It’s the last day of 2012, and lucky for me it’s on a Monday. And for many it’s a time of reflection – relishing the good things that happened, acknowledging the bad things that happened. If any of these are on your ‘bad things’ list, don’t worry. I’m sure you’re not the only one.
It’s okay if…
- … you broke some equipment. Photographers do it all the time. Even the top photographers. It’s part of the business of going to far away and dangerous places. Broke it at home? If it makes you feel any better, this photographer broke a new D800 a month after he bought it.
- … you didn’t know that species existed. No matter how many David Attenborough series you watch, there’s always going to be species that you miss out on. They like to feature the charismatic animals that will draw viewers to the TV. A new estimate in August put the total number of species on earth at 8.7 million, of which 33 new species of trapdoor spiders were discovered this year and new monkeys including a sneezing monkey in Burma and Owl-faced monkey in the Congo. My coolest species discovery was the Greenland shark – its skin is poisonous, has copepods feeding off its cornea and can get up to the same size as a great white!
- … you went to a major tourist destination to hang out with people from your country. Sometimes you just need to talk to people who can relate to you without having to use hand gestures, speak slowly or not speak at all. Personally, I felt that after 3 months travelling I stopped being as impressed by temples as I should have been. It’s when it becomes a pattern that you have to watch out.
- … you find all these types of social media exhausting. Facebook makes sense to some, such as me, who know people all over and find it too exhausting to write 10 e-mails every day. LinkedIn is like a professional résumé advertising space. Don’t have anything interesting to say? Twitter is probably not worth it. Though you could just use it to follow what others are saying without saying anything at all. I have a google+ account but only because it’s supposed to help with Google’s SEO algorithms. Instagram. Blogging. Pintrest. Foursquare. Youtube. Vimeo. What new trend will follow?
- … all you want to see are polar bears and lions. Paul Nicklen, a Nat Geo photographer, estimates that polar bears will be gone in 50 years. The way poachers are going there are more rhino’s killed per year than is in any way feasible. There are not many big names in photography that haven’t captured these animals at some stage. And these images do sell. But they won’t make you stand out of the crowd.
Speaking of lions though, don’t forget to switch onto the BBC every Wednesday (or Sunday) from the 2nd for 6 weeks to watch their stunning new series called ‘Africa’. I know I’ll be chained to my spot on the sofa.
- … you can’t afford a trip out to the other side of the hemisphere. My family never did very many holidays, and definitely not to exotic destinations in developing countries. So I longed to go to Asia, Latin America, Africa, when I could. But if there’s something I’ve learnt over the past few years is that the UK and Europe hold some stunning cities and nature that I will be eager to visit in 2013 – on the top of my list are Ireland, Iceland, northern Scotland and Croatia. If you’re reading this from the US, well I can’t really comment too much, but I think the wealth of your nature and cities should be equally obvious. Plus you have Canada and Mexico right there.
- … you don’t recognise a single name on a blog’s 10-top photographers lists. There are many good photographers out there, who have their own skills in their own specialist field. So you don’t know all the names shooting for Nat Geo? So what. That doesn’t make you any less dedicated. A friend who plays football in the US said he was shocked to hear how many people didn’t follow the professional players and leagues, but they are such good players.
- … you did something that wasn’t entirely environmentally friendly. It’s exhausting to always have to worry about your carbon footprint. Especially because supermarkets, shops, companies aren’t making it easy for you. Don’t worry about breaking your entire budget to try and do eco-friendly – your one little slip-up won’t mean the planet will die out tomorrow.
- … all this bad weather isn’t motivating you to leave the house. Who needs technology? My brother and I did a puzzle over Christmas. There’s some great TV to watch (I’d recommend The Killing, and I’m going to start with Breaking Bad soon). Go to the cinema, visit a museum. Lots of great things are indoors. But if you’re a photographer, take on the challenge – some of the shots I’ve been most impressed with have been taken in moody weather.
- … you can’t be bothered with all this soppy reflection nonsense. Go out and celebrate without even thinking. Or stay in and celebrate (this weather isn’t making me want to go outside). Negative New years resolutions don’t work. Instead of saying ‘lose weight’ say ‘play more football’ if football is what you enjoy. Or just don’t make one and avoid the disappointment. The world will go on (yes, it didn’t implode on the 21st if you’re wondering).
Happy New Year!!!