Monday, January 7, 2008

2007 in Review: A Brief Overview

[This is the second in a series of three posts reviewing the past year of Please Excuse Me While I Clean My Lens. The first is here.]

It took a while, but I finally completed my relabeling task. Turns out it required a lot more time and thought that I expected. Throughout the post below, I've linked specific posts and groups of posts corresponding to the major topics of this blog. If you are new to the blog, this post is a great way to catch up on the topics that interest you.

Also, all posts labeled with about relate to the purpose of this blog -- check them out if you are trying to get acquainted with the site.

So without further ado, let me give you a brief review of the first year of this blog.


The blog began on January 1st, 2007 as a Photo-a-Day blog; my goal was to post a photo each and every day for a year. I had just received a Canon Digital Rebel XT for Christmas and I was wildly taking pictures of everything around me. Some of the photos were quite good, but in general, most of them weren't since I was just starting. For instance, check out the difference between my images from January '07 and my images from December '07. Quantity was the best part of the Photo-a-Day task -- it forced me to take a ton of pictures and process them.

I ended up posting a photo almost every day for a little under three months. During that time I took a lot of pictures, but some of the main themes were Stanford, places I visited, nature, and art in the area. It was during this time that I also discovered DPChallenge and Strobist, two amazing resources that pushed my photographic technique ahead by leaps and bounds. Eventually, though, posting a picture every day was too much of a chore and I burned out. So, at the end of March, I decided a new direction was needed.

The new direction was a focus on quality over quantity of posts. Instead of a post every day, I wanted to get a post up every few days but make the posts more useful. Over the next month I posted about what I cared about, including a new welcome post, camera hardware (a common theme in the blog), and whatever else I could think of. I also started the Quick Tip series (short, focused advice I wish I knew when I started photography) and the Anatomy of a Photo series (more in-depth descriptions of how certain images came to be).

The newfound freedom to break out of a photo each post each day let me explore other interests related to photography, including running a blog (and exploring various resources like Google Adsense for monetizing it), writing reviews, doing DIY projects, and linking things I find interesting.

I also decided to take a crack at starting a small location portrait photography business and wrote up a business plan in late May. Over the summer I completed a number of portraits of friends but realized it wasn't really the way for me to go at this time. First, there are a number of legal and financial issues that'd be difficult to overcome; the main one being that I'd stand to make a lot less money than I can make with my SAT tutoring job for the same amount of time invested. Second, while I enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I thought I would. And finally, we moved off of Stanford campus.

During early summer I was also heavily involved with making DPChallenge images for the DPL. We ended up squeaking into the playoffs, but lost to the eventual winner. The experience was great and really helped me to define my interest in macro photography (especially flowers and insects).

By the end of the summer, I was quite burned out, and the post output declined during August and September. In October I came back to photography with renewed interest, and produced a lot of posts until the end of the year. I've also found, more recently, that I'm really interested in bird photography.

Currently, I'm going through another slow period, although I have some posts planned for the near future, including a few more DIY projects. Stay tuned!

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