Friday, August 10, 2012

One Year Reflections and a Favorite Photo of the Week

Be sure to enter the giveaway to celebrate my one year blogiversary and one year shooting on manual anniversary! 

I had planned on having this post up much sooner as I was looking forward to reflecting on this past year. However, I have been getting ready for a program I help run at my school to get kids ready for kindergarten. I was setting up in my classroom and had to unexpectedly move a bunch of books due to an issue with a piece of technology. I am pretty sure I pulled a muscle under my right arm, which has made typing a slow progress. With some effect and reflection, however, I was able to get this post ready. And it reminded me how much I enjoy blogging and photography.

I would love for you to share where you are at in your blogging and/or photography journey and one thing you have learned!

Here are 5 things I have learned about blogging and 5 things I have learned about shooting on manual in the past year...

1. Be True to Who You Are
The best thing about the blogging world is the fact that each blog is from a unique person's point of view. The blogs that I love the most are the ones that are like no other blog out there. That is the biggest thing I have learned through out this year - while I can gain inspiration from other blogs my blog is uniquely mine.

2. The Effort You Put In = What You Get Out
I had a couple of unsuccessful blogs in high school and always was disappointed when I only got a few comments or views. What I have learned this year is that the comments and views I was getting were directly related to how much effort I was putting into the blog. Now I realize that the thought I put into my posts, the time I spend visiting and learning from other blogs and the time I spend commenting are how I make blogging this time around successful.

3. Sometimes It's The Little Things
From my first post I knew that I would always include 2 things - 1. The settings I used for each shot and 2. A quote to go along with the message of my post. I wanted to include the settings as a way for me to track my progress in becoming better at manual shooting as well as to allow others to learn from my photos as I have learned. The quotes are because I have always loved quotes and finding ones that connect to me. These two small additions are what I most often get thanked for. I do them for me (see #1), but I love that others gain something from them as well :o).

4. Why Do I Blog?
When I started the blog I knew that I wanted a place to chronicle my photography journey. That was my purpose and that has certainly remained the primary reason I blog. I have discovered this year that blogging is about more than that for me. I blog because I love to learn new things and to connect with others. I learn by trying something out and reflecting on it, which is well suited to blogging. I connect with others by observing and learning about them, which again is something that blogging makes possible. My favorite thing to do is join link ups because it is the perfect way to both learn and connect.

5. Let Yourself Off The Hook
I am a very goal oriented person and when I started blogging I had lofty goals. Things like blogging every day and commenting on the blog of every person who commented on mine. I quickly began to realize that with my full-time teaching job and my family and friends that was not possible for me. I spent a while trying to cling to my goals, but I realized that just made me not want to blog at all. I have learned that goals have to be adjusted and that is perfectly fine! You have to find what works for you (again, see #1).

1. Photography Is A Journey
...and will never be a destination. The most important thing I have discovered about photography is that I will never be done learning, growing, becoming better, developing my style or trying something new. I will always look back on my photos and see what I can do differently or how I have grown on this journey.

2. The Effort You Put In = What You Get Out
Just as with blogging, and most things in life, the quality of my photos, the amount of things I learn and try and who I become as a photographer are in direct proportion to the effort I put into learning and reflecting.

3. Never Stop Learning
I have always loved learning new things and growing as a person as a result. This has been amplified when it comes to things I am passionate about such as photography. When I look back on this year I realize how much I have learned from shooting on manual to capturing sunbursts to understanding light because I was fascinated and wanted to know how to do those things. Beyond that I realize that there will always be more to discover (see #1) and I look forward to the more :o).

4. Trust Your Instincts
The rules of photography are important and have done so much to help me improve as a photographer. Some of the images I am most proud of though are those where I have focused not on the rules, but on what my instincts are telling me. I have found that a balance of rules and instincts are what works best for me.

5. Try It Out
Even if something seems difficult or a little scary, give it try. You might learn something (see #3)! :o)

And now my favorite image from this week! It is a good representation of what I have discovered this year - To trust my instincts, try it out and put in effort. Thank you for stopping by and reading my ramblings :o)!

Settings: ISO 400, 55mm, ss1/320, f/5.6
Location: Point Defiance Park Dahlia Test Garden in Tacoma, WA
"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." - Franklin D. Roosevelt 
Happily Mother After    the long road     Weekly Top Shot     Project 52 - p52 weekly photo challenge with Kent Weakley 


  1. Great post! thank you!
    I can absolutely relate, I too started my blog to keep track of my journey with my photography after purchasing my first DSLR a couple months ago :)

  2. Thanks for sharing your blogging "philosophy!" Love your shot. It puts a smile on my face!

  3. I liked this post! I would agree with all those things too! For me blogging can be tedious if I am not doing it for the reasons I put my thoughts and pictures out there. Photography is a great way to show ones life, but it needs to be fun first and foremost. If it feels like a chore than that purpose is gone!

  4. I love this cheerful shot! Great insights on blogging and photography. I just went back to work (teaching 1st grade) after spending last year at home due to relocation. I started blogging to give me something to do with all my free time, but love it and don't want to stop, even though I really don't have time for it any more.

  5. Tough shout, but it came out great. Thanks for including your camera settings.

  6. Wow, thanks for your blogging tips and photography tips. I haven't read my manual yet, but my pictures are not really bad at all. But I know they can be better if I know and learned my manual:)

    1. If you have time , you can visit my two blogs:

  7. Great post and a beautiful shot!

    Thanks for sharing with Foto Friday,

  8. Excellent advice; I totally agree!

  9. Enjoyed your ramblings and agree with all you have shared. Hope your arm soon heals too.

  10. Great post and great picture of the Dahlias! :)
    The part about you get out of it what you put in is very true, both in blogging and photography. I have been trying to improve my photography and joining blog hops and visiting other photography blogs is helping me in this goal.

  11. Yes, that is such a wonderful shots of dahlias..Your five tips are also great to remember!

  12. Congrats on your progress. You mentioned a lot of great points- I completely agree.

  13. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing on Weekly Top Shot #43!

  14. Absolutely gorgeous! Your photo is being featured over at "Life as this Mommy knows It"! Thanks so much for participating in last month's "Look Whooooo's Snapping" photo linky party!



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