So it's harvest time here on the Peninsula, cranberry harvest that is. Every year we usually do some kind of piece about the harvest, and this year was no different.
My favorite harvest piece we did was a few years ago when we followed the berries from the bogs to the Ocean Spray factory in Grayland and all the stops in between. That was pretty fun and kind of out of the box. Last year I shot the final harvest of one of the last old-time cranberry farmers, which was an interesting milestone.
This year we had planned on covering the harvest from a less business point of view, this time seeing the camraderie between some farmers and friends who help each other out at harvest time and work on each others farms. But alas, this fell through.
So instead we went with a second grade class to a bog where they observed harvest for about a half hour.
I've got nothing against kid pictures — I have two of my own and a million pictures to show for it — however, I'm not the biggest fan of covering "kids doing stuff/looking at stuff." For me at least it doesn't make for real great pictures usually, more like cliche' images we've seen many, many times before. Above is an outtake that probably my favorite from the take, but thats not saying much. I think I've fallen back into a rut.
In recent weeks I've been looking a lot at older photos of mine, mostly in the production of my presentation I gave at the WNPA convention. And what I've found is that I really wish I could get back to how I was shooting about 6 years ago. I think I'm a much more technically sound shooter today, but I've lost some of the surprise.
Maybe that comes from doing this for about 12 years and seeing a lot of the same things over and over again (that's part of the job at a newspaper, and I know that). However, I'm just not approaching things with the freshest of eyes these days I feel.
2001 was probably the best full year I've had as far as my work is concerned in my career. It seemed like every week I was making portfolio-quality work. It had emotion, feel, a sense of fun and exploration. I was nailing key moments left and right. I was working at the News-Register in McMinnville, Ore., which at the time was a haven for making great images and having them look great in the paper. That was also the year my daughter was born (and the Mariners won an MLB best 116 games!). I'm sure all these things helped in what I was doing and how I was seeing things.
This last year I'd say was probably my second-best year career-wise, as I started making what I felt were really good images again (I kinda fell off the wagon for a couple years unfortunately). This year my son was born, I turned 30, we bought our first house ( and the M's almost made the playoffs for the first time since that magic of '01). This year we also got heavy into multimedia and I started shooting some video stuff for the first time. And while I really like a lot of stuff I've done in the last year, it still doesn't quite measure up the way I'd like it to. It's missing something in many cases. I don't know what it is, but I NEED TO FIND IT.
I don't know if I have a real style anymore. Six years ago I did. You could defintely look at a pic of mine and know it was mine. Today, while it's better composed, shot with a better sense of lighting, it's just different. I don't know if it's bad or not, I just know I don't have the same feelings about my work of today.
So what is the answer? God I wish I knew. I kinda feel like Peter Pan, searching for his shadow. I know it's there, and it's attatched to me, I just got to find it and stitch it back on nice and tight.
If anyone out there has any clues, or insights, please feel free to let me know (my email is located to the right of this column).
Thanks for tuning in to this career-questioning rant, will try and be a little more optimistic next time.