2010, A New Folder

January 2, 2010.  I went to the car wash and took my camera along to give me something to do while waiting.  Plus, I find the car wash workers for some reason do a much better job detailing my car with a big white lens following them.  I spent the next 30 minutes photographing the workers and anything else of interest.  Not exactly street photography, but kinda sorta..



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F5.6  1/125th 70mm ISO 125


So, later that evening I'm sitting in front of the computer and pop in my flash card and go to the Adobe Lightroom import dialogue box.  It asks me where to save the images to.  I pause.  It's been my habit since I put images on a computer to save them in a directory tree that goes like this:


Using this structure, keywording, and metadata searches I can usually find what I'm looking for fairly quick.  Usually.

I realized it's a new year!  2010 is ringing my bell now!  So I perform my once per year (annual) ritual.  I open the closet and rummaging around in the very back I find it where I left it hidden under an old suitcase and next to a bag of old clothes.  Pulling the old ancient wooden chest from the closet I carefully place it on the table, open the top, and reach into the darkness fingers searching for one of the most rare objects known to mankind.  A broken flash memory card.  Placing it in an approved fireproof burning device (ashtray) I carefully pour some sacred fire oil (lighter fluid) over it and then using an antique fire starter (my dad's old Zippo lighter) I burn/melt the memory card while giving thanks to the digital gods and pleading for better light and more sharpness in the new year.  Once done I create my new folder and import my photos.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F5.6  1/200th 200mm ISO 200


Seriously, a new year is significant.  What goals did you set?  As I look in the folder "2009" I'm reminded of all e the countries and towns I visited, the people I traveled with, customers whose portraits and weddings I shot, product shoots, and soon the entire previous year is flashing through my mind week by week and month by month.  A smile comes to my face as I remember someone or someplace specific and I move to the "2008" folder to refresh my memory.  This is what photograph is all about, Kodak moments.  Recording a certain place, event, scene, or whatever it was our eyes saw.. to view later.  Recording memories.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F5.6  1/160th 195mm ISO 1250


Looking through 2009 I mentally note the places I wanted to go but didn't, so I add them to the top of my 2010 list of "places to go."   I mentally note how many exposures I took for the weddings and portrait sessions and compare them to how many images I 'finish process'.  Using a script program I retrieve the total number of actuations from my cameras and subtract them from the sub-totals of last year.  I can't help but to have a look at the books, the total amount brought in and divide this number by the number of actuations for 2009.  My goal is that each year I'll see this number increase.  I've only scratched the surface, I'll spend the rest of the night analyzing 2009 and making plans and setting goals for 2010.

I'm surprised the car wash is open on this Saturday.  I was advised it probably wouldn't be, but then I thought this would be a very busy day for them so I decided to give it a try.  As it turns out it was very busy.  Cars lined up waiting in line 2-3 times further than normal.  Everyone is working hard and they look more tired than usual.  I manage to catch a few as they pause in their work for a few moments.

Over in the corner a small water shrine catches my eye.  As a customer you're expected to sit in the provided seating and not wander, so I work the zoom and choose my shots carefully.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F5.6  1/500th 200mm ISO 100


A customer sits close to me.  I can't help but sneak a few shots of her hoping she won't think I'm rude.  She doesn't, she gives me a big smile and goes back to reading her magazine.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F5.6  1/100th 110mm ISO 3200


It's opportunities like this when you can experiment a bit.  I'm still impressed by the increase in dynamic range of my new Canon 5d Mark II so I try some heavily backlit shots, and a few more with strong side light.  Many of these shots are at ISO 3200 and I'm curious how much detail I'll lose this high up in the range.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F4  1/200th 200mm ISO 640


As I finish processing the images from the car wash I'm back to thinking about 2010.  What new cameras will be announced and in our hands in the next year?  The Canon 1d Mark IV just hit the streets 3 days ago.  Will the new Canon 1ds Mark IV be available this year?  This will be my next professional grade DSLR and I'm eager.  Looking at White-Lighting's website I see some new gear they're coming out with, new studio lights and a new remote system to go with them.  I'm also hoping for some new lenses.  Not much talk in the Nikon camp about new gear other than a possible D700(x) model, the same DSLR as the current D700 but with a 24mp sensor to compete with the Canon 5d Mark II.  With it's more professional level body and advanced systems it's sure to surpass it's Canon competition in most areas.



Canon 5d Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8 IS  @F4  1/160th 195mm ISO 1600


Thoughts of a trip to Mae Hong Son this month occupy my thoughts for a few moments before moving on to Cambodia.  I'm eager to take a road trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap this February but have yet to solidify my plans.  Some unknowns prevent locking in.  The first few weeks of March will be the last of the reasonable weather so I'm thinking of heading south to some islands, not sure about this yet.  April-May are very hot months so I'll be looking for destinations that require less physical activity.  June through August are special months for me because my son will spend them with me as he always does, so I'll need to talk to him and make plans together.  August through October are wet months, but also a beautiful time to visit mountainous areas.  November and December usually has delightful weather.. so much to consider.

What does your 2010 look like?  Where will you go?  Will you be getting new gear?  Travels to Thailand or other parts in South East Asia?  Is a cool photography workshop in your plans?

I hope you all had a great holiday season and I wish you all a great New Year.  If you're in Thailand and out taking pictures keep an eye out for me and if you see me come over and say hello.  I'll be the guy standing back watching where other photographers shoot.. and then looking the other way for the unusual shot.  I'll be the guy with a black truck and white lenses.  A cute assistant will be holding my camera bag while I compose a shot.  I'll be the guy living everyone's dream of retiring to Thailand and spending the year traveling around the country taking pictures and having a great time.  I love being that guy.


Until next time..