2012: Review of the year

2012 is over and it’s time to look back at the photographic fun I had and plan some new adventures for the coming year.

I use Adobe Lightroom 4 to process my images and manage my catalog. I now have 7 years worth of images filed in there and the great thing about that it that I can mine that catalog for all kinds of useless statistics about how and what I have been shooting.

Now this leads to lots of meaningless results (my most used aperture of 2012 was f8) but also some potentially interesting ones as you can contrast how you think you like to shoot with how you actually do. For example, am I getting full use of my expensive super-wideangle zoom lens on my D300? Well, yes, as 12mm is my most used focal length on that camera. How about the beastly 80-200 f2.8 zoom? Again yes, as 200mm was my third most used focal length and the vast majority of shots were taken at f2.8 with that lens.

See, all useful stuff.

I think 2012 will be remembered primary as the year I got back into shooting film. The stats show I shot nearly as much film as I did digital images, which is surprising. Lightroom reads film as ‘unknown camera’ as the files from my films scanner have no exif data in them.

2012 Lightroom stats

Comparing with previous years I shot roughly half as many images in 2012 as i had in the three previous years, however I did so over more numerous trips out with my camera (at roughly two trips per month). A definite case of quality over quantity. I’ve never been one to reel off hundreds of shots when a few will do, which I guess is why I like working with medium format 120 film so much, 15 shots on a role is just about right.

All time lightroom stats

When I look at what I’ve been shooting with, 2012 brought the resurgence of some of my treasured film cameras like my Bronica, along with the purchase of some new additions such as my Nikon F4 and FE cameras. From shooting almost exclusively with a D300 for 4 years I’ve definitely diversified, and will continue to do so. The ‘Older’ category is just the 210 images I’ve got round to scanning, I’ve been shooting with my Canon A1 and T90 combo since about 2000.

So to the year ahead. I think the significant 2012 arrivals are the Fuji x100 and just recently a super shiny new Nikon D800. My initial impression with these cameras is that they are as close to shooting film as I want, and in particular the D800 requires medium format film like shot discipline to get the best out of it (and to avoid completely filling my computer hard disc with 40Mb raw files!).

The D300 and 12-24mm lens combo are being traded in, and a 16-35mm lens is on the way to give me full-frame super-wide which should be very cool. I think 2013 may be the year I get back into colour photography as 2012 was distinctly monochrome and I have probably the best 35mm image sensor in the world right now so it would be a shame not to use it fully. First stop will be some Lightroom learning to find a ‘look’ I like for colour images to complement the wide range of custom monochrome presets I’ve developed for using on scanned monochrome images.


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