Happy New Year all!
I know the usual “what I did in 2023” posts can be a bit dull. I’m guilty of rarely reading them myself, so I’ll keep this one short.
I feel like this year revived my photography passion a little bit, which is a nice contrast to the past few years of creative doldrums. This is likely down to a few factors – my partner has been suffering with health problems for the last 3 years, which were finally relieved with surgery in the later half of 2023 (yay!). It’s easy to overlook the effect that can have on wanting to create, especially when the process of taking photos involves going outside, something they were not able to do with any reliable ease. The difference the surgery has made to their health is night and day, and we now have a year of great plans ahead of us, which I’m really looking forward to.
The other thing that perked up my creativity, was getting back into digital photography after many years of only film. I was hesitant to go this route, as I valued the slow process, less room for error, and creative weirdness that film and film cameras offered. However, realising that sometimes you need to make things easy for yourself is pretty valuable. I’ve had fantastic fun with the Fujifilm X-T20 and the variety of lenses I bought this year – it has opened my eyes to all the joys of new(ish) technology. Focus peaking allowed me to use a couple of relatively cheap and fun off-brand lenses, which scratched my creative itch, and the film simulations are much better than I expected.
Being able to sling the body and a couple of lenses in a bag and not worry too much about light, fast movement, getting the focus right without wasting money on film development, took a lot of the pressure off. I shot my first LARP event, and a couple of fun evening gatherings locally too. The Fuji has definitely woken up my photographic eye – long may it continue into 2024.
I also made a trip that I’ve been planning for years, to Vietnam to volunteer with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Living and working in the forest for two weeks was amazing, and I got to be part of so many fantastic activities, all while helping some of the world’s most trafficked and endangered animals. I kept a daily diary while I was there, complete with loads of photos. The trip definitely sparked an interest in volunteering, which I’ve continued by joining a local ecological community group here in Bristol. More to follow on that in 2024.
As for looking forward, I don’t have any set photographic goals for 2024. I do have a couple of sewing goals (make a button-down shirt from a pattern, and sew a quilt), but my aim will mostly be to get back into the habit of taking a camera out with me whenever I’m going somewhere new. For that, I can happily fall back on my trusty old Olympus XA4 – although long in the tooth, it still makes some lovely images, and I’ll keep using it until it’s unrepairable.
Tell me about your highlights of 2023, and what you have planned for 2024!