One of my New Years' resolutions this year is to work on my photography skills. I don't just mean that I want to take a lot of photos and try and get better, I mean that I really want to study, practice and learn more about photography. I want to improve my skills on both the technical and artistic side. Photography is, and always will be, just a hobby for me, but it doesn't mean that I don't want my photos to look like "just a hobbyist" took them.
I remember last New Years' weekend and taking photos of the beautiful Austrian Alps. I was excited about shooting in manual and exploring and controlling my settings and I felt as if I was making some improvements. I also remember being frustrated with my white balance when I unknowingly switched the WB to "fluorescent lighting". Needless to say, those photos did not look good and I was extremely frustrated trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. As a beginner, I couldn't even identify that it was a WB issue and I had not dabbled in editing or RAW, so I had no idea how to fix it in post-processing. This is a photo I took last year after being so frustrated with the WB that I flipped it into auto.
Maybe it is a New Years' funk, but I am experiencing more New Years' frustrations as I look at my photos from this weekend. We spent this New Years' in the Alps in Chamonix, France and I cannot even describe the beauty and grandness of this place, it is beyond gorgeous. We spent most of our time snowboarding on the incredible slopes, but I did get one full day of shooting when we took the cable car up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. At 3,842 m (12,605 ft), the view is stunning. I don't think it is possible to take a bad picture from this place, however, I'm not just trying to take nice photos anymore. I really want to take great photos, something that captures the moment or the place, something that makes the viewer actually feel or think something besides, "hmmm, that's nice". I know that I may never get to the point where all, or even a majority of my photos do that to viewers, but every once in awhile I would like to get one or two. Yes, these are nice photos, but really, with a view like this, how can you go wrong?
I will say that my almost paralyzing fear of heights didn't help me maintain a steady hand when it came to taking some of these photos. I also wasn't the quickest to react and move when trying to get the perfect shot of the birds flying overhead. I am just happy that I got a couple of decent photos and I didn't faint or throw-up...it's the small victories.