly Karate Monkey was just stupid given the combo of my age a ability. Long story short, the El Mariachi Ti was my single best purchase of the year. Several rides up in Hayward as well as the opening of the new single track at Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove (my nomination for the best use of tax dollars in 2011!) provided ample opportunity to improve my riding skills. A combo of the new bike and more time on the trails has improved my confidence significantly and made me much more comfortable on the trails.
Biking is a simple outlet for me. It’s time that allows me to simply think, get the pressures of work out of my mind, and just reflect on what makes me happy. It sounds incredibly simple, and low tech, but it works for me and is becoming and increasingly important part of my life. This post from the Surly Blog sums up a lot.
2012: Goals for 2012 are as follows:
Almanzo (ARGS) Series: Not sure I can pull this off, but I would love to try to document the entire ARGS series of racing this year. This is six (Ragnarok 105, Almanzo 100 / Royal 162, Westside Dirty Benjamin, Gentleman’s Ride, Heck of the North, and the Dirt Bag) FREE gravel road races across Minnesota and it’s actually something pretty special. There is a deeper story here that needs to be documented and this year, work permitting, I would like to take a stab at doing just that. Concept like Chase Jarvis’ Dasein Project are inspiring me to do something much bigger than a single day in 2012. Not sure if I can pull it off, may need some help, but let’s see what we can do. If work demands too much, I will still shoot the Almanzo race this year, but my focus will be slightly different.
Lighting: I think I’m getting more educated on the lighting front and it’s pretty fascinating. The techniques involved in throwing away natural light and replacing it with light you can control is peaking my interest. Watching masters like Joe McNally is really making me think this may be a topic worth exploring in 2012. Let’s agree that we won’t grade this effort at the end of the year, but I will at least try to push my skills in this area next year.
The Boys: This one is simple. Keep documenting their lives. Owen and Morgan are two fantastic little guys and I love them with all of my heart. I often think that if my life’s work is to document their youth, I would be cool with that. It’s simply awesome to watch them grow up.
Ride: I have no aspirations to be great, but I do love to ride. It’s my thinking time and I hope to never lose that time. More riding in Hayward in 2012.
That’s it. 2012 is sure to be a hectic year as we get ready to launch Target into Canada, but I’m determined not to let work entirely consume my life and always make time to see life through a lens.
Here are some of my favorite pictures from the past year. Thanks for reading…
The Boys: They are both getting a bit more patient in front of the camera. Just a little.
Owen: Such a sweet little guy at 8.
Morgan: Can test our patience at times, but this shot sums him up. My buddy.
Learning: A huge year of learning for Owen which was fun to watch. He continues to do amazingly well. These two pictures are from a trip to Chicago which fascinated him.
Determined: Morgan’s spirit pushes him to keep up with the older boys
Lots more pictures from the year here. Thanks for reading. On to 2012.