Ten Years, Ten Photos – 2016: Teaching

This is the final entry for my Ten Years, Ten Photos series in which I reflect on my first ten years with digital photography, and choose a single image that holds the most significance for that year. I began it in 2017, and as I write this, it’s the middle of 2021! Exemplary of my ability to follow through with my own ideas and projects — but also of my perseverance, perhaps! 😅

Early in 2016, I could finally “move in” to my own office in the new house — the replacement window had been delayed (a custom size was needed), then the room itself needed paint of course (I replaced “realtor beige” with a nice and clean white), and since we had a built-in closet torn out entirely the carpet had to be replaced as well. Then came the baseboards, and finally, my desk and shelves and everything else. Phew!

First Step to Teaching

When I thought about what photograph I could possibly choose as “the most significant one” from 2016, I received the final clue from myself, when I most recently scheduled a “Lightroom Session on Local Adjustments” for my photo club, based on feedback and requests from our members. But, one thing after the other.

In 2016 my friend Tracy, then-chair of the Sierra Club Photo Section, asked me whether I could contribute something to the club’s July “Improve Your Skills” meeting. With the still fairly recent boost in confidence from the time that I was a guest mentor for Anne McKinnell’s Photo Forté (now closed, unfortunately), and the continued client relationships that had already evolved out of it at that point, I knew that I could easily do that.

“I guess I could talk a bit about Lightroom’s local adjustments” is what I replied to Tracy — because I knew that a lot of people weren’t really using the graduated and radial filters or the brush very much. (I don’t know how many times I’ve heard folks telling me that they switch to Photoshop for dodging and burning… sigh!;-)

So at the meeting, I live-processed an image with local adjustments only, not touching the global adjustment sliders, at all. And I guess it left an impression! Tracy asked me afterwards to teach an entire workshop on Lightroom — and that in turn got me started into offering these services professionally.

In hindsight, all this had the biggest impact on my work in the years that followed, so the obvious choice for the most significant photo from 2016 is the very image that I developed in front of the audience of the photo club, in July 2016. And to go full circle, I used it as the feature image in the announcement for the session I’m doing for the club soon. :)

It’s funny how that happens — not just to me, but to a lot of photographers, of course. Because quite honestly, I never had any aspirations to teach anyone (and anything, for that matter). The two surprises that waited in 2016 where: 1. there’s a demand and people want to learn from me (me! wow!) and 2. I actually liked it — a lot! :)

In the years that followed, this expanded from “Lightroom and photography” into everything that happens at the intersection of camera and computer and what might be needed around it: organization, workflow, storage, backup and, for my loyal clients, of course also help with their computers, phones, and tablets (everything syncs nowadays). My 10+ years working in IT in Germany certainly helped with that! :)

It all happened very organically and at a slow pace. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Today, my Lightroom clients come from A like Anchorage in Alaska to Z like Zürich in Switzerland. The internet and screen sharing/remote support software make it all possible. It’s great, and I love it!

Infrared

What also happened in 2016 was that my online friend Shannon Johnson let me borrow his infrared-converted Sony A7r camera with Canon lens adapter, and my friend Frank Rodrick gave me two Canon lenses. I made my first steps into infrared that way. (I can honestly say that infrared is one of the best usages of mirrorless cameras, because you see the infrared image in the electronic viewfinder.)

Infrared is an interesting and quirky process that requires more attention and it was a great learning experience: creating my own infrared profiles for the camera (Lightroom’s white balance adjustments aren’t flexible enough for IR), playing around with the colors, different renditions, and all that.

What’s not so great is that I’m still sitting on a bunch of infrared images that I haven’t finalized! Who would have expected that?! 😆

The Next Ten Years

As I write this, I’m already well into “The Next Ten Years” and at the speed I finished the first decennial review, I should perhaps start writing on the first entries already?!

It took too long until I reached this last entry, and the only (obvious, and open-ended) conclusion is at this point that I’m still having fun with photography, and that I love what I’m doing. Thanks to everyone who had a part in this journey for your support, your trust, your faith. It is truly appreciated.


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