Collage of 5 photos

Yes, I know it’s almost May, kind of late to be making 2020 photography goals, isn’t it? Well, this year is a bit different than most so I’m just going to go with it.

With all the free time I’ve had recently, I started to think of things I could do with my photography during the rest of the year. I’ve never really set any sort of photography goals, so I thought it might be fun.

Over the last couple of years since I moved to China, I’ve done so much travelling and photography. This has been great, it’s been like a dream! But I feel like I’ve fallen into a bit of a routine.

Always using the same camera and the same lens. My Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 7-14mm f2.8 lens. It’s my favourite combination and lends itself well to the type of photos I like to take.

But sometimes it’s nice to try new things and experiment a little. I figure this is a good year to do it. I just want to mix things up a bit.

The Goals

Before I get to the actual goals, just a couple of notes. These goals are not things I have never done before. Most are things that I haven’t done for a long time or haven’t done very often.

After each of the goals, I will include a few examples of those types of photos I’ve taken in the past. This will better illustrate what I’m talking about with the goal.

On to the goals!

1. Shoot More With My iPhone

It all started when I got the iPhone 11 Pro Max late last year. I was excited to upgrade from my 7 Plus, especially since the new phone has a wide-angle lens, which is what I use for most of my photography.

I don’t intend to replace my Olympus gear with my iPhone, but I think it can supplement it nicely. And hey, I’m not getting any younger, so being able to walk around taking photos without carrying a heavy backpack is ok with me.

And I really like the idea of using mobile apps for taking and editing photos. Such a much simpler workflow, but I will have to see if I will be happy with the results.

A few of the apps that I look forward to getting into more are Halide and Spectre for taking photos, and Darkroom for editing them.

Here are some examples of earlier iPhone photos I took:

2. Shoot More Black & White Photos

In the years before I moved to China, when I was living in Toronto, I was really into street photography. I used to shoot more black and white than colour. I really enjoyed the works of photographers such as Fan Ho, Vivian Maier, and Thomas Leuthard.

Here in China though, I have gotten away from street photography. I guess what I do now would be considered travel photography.

But like I mentioned earlier, it has become a bit routine, so I think it will be fun to kind of get back to what I used to enjoy doing so much. Beijing is full of cool areas that would be ideal locations for street photography. And with the weather getting warmer and things starting to open up again, it is an opportune time.

Here are some examples of earlier street photos I took:

3. Take More Portrait Photos

This one really should be called, ‘Take Portrait Photos’, considering I have rarely ever done portrait photography. And when I say portrait photos, I am referring to outdoor natural light and environmental photos. I have no desire to get into flash and studio photography, it looks way too complicated!

If you look through my Instagram feed, you’ll see that I don’t usually have anyone in my photos, especially not anyone posed. This goal is definitely more of a challenge for me. There are so many more things to think about when taking a photo of someone. And I’m more used to being a lone wolf photographer.

A few years ago, I kind of experimented with doing portraits of some friends just for fun. I did enjoy it and hopefully I can find some willing participants here in China!

Here are some examples of earlier portrait photos I took:

4. Experiment With Long Exposure Photography

Typically, long exposure photography is used for things like smoothing out rushing water, showing light trails from vehicles, and astrophotography.

Taking long exposure photos is a bit more involved than just regular photos. Since you are keeping the shutter open for a long time, the camera needs to be stabilized. Typically, the camera is placed on a tripod or a sturdy surface, such as the ground.

And if it’s too bright, you also need to use some sort of ND filter to prevent too much light from coming in. It is much easier to do it at night.

Having said that, one of the apps that I mentioned earlier in Goal #1 with iPhone photography is called Spectre. Its primary use is to more easily create long exposure photos using the iPhone. It uses some phone camera magic (and some AI) to help you create nice long exposure photos, even during the day.

You can even remove people or cars from a scene if you can keep the shutter open long enough and they move around enough.

Here are some examples of earlier long exposure photos I took:

5. Use My 40-150mm Telephoto Lens More

I bought this lens before my trip to Iceland, and used it quite a bit while I was there. But in the years since, it’s barely been used. I even stopped bringing it with me on most of my trips.

As I’ve mentioned, I tend to like the look of wide-angle photos, and a telephoto is the opposite of that. And I find it challenging to find compositions that I like at longer focal lengths.

I like being pretty nimble when I’m out shooting, a bit anonymous, and it’s difficult when walking around with such a big lens.

So to get myself out of my wide-angle comfort zone, I will attempt to develop an eye for longer focal length compositions.

But don’t worry, I won’t be hanging out at Sanlitun with my telephoto lens 🙂

Here are some examples of earlier long focal length photos I took:

6. Take More Selfies

Umm…no. Totally joking 🙂

Conclusion

So there you have it, five things I would like to do more of this year with my photography.

Hopefully the virus situation continues to improve here in Beijing and everywhere else of course.

I will follow up with some blog posts later in the year to update how my progress is going!

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