2015 – Another Creative Year

Brilliant and golden autumn sunshine streams thorugh a grouping of teasel in a field of dead wildflowers
A calm evening of pickeral weed and spruce trees in the marshlands of the Amable du Fond river, which rises in Algonquin Provoincial Park and flows northwards, emptying into the historic Mattawa River at Samuel de Champlain Provincial park, Ontario, Canada
A calm evening of pickeral weed and spruce trees in the marshlands of the Amable du Fond river, which rises in Algonquin Provoincial Park and flows northwards, emptying into the historic Mattawa River at Samuel de Champlain Provincial park, Ontario, Canada

I’m always surprised by my retrospective of the past year’s photos. The year never seems to be quite what it appears. For example, the school trip to Galapagos yielded only a few real “year end” photos. [I must admit to there being a few more than a few due to the personal significance to me of the wildlife, rather than the actual photograph quality!]

What also surprises me is the comparative dearth of wideangle photographs. I see myself primarily as a landscape photographer and I love using wideangle lenses – the wider, the better. Yet, wideangle only accounted for about a third of my shots compared to almost 60% telephoto, of which over half were either 200mm or 300mm. This astounds me.

Here are some stats…
Total # image files in 2015: 3191
(c.f. 2014: 3179; 2013: 3617).
Broken down by focal length, my shooting looks like this:
•  Ultra-wideangle (18-23mm): 10%
•  Wideangle (24-39mm): 27%
•  Normal (40-65mm): 7%
•  Short Telephoto (66-199mm): 23%
•  Long Telephoto: 200-300mm: 35%

A great blue heron glides over a cattail marsh after taking off in the evening light
A great blue heron glides over a cattail marsh after taking off in the evening light

It’s interesting to see “spikes” in the numbers at specific focal lengths:
•  18mm (233 = 7%)
•  24mm (379 = 12%)
•  35mm (159 = 5%)
•  200mm (603 = 19%) and
•  300mm (499 = 16%)
These five specific focal lengths account for 60% of my photos, which seems to coincide with my approach to photography, in that I tend to treat zoom lenses as variable fixed lenses. In other words, with each set-up, I consciously choose the focal length based on the perspective needed for the vision I have of the scene, rather than standing there and zooming to crop. It appears my choices coincide with the extremes of the lens I’ve chosen, which is also inline with my thinking.

To break this down further, I’ll take a quick look at my most successful photos (3 stars and above)…

The Boyne River has its headwaters in the Dufferin Highlands of Ontario and makes its way, largely undisturbed and wild, to join the Beaver River at the head of the Beaver Valley, along the Niagara Escarpment in Grey County, Ontario
The Boyne River has its headwaters in the Dufferin Highlands of Ontario and makes its way, largely undisturbed and wild, to join the Beaver River at the head of the Beaver Valley, along the Niagara Escarpment in Grey County, Ontario

# rated 3* and above: 371 or 11.3%
(c.f. 2014: 14%; 2013: 16%)
But, what does this mean? Am I becoming a progressively poorer photographer or perhaps more discriminating or…?

By focal length, this breaks down as follows:
•  Ultra-wide: 11%
•  Wide: 20%
•  Normal: 6%
•  Short Telephoto: 25%
•  Long Telephoto: 37%
I’m nit-picking here, but, again, telephoto is even stronger.

One area I need to work on is my use of black-and-white. This year only 13% of my most successful photos (3*+) are B&W, yet, I love black-and-white and could spend the rest of my life creating only black-and-white photographs. The problem is colour is so seductive as is the instant gratification that comes with colour, both personally and from others viewing my work. It’s unfortunate the number of times I hear something to the effect, “Oh – you don’t have that in colour, do you?”.

So, I’ve whittled those 371 down to the 27 photos shown here. I think these best represent the work I am doing and what is important to me as a photographer. I am still very much an opportunist – one who takes advantage of situations as they arise, rather than being more purposeful in going out to create a specific series of photographs. Over time, I believe I am becoming more purposeful, but I have a ways to go, yet.

If you’ve managed to read this far, congratulations! Here are the 27 photos I’ve selected. Enjoy!

Creative, Contemplative & Close-up

Landscapes

Wildlife

6 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    Another year of stunning photographs!! My favourites are the hummingbird (the colours are stunning .. and I was there when you were taking those shots!) and the tortoise. I also like the teasel in the autumn sunshine, and the green horsetail … all of them, actually!

  2. Bob Melnyk says:

    Very interesting stats Terry… I have access to the same info as well but never assembled it as you have… Like it..

    And must compliment your images – appreciate the information included with each…

    Happy New Year to you and family…

  3. Gordon Framst says:

    Thanks Terry! Your images inspire me to learn and practice more, and your ability to reduce 3000+ photos down to the 27 shown provides encouragement to get more serious about taking the time to do a better job of selecting and organizing my photos.

    Wishing you a Merry, Happy and Rewarding New Year.

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