At the stroke of midnight on January first, photographers and hikers alike found themselves visualizing their New Year commitments, resolutely along with millions of others. Most will resolve to lose weight or to quit a bad habit. Others will swear off the ritual all together, and truth be told this is the path I normally take. This year, however, after a lot of thought I’ve decided to join the masses and make a few resolutions related to my inner hiker and photographer. And since research tells us that one of the best ways to keep true a resolution is to share it with others, here my five commitments for 2012 in no particular order:
Hike More, Hike Better, Hike Different:
At the conclusion of 2011, I didn’t feel as though I hiked enough. But then again, I suppose I’ll never feel as though I’ve hiked enough. So plain and simple, I need to hike more. Likewise, I was a tad slower this year than I have been in years past. Hiking less meant that I filled my time with other activities that are less physical in nature than hiking, so I lost a little bit of the pep in my step. So I feel I could stand to hike a little better. I also found myself visiting a lot of “old friends”, as I call them; places that I’ve to been many times before but find myself returning to for their photographic appeal and epic mountain character. While this is not a foul by any means, it is a boundary that could hold my horizons static, and stifle my exploration of new and enchanting places. As I often tell people, New Hampshire is full of surprises and places worth discovering firsthand. This year, I plan to adopt a Red-Liner’s Philosophy to hiking, meaning that I’ll open up to exploring every mile of every trail without exception. More, better, different.
Study and Read the Work of More Photographers & Writers:
Although I thrive behind the camera, I simply haven’t taken enough time to study the work of other artists. Along those same lines, I write avidly and intently, but I would not consider myself well read. By and large, I am an evolving artist like all other artists, and studying the work of others is a fantastic way to grow one’s own craft. There is an expanding body of knowledge out there for me, and with the ubiquity technology it’s right at my fingertips. I’m starting to crave it, and this year I will seek it out.
Add More Human Elements to My Photographs:
Very few of my photographs include humans, which is not necessarily a bad thing. New Hampshire’s landscapes can do a lot of the speaking for themselves in a photograph. However, some photographs lend themselves well to having human guests. Whether it is to show movement, struggle, or scale, the human element could bare to find its way into a few more of my photographs. I plan to do this more throughout the year.
Experiment With Abstracts:
Otherwise known as painting with the camera, there are delightful ways to create photographs that resemble abstract works. This is done by finding very small subject matter that appear painterly when shot with a macro lens. Abstracts can also be created by moving the camera, finding subjects in motion, and playing with the shutter speed. Each of the four seasons presents opportunities for abstracts, and I’m making it a point to look more closely for those chances.
Complete the Presidential Traverse in One Day:
This one speaks mostly for itself, and requires very little explanation. I bagged the Pemi Loop in 2010, and it’s time for another Death March. The Presi Travers, as it’s known colloquially, consists of over 25 miles of one way hiking that brings travelers over each of the mountains in the Presidential Range. In one day. It’s a grueling trek, and one that can be quite dangerous in the winter. My plan is to aim for a winter pass, and if I can’t do it by the last day of winter in 2012, I’ll shoot for the first days in December later in the year. By and large, the Mountains make the call on whether or not the Presi Traverse is a success, so one must be utterly cautious with such a goal.
Hopefully you’ve made a few resolutions connected to the things that are important in your life. And if you haven’t, perhaps you’ve found this list useful or motivating. No matter what, remember to stay well and take full advantage of all the natural magnificence that New Hampshire has to offer. Take care, and thanks for stopping by my New Hampshire landscape photography and hiking blog!