Happy Holidays: The Earthbound Light Top Ten for 2016
In this holiday season, and as the year winds to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on this past year's PhotoTip articles. Join me, if you will, in counting down the top ten articles for 2016.
#10: Going Beyond the Rule of Thirds
The "Rule of Thirds" is one of the first lessons towards better composition that most aspiring photographers learn. It's also one of the easiest rules to get trapped in. Clearly, avoiding the "bullseye" effect can be helpful, but you have to draw the line somewhere. This post from August discusses the issue in detail. Based on my webserver logs and other factors, this post came out as the tenth most popular for the year.
#9: With a Phone in Your Pocket, Why Also Own a Camera?
Nearly everyone has a phone in their pocket these days. Indeed, some of you may be reading this post on your phone. And with every phone featuring a built-in camera (both front and rear facing cameras in most phones now), it's worth considering whether you also still need a dedicated camera. Tallying at number nine for the year, this September post considers the question.
#8: Careful with That Camera, Eugene
Yes, the title of this post from June is an homage to that of the early Pink Floyd song, but more importantly, it discusses the perils of being a photographer. Selfie sticks and a daredevil quest to get a shot no one else has ever captured can lead to unfortunate consequences. Most readers are unlikely to go to the lengths of the folks described in this article, but many of us will push it too far at some point. All told, this cautionary tale placed at number eight for 2016.
#7: Can Someone Teach You Photography?
There's a lot you have to learn to succeed as a photographer, but the important stuff you have to learn on your own. Think of it like playing the piano. No matter how much music theory you understand, the only way to truly learn to play is to sit down in front of the keys. This seventh-place article from August puts the subject in perspective. At some point, you have to dig down deep and find your own way.
#6: Your Feet are not a Zoom Lens
One popular but false piece of advice on being a better photographer is the topic of this number six post from earlier this month. No, your feet are not a zoom lens. Changing subject distance has an entirely different effect than does changing focal length with a zoom. It's true that zoom lenses can cause photographers to be lazy, but that doesn't make zoom lenses bad. It simply means that being lazy is a bad idea.
#5: Don't Ask Me to Shoot Your Wedding
Not all types of photography are equivalent, and someone who is good at one kind may not be your best choice to hire for a different kind. Volunteering to shoot a friend's wedding risks your friendship if things don't turn out well, and it discounts the expertise a professional wedding photographer can bring to the project. Please, don't ask me to shoot your wedding. A lot of photographers can clearly relate to this advice, making this article clock in at number five for the year.
#4: Shooting for HDR, And Whether You Even Need To
High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging is all the rage today, and for good reason. My merging frames shot at varying exposures into a single image, you can create photos that exceed the capabilities of cameras with a single press of the shutter release. But HDR isn't always easy, nor is it always necessary. Thanks to your interest in terms of page views and so on, this article rated as the fourth most popular for 2016.
#3: On a Somewhat Different Topic
This third most popular post for 2016 was an unusual one as it had very little to do with photography. Written in November shortly after the US presidential election, it discussed my concerns over the divisiveness that have increased over the years between the Republican and Democratic parties. Battle lines have been reinforced with each election cycle that have served to make the two sides further apart, even as we talk about coming together. It's a problem that affects us all, whether you're a photographer or not.
#2: Adobe Lightroom: A Year in Review
Since joining Adobe's other creative and design applications in the Cloud, Lightroom users have experienced a roller coaster of ups and downs. In the end, most fears have proven unwarranted or were addressed by Adobe based on feedback, but the year in Lightroom wasn't always an easy one. Posted way back in January, this article covered developments from 2015, but is still came in at number two for the year. Since then, Adobe has continued to enhance and refine Lightroom as well as the rest of the Creative Cloud family.
#1: Adobe to Offer Ad Supported Photoshop For Free
And the number one post for the year was my annual April Fools article for 2016, speculating that Adobe planned to offer Photoshop for free, paid for by advertising revenue from in-application ads and product placement fees. If so many applications on my phone can have ads in them, why not on my digital darkroom workstation? If the idea of content-aware fill "tastefully" inserting a McDonalds billboard into your images scares you, relax. Thankfully, this rumor isn't true (or at least I hope not).
Well there you have it. My thanks to all my readers for your support and feedback. Wishing everyone the best for 2017 in the year ahead.