Monday, January 7, 2013

13 New Things*

It's that time of year again, folks: time for me to list out the things I'm hoping to accomplish this year. Every year, I add one more thing to the list, which seems to work just fine now, but I think I'm going to regret this decision in a decade or so. I call it 13 New Things*, but that name is totally misleading. If there's anything that I failed to do last year, it gets carried over, hence the asterisk. 13 Mostly New Things with Some Failed Goals Repeated just doesn't have the same ring to it. What I have learned is that often times my failed goals are too general, so I'm going to try to rework those as best I can.

Before I get into that, make sure you click on the link to see more work by one of my photographer friends, Dennis. He takes AMAZING landscapes; seriously, they are out of this world. His work is breathtaking and inspirational, which is why I chose it for this post.

1. Photograph The Eels.
They are my favorite band, and I definitely want to get my DSLR in with me this tour. Whether I'm covering them for their website or for another publication, I'm determined to make it happen.

2. Play basketball again.
This might seem like a silly goal to have, so let me explain. May will be my four year anniversary of completely tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in my left knee. I did it, quite undramatically, rebounding the basketball. I haven't been on the court since then. I hopped right back into softball, not even 9 months after surgery, but I've got this mental barrier about basketball. Time to get back in the saddle.

3. Learn more about the computer programs I use.
There is a wealth of tutorials out there and I'm a little ashamed to say that I haven't done this before now. My hope is to sit down and learn at least once a month. Maybe I can do a book report or something on what I've learned.

4. Photo Challenge.
I decided to switch things up and do what I'm calling the Alphabet Photo Challenge. I'm going to photograph something that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. It'll get me thinking more product photography/stock images, plus fooling around with lighting set ups is always a good thing. This challenge is only 26 weeks, so I'm going to have to come up with something for the rest of the year. I was thinking Polaroid portraits.

5. Do a flexed arm hang for 30 seconds.
Ok, so I've failed the pull up challenge two years in a row! Yey! I'm slightly altering it this year to come closer to achieving it. Currently, I'm at a 10 second flexed arm hang, so I still have a long way to go.

6. Buy and learn Totally Rad.
I've seen how this program works and I'm definitely getting it this year.

7. Shoot a concert for another publication.
Don't get me wrong, I love being able to cover for the newspapers I work for, but concert photography isn't really their thing. I also love being able to shoot for the artist because I know that they want me there and respect my work. I just really want to find a good fit with another publication so I can cover more shows.

8. Give blood.
I have a pretty big fear of needles, but it's no excuse. I know that I have one of the rarest blood types, so I feel even more guilty for not donating. Let's hope I don't pass out.

9. Contact other concert photographers.
This was on my list last year, and although I didn't fail, I wasn't satisfied with my effort. I contacted one. This year, I'm going to contact more. Thanks to my work for Gotye, I have a connection to one of my greatest concert photography influences: Dana Yavin. Her pictures from Radio City are online with mine, so I can use that to strike up a conversation.

10. Set up album templates in InDesign while work is slow.
I tried out a couple other album design programs and I've decided to just go with what I know. I use InDesign every day at the newspaper and I've set up countless libraries for coworkers. I just need to lock myself in my room and get it done.

11. Go to the gym five days a week.
Last year my fitness goal was way too vague, so I'm hoping this will help. I probably averaged three days a week last year. I know there'll be weeks where I won't be able to go five days, but I'm shooting for a general average.

12. Learn basic web design.
I've been incredibly fortunate to have wonderful, talented friends who have helped me set up and maintain my website. While I don't think I will be able to pick up all the coding and whatnot, I want to be able to do simple things like update my bio or change my head shot.

13. Write an article.
Wasn't I just complaining about vague goals? I honestly didn't know how to word this one. Last year, I wrote some short, strongly opinionated posts on my frustrations with StubHub. I never followed through with what I wanted to say about it, but I've kept my eye on artists and live acts that have raised their voices; Louis C.K. and Amanda Palmer in particular. I've also become interested in how musicians are making a living. In particular, how little money they make from services like Spotify and Pandora and album sales. I want to take a look at self funded projects, like Ben Folds Five's latest album that came out through PledgeMusic. Basically, what I want to explore is how we as fans can best support the artists we love. I think that's a pretty big deal that most of us don't even think about.

So there you have it, my 13 New Things*. I always avoid the word resolutions; I feel like that word implies something we need to change about ourselves. I want to expand and push myself past my comfort level. But since I can never pass up a good pun...

Remember, I'll be giving you all the details of my successes and failures at the end of the year!

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