What We’re Thankful For This Year

It’s a good time to be a photographer

Scouting fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy of Shalah Parker, Side Quest Photography

This week is thanksgiving in the USA, and so we thought we’d reflect on our photography and share what we’re thankful for this year. We wish all of you a very happy and prosperous holiday season!

Jason

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year. First and foremost, I’m extremely grateful that people are willing to travel for photography again. After three years of COVID, it’s good to get back into the field with my clients. But I’m also very thankful for the advances in technology that we’re experiencing right now! Here’s just a short list of what I’ve appreciated over the last year.

  • Micro 4/3rds System: I bought an OM-1 camera in April, and it’s become my go-to camera body these days. The combination of small size and wonderful image quality really makes a difference when I’m on the road. I can’t wait to use it more on my travel photography workshops, because bigger doesn’t always mean better. I think that many people would be outright impressed with the quality of smaller-format cameras these days, especially in light of my next point…
  • AI-based sharpening and noise reduction tools: I’m not a fan of AI for general post-processing, but when it comes to sharpening and noise reduction, the new AI-based tools can be simply incredible. These new tools have significantly improved both my newest photos, but also my older ones. I can clean up old D2x photos and resize them to the point where they are significantly better than what I could do with the editing tools of the past.
  • Adobe Lightroom/Classic: I’ll be the first to admit that I was reluctant to move to Lightroom, given my experience with Nikon Capture NX in the past. But I’ve been using it since 2014 and it’s always done an excellent job with my photos. But wow. Over the last year, the addition of AI-based masking tools, point color editor, and local curves adjustments has been an absolute GAME-CHANGER. Simply put, the local masking tools in Lightroom today are better than just about anything else I’ve tried, including Photoshop. I cannot recommend this software any more strongly to enthusiasts who really want to take the time to make photographs, not just take them.

Rick

As Jason mentioned, we’re both thankful that we were able to resume our workshops and go shooting in great places with our friends. You don’t always realize how much you will miss something until it’s gone. Here’s my shortlist of other things for which I’m grateful:

  • An abundance of great tools. Photographers today are blessed with great equipment choices that span everything from smaller formats like m4/3 to medium format. I am truly amazed at the quality of images and prints you can make with today’s equipment and software. It’s not something I would have ever contemplated at the age of ten when I started using an SLR (or at the age of twenty or thirty). It’s truly remarkable.
  • Traveling the world. I have been blessed with seeing much more of the world than I ever dreamed possible. I’ve been to six of the seven continents, forty-something countries and met interesting people in all of those places. The world seems like a much smaller and much more familiar place than it did when I was young, and that’s a wonderful thing.
  • Experiencing the world through photography. This may seem like a repeat of the last paragraph, but it’s not. Having photography as an interest has given me a richer set of life experiences. I’ve been in gorgeous locations at times of the day that many never experience, I’ve done things to get photos that turned into once in a lifetime experiences, and I pay closer attention to the beauty around me. I think I’m also more likely to appreciate where we as a whole need to do better and help give everyone a better life. Sometimes the experiences photography gives you can be heartbreaking, but those are important too.
  • Our supporters. Both Jason and I are very appreciative of everyone who has helped support us through the years and enabled us to do what we do. It means a lot, and that goes double for everyone reading this who helps us to do this through Patreon subscriptions. It makes a difference!
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