So, at the start of this year, on January 9, 2016, I posted the goals I was hoping to achieve this year. I thought it appropriate for me the evaluate how I managed to accomplish these, or not. Why else would one write down any goals, throw them up on the internet for all to see, if not to complete the process and do an inventory.

Review of the years Goals

My goals revolved around developing that creative eye and creative vision photographically that I found very much lacking at that time in my development. So here is the list of goals I had set out for myself to accomplish this year.

  • To participate on Instagram for a 365 day project. This was to be done using my IPhone since it is always readily available.
  • To participate in the Ajax Photography Club 52 week challenge
  • To complete Sebastian Michael’s Photoshop Artistry on-line  Course, Fine Art Grunge
  • Become proficient in using an IPhone to both capture and edit photos
  • To take the CAPA Judging Course

And as a bonus if I had time before the end of the year:

  • Begin Sebastian Michaels Creative Black & White Photo Artistry on-line course
  • Learn still life and studio lighting over this winter
  • Join the The Arcanum on-line training community
  • Start a blog – Oh yeah, I’ve completed that one already!

Most of the goals above were not completed. This was not because I didn’t want to do them, but rather because along the way I had to evaluate and see how this was furthering my endeavors to develop more of a creative eye. For example, the 365 project was only completed until the summer, when the weather warmed up and I took to being outside with my Nikon camera. I turned from using the IPhone and ‘funkifying’ photos to going back to realistic processing of digital photos in Lightroom and sometimes composites in Photoshop. However, the 365 project did accomplish for me what I needed. It did help me develop more creative vision, kept me actively engaged in photography during the cold winter months, and I learned extensively how to use and process photos on the IPhone.

I took IPhone courses over the winter, learning about filters and apps that help take photos, combine photos, process them and even make art with them. I did not complete the courses before the warmth of summer, and so I hope to return to these this winter. I realized that during the 365 project, table top still life work is very difficult and not as easy as I first thought. I have enrolled in another course this winter in the hopes of furthering my creative skills in this area.

I started Sebastian Michaels Photoshop Artistry course, Fine Art Grunge. I completed about a quarter of it. I learned more about using Photoshop and masking in and out effects and making composite art work (combining two or more photos together.)  However with summer upon us, I just went out and took photos, not wanting to spend hours at the computer watching videos. So, I promised myself to return to the course in October, after my East Coast trip, enough time to complete the course before the end of the year. Then I found myself continuing to avoid starting the course, making up excuses each week to delay starting for another week. In the end I had to look at the resistance. I realized I still didn’t think I had some of the fundamentals of technique, like composition, lighting, exposure and in-camera settings. I realized I needed more time to focus on the essentials, the basics, and get a thorough understanding and ability to apply these principals consistently, before progressing to making photo art. This lead me instead, to joining The Arcanum earlier than I had planned.

As for the judging, well that one has been totally out of my control. CAPA has not offered a course anywhere near Toronto in the last year. The GTCCC has embarked on filling this gap by offering a judges course next spring. I will be the first in line for this course!  However, I can attest, as Sue and I scroll through her photos looking for some to enter into club competition, my creative eye HAS certainly grown. “That photo has a shallow depth of field and the fungi is not totally clear from front to back. Forget it,” I say. “It’s a nice photo of the eagle, but the eye is too soft on the focus,” I tell her. “Sorry, but it’s just a boring and uninteresting photo, even if we crop it differently. What’s the story? What’s the primary subject?” I offer, discounting yet another of her selections. It was through this process of elimination, of hearing myself tell her why these photos don’t work, that I realized I had truly accomplished my goal for 2016. To further develop my creative eye.

So, over this last year, my mission was to further my photographic creative vision. Along the way, not only did I accomplish this, but I learned that I was good at photography and that  I am creative. This not only means in taking photos but for example when  creating a still-life photo, it’s more than throwing things on a table. Rather, it’s the bringing in of elements and creating a visual story with these items. It’s about starting a blog, writing purely for the love of telling a funny story with a quirky sense of humour, and hearing from friends and family how much they enjoy the blog and look forward to the weekly posts. I learned I am creative because I jumped across a hurdle. The one where I never thought I could do anything creative. “I’m just not artsy” I was told and believed. Well, it seems I was to learn something different this year and the process of this self-discovery has been truly rewarding.

So overwhelmingly, accessing the goals from the beginning of the year, I certainly achieved the desired outcome! Yeah me!

So, please, if you are reading this and thinking I’m not creative, or I’ve always wanted to do  ____  (fill in the blank) but I know I just won’t do well at it, I want to say HOGWASH! Make a list, a goal, a resolution or whatever you want to call it. It’s that time of year for it. Do it for yourself. I guarantee if you do, you will find out so much about yourself. You will learn and grow. As they say in AA, “You will be amazed before you are half way through.” Come on. Do it.
I dare you to soar!

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