Looking back at 2018, and thoughts on 2019

2018 was a good year for me - in both my photography life and my personal life. Taking a look back at this past year, along with committing to a few things for 2019, is a good way to see where I’ve been and where I’m going.

This year I gave back by shooting several non-profit events, including the ALS Walk and the FOA Rally.

I also shot several theatrical productions, including Last Pirates of the Vast Golden Treasure, Oliver!, Shrek the Musical, and Lion King Jr. I also shot the Haunted Walks in Springfield in October – while not exactly a theatrical production it was super fun and a real test of both my thinking on-the-fly and my equipment.

I greatly enjoyed shooting all of the events this past year and hope to continue to shoot more of them in 2019. The energy is infectious, and shooting them is not easy – but rewarding. Shout out to Tammy Scheissler, Andy Grimm, Troy Berry, Brad Boyer, and Krissy Hartman for asking me to be a part of their events and productions.

This year saw me travelling more to shoot, including a few trips to Kentucky, Northern Ohio, Indiana, Hocking Hills and other Ohio parks, and Colorado. Shooting the same local places all of the time can make one stagnant – getting out to new locations is good for the soul and inspires one to shoot more.

I shot more film in 2018 than 2017 – 210 rolls of 120 and 35mm film versus 124 rolls the prior year. The majority was 120 (“medium format”).  All rolls were developed by me at home and scanned with my Epson V600. Shooting film has really slowed me down, and while I tend to shoot less, my “keeper” hit rate is much better. Having a camera readily handy at all times was a commitment for 2018, and when I grab a camera to take with me every day, its now usually one of my film cameras. It appears that most of my personal work is gravitating toward film – while events, paying work, and wildlife images tend to be taken on digital formats.

Speaking of wildlife imagery – that’s the one thing I really slacked-off on in 2018. I didn’t shoot much wildlife after the beginning of March this year. There was a core group of guys at my day-job that I would go out and shoot with at lunch, but earlier in the year the company did a re-org and nearly all of them were let go at that time. That put a damper on my desire to go out and shoot wildlife at lunch and was a bit of a sad blow. I’m happy to say that all of them are now working again at different companies. I just need to get my Wildlife groove back for 2019.

Great Blue Heron above the Great Miami River, Dayton, Ohio February 2018

One of my resolutions for 2018 was to put myself out there more, in terms of showing my artwork, so I did apply for a few shows including one at the Middletown Arts Center and also the 2019-2020 Season at DVAC. The DVAC proposal was a joint-show between myself (photos) and Renee (watercolors). While the DVAC proposal wasn’t accepted, my image I entered for the Middletown Arts Center show was accepted and is currently on display there thru 1/10/2019.

Sunset Over Cincinnati with the Skystar Wheel - October 2018


I also finally got this website up and running in 2018, along with this blog. I enjoy writing so being able to do so again, and have a webpage that makes ordering prints has been great. In the past I had folks contact me thru Instagram to buy stuff but having a direct portal has made life much easier.

On a personal note, 2018 saw me finally getting serious about losing weight and starting the Whole30 diet in September. As of the writing of this post, I’ve lost 44lbs. I still have about 35 more to go to get to my ideal weight, but the change has helped me in many ways including photography. Hiking and climbing up and down hills with heavy gear is much easier now that I weigh less and have a lot less joint pain.

Sharon Woods Middle Falls - Sharonville, December 2018

In November 2018 we also decided to tackle a large project at the house, and part of that project was de-cluttering. We filled a large SUV-sized dumpster with “stuff”, and now the house, and our lives, are full of a lot less clutter. People have too much “stuff” in their lives.

So, what’s in store for 2019? A few things. This list seems long but its really not. :)

1.       Continue to lose weight and focus on my health – It’s probably not a good idea to keep calling my new way of eating “Whole30”, but that’s what it is - essentially transformed into a lifestyle. The only change from “Whole30” is that I have allowed legumes to be back in the plan. They don’t really cause any inflammation or joint pain for me and are a good source of protein and variety.

2.       Start to ride again (this could be part of #1 above but I wanted to break it out separate to keep me honest). It’s been 4+ years since I’ve basically stopped cycling. 2019 is the year to get back on the bike(s). A side benefit is that I do some of my best creative thinking when riding alone on a trail in the woods.

3.       Get out and shoot more wildlife images.

4.       Invest in my photography – by that I mean take the time, to make the time, to shoot more. This includes planning a few small photography trips. Already lined up is a photo workshop in the Outer Banks in February and a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in May. Its really not all about gear – getting better as a photographer is in your head, not your equipment.

5.       Do a show – by this I mean enter more events in 2019, along with possibly setting up and selling at a local fair or art show.

6.       Shoot more events – I loved shooting events in 2018 and will do more of it in 2019. This includes continuing to give back by shooting non-profit events.

7.       Shoot even more film – different types, expired films, new films, you name it. It’s fun and is a good way to stay motivated while “slowing down” all at the same time. Part of that is shooting more 35mm film – I always seem to grab the medium format gear but 35mm is portable and fun to shoot. I have too many rolls of 35mm stock-piled and need to use some of that up.

8.       Find inspiration – photography books, painting books, museums, performances – inspiration comes from everywhere. Photography is a relatively new form of art in comparison to the other great art forms, and can take its inspiration from anywhere.

9.       Continue to evolve the blog and the website.

That’s pretty much it! I hope that 2018 was great for you, and that 2019 has something great in store.

I’ll end with an image I just shot on Christmas Day 2018 when Renee and I went out for a hike in the falling snow. I love this image because it reminds me that you’re never too old to enjoy yourself, and stop to taste a few snowflakes. :)

Renee on Christmas 2018 Hike - Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200, Mamiya 645 ProTL

Happy New Year!