Year in Review
In 2012, I shot 2759 frames of personal photography. That is, I kept that many frames--I actually shot a great deal more. Most likely that's too many, and it would probably be wise for me to go back through the year's photos and trim the collection a bit. Before I do that, though, I thought it would be fun to take a quick walk down memory lane with a selection of my favorites from the past year.
As it happened, going through my photo library, I found rather a lot that I loved. I tried to keep the set as concise as possible, but I still ended up with 35 pictures that I adored too much to leave them out. Perhaps my internal editor still needs more discipline, but then, this isn't meant to be the set of my best photos of the year, just of the ones I liked most. Some of these I've posted before, some I haven't. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
In roughly chronological order:
[Editor's Note: I've pinned this post to the front page for the duration of the sale, but new updates will continue to be posted below.]
For the first time ever, I've decided to hold a print sale. From today through the end of the month I'll be offering the 18 images you see below, so if you've ever thought to yourself "Hey, I really wish I could own a Mike Sakasegawa print," now's your chance. I'm including images from several ongoing series as well as a bunch of singles. (Note: you can click on each image to see a larger version.)
- Prints are digital C-prints, sized as noted above, on Fuji Crystal Archive paper.
- Prints are signed, uneditioned, and unmounted.
- All prints are priced at $60 US.
- Orders that will be shipped to California addresses will have sales tax applied.
- Domestic shipping via UPS is included in the price.
- International shipping is available at additional cost.
- Orders must be paid via PayPal.
- Rather than printing and shipping each order as it comes in, I'll be collecting orders through August 31 and then submitting the entire run to the printer at once. I expect orders will start shipping in the second week of September.
[Ordering info removed.]
Looking forward to hearing from you!
I first posted this photo back in December, but I'm revisiting it today because it illustrates something that makes me smile.
One of the people I follow on Twitter asked this question yesterday: "Why . . . do babies enjoy being thrown in the air? How terrifying would it be if a giant repeatedly tossed you above their head?" When you stop and think about it, she's got a point. If some twelve-foot-tall man picked me up and threw me in the air, I'd probably find it pretty frightening.
Look at Jason in that picture, though. You can see from his face that he's having a good time. But look at his hands, too, and you'll see something else: absolute trust. He's not even trying to hold on, because it doesn't even occur to him that Juliette might let him fall.
Even when I actually toss him up so that he's no longer touching my fingertips, he never gets scared, never tries to grab on or secure himself, never has a moment's doubt that I will catch him. He squeals with delight, spreading his arms and legs wide as though he can fly. And when I finally get winded and have to take a break, he shouts "Again! Again!"
To be trusted so completely, to know that he knows he can count on me, it's a wonderful feeling. I hope I never give him a reason to stop.
The Sartorialist's Visual Life
The Online Photographer this morning ran a piece about this video from Intel's Visual Life series, featuring Scott Schuman from The Sartorialist. I can't say I was familiar with Schuman before, but listening to him talk about his work and see how he works, it really resonated with me.
About a minute and a half in, he says this:
I feel very lucky to get to have part of my day leading a visual life. It takes X amount of time every day just to make the blog work, just to get everything going and get all the business of it done, but then the real joy of it is having those four or five hours a day to go out and just be in the world that you're in, see it, keep your eyes open and really relate to what you're seeing, react to what you're seeing.
Hearing that, it just clicked with me. That's exactly how I feel when I go out shooting, especially when I shoot street. There's a feeling of presentness, of groundedness, of connection and, yes, joy. Of just being thrilled to be in the world and get to see it and be a part of it.
It's also got me to thinking about my own approach to photography. The interesting thing about Schuman--and what makes his site so popular, I imagine--is that he's not focusing on photography; rather, he uses photography to focus on fashion. It's exactly that kind of particular point of view and direction that makes great artists interesting, and it's something that's definitely lacking from my work.
I've always suffered from a lack of focus. I'm interested in a lot of things. Even just within photography, there's no one subject or style that I like, no unifying theme to my work. I think that's a big part of what's holding me back artistically.
My Latest at Life As A Human: Every Picture Tells a Story
Over the past six months or so I’ve been reconnecting with my love of photography. It’s been an exhilarating time, learning different techniques, practicing composition, and shooting, shooting, shooting. In order to develop my own style, one of the things I’ve been doing is to study the work of past and current masters, and what I’ve come to realize is that the images that resonate the most strongly with me are those that tell a story. With that in mind, I’d like to tell you the story of one of my recent photos.
My Latest at Life As A Human: The Most Photographed Child In The World
If you are, like me, the parent of a young child and given to being a little shutter-happy with your camera, it’s quite possible that someone has referred to your son or daughter as “the most photographed child in the world.” I most often get it from my parents or in-laws, usually just after I’ve lifted the camera up to my eye. I was reflecting the other day on that phrase and it struck me that it’s kind of lost its meaning in the age of the digital camera.
Jason Is (Not) an Artist
When I picked Jason up from day care this evening, one of his art projects was waiting for me in his folder. We've been getting a lot of these since he moved up to the two-year-old class, and it's nice to see how he spends his time. This time it was a little paper plate that he had painted.
Walking out to the car, Jason, of course, asked to hold it.
"Jason hold that?" he asked.
"You want to hold this?" (I repeat his words back to him a lot, sometimes to make sure I understood him, but sometimes just to make things take longer.)
"Yeah! I made it."
"Oh, yeah, you made it." (See?)
He pointed at it. "Put food. On there."
"No, it's not a plate anymore. It's art now! Are you an artist?"
"Oh, OK. Do you think you might be an artist some day? That would be OK with me."
"OK, buddy, whatever you want."
A few minutes later, as we were on the way home, Jason was staring intently at the plate.
"It's a moo!"
"No! It's a moo!"
"No! A moo! It's a moo!"
"Oh! A moo? It's a cow?"
"Yeah! It's a cow."
"Cow swimming. The water!"
"The cow is swimming in the water?"
"Yeah! Shamu lives. In the water!"
"Yeah, Shamu lives in the water."
"With the cow!"
A few more minutes later:
"Don't like it."
"Don't like it. The cow."
"Why not? What did the cow do?"
"I don't know."
"Yeah. It's wet. The water."
So, apparently, this piece is a wet, swimming cow that lives in the water with Shamu, which Jason doesn't like, executed in paint on paper plate. Would you like to see it?
With an imagination like that, it's too bad he's so set against being an artist.
5 Reasons I Shouldn't Buy a Nikon D700
1.) I don't have a spare $2,500 just lying around. Even if I did, that would only get me the camera body, and none of my current lenses work well with full-frame cameras.
2.) Even if I did have money burning a hole in my pocket, that money would be better spent on things like lights, light stands, gels, lens filters, and so on.
3.) I haven't reached the limits of what my current camera can do. I take some decent photos, but I'm still getting a feel for exposure, dynamic range, and so on. The limitation on my photos right now is me, not my D40.
4.) I just got two new lenses for my birthday, neither of which work with the D700. I really should spend more time with what I have before I move on to something new.
5.) A better camera won't make my pictures better. What makes a great photograph is composition, subject, and lighting, not gear.
I've been repeating this list to myself for the last several weeks. It's going to stick one of these days.
Wait, Whose Party Is This, Anyway?
Jason really made out like a bandit on my birthday/Father's Day weekend.
He got a new tee ball set from our friends, Emily and Ari, which he loved.
He got to meet some new people.
He got his first baseball-park hot dog.
He even got his first baseball glove.
About the only thing he didn't get was a piece of my birthday cake, which, thankfully, we served after he went to bed.
The rest of this week's set:
Encinitas and Santee
This weekend turned out to be a lot of fun. Saturday morning I went out on my first group shoot with the San Diego DSLR Photography Group. SDDSLR is, as they put it, "an informal camera club of digital photographers." I first heard about them through a coworker, whose husband is our office's IT consultant, as well as the photographer for all of our company events. I happened to be poking around his photo site and noticed some galleries from previous shoots with the group. I asked him about it, and he invited me along.
I was a little nervous at first, since I am still quite an amateur and my gear is pretty limited. But the group was, as advertised, very welcoming and helpful, and I had a great time walking around Encinitas with a bunch of people doing what we love to do. Sure, I did have a little lens envy from time to time, but all in all it was a lot of fun.
Here are my favorites:
Texture and Color
End of Spring
Sunday morning after some nice Skype calls with family, Juliette, Jason, and I headed out to Santee Lakes to check out the splash park that Juliette had heard about. We had a nice picnic lunch by the lake, and then headed into the "sprayground."
Unlike the last time we visited a splash park, Jason was pretty timid about approaching the jets. I hadn't initially planned on getting all the way in, but I found that just hanging around the edge taking pictures wasn't going to cut it, so I handed the camera to Juliette and waded in.
He never quite got comfortable enough to completely jump in, even after other kids showed up and started playing. But, as you can see, he did eventually come in and have a good time:
The rest of this week's set: