I wish everyone a happy new year in 2012 – Goodbye 2011. We’re about to make it through another calendar!

What’s next? Well first I’ll talk about me and then talk about you. You won’t see as much of me in 2012. (Stop applauding!) Photofocus will continue to publish daily, but you’ll see a few more guest posts than usual. We’re going to start doing more video tutorials since we got great response to the last five. Eventually, the video tutorials will replace the podcast. I know this will disturb some of you, but the podcast has to end some time and that will be some time in 2012. The web site and the Flickr forum and the Twitter accounts will all become more active in the absence of the podcast.

I also won’t be speaking as often or attending many conferences in 2012. Likewise, I’ll teach very few (if any) photo workshops. At most I’ll make two or three appearances at photo conventions, workshops or seminars in 2012. Why? I want to take time to make photographs. As Photofocus has become larger and attracted a larger audience, I find myself spending more and more time online dealing with the mess, and less and less time out there making images. For me, that is simply not acceptable. I have a great team working with me and they’re capable of handling the day-to-day stuff here. I need to go rest up and make some images.

I have decided to pursue some personal photo projects in 2012. I won’t be sharing all of them – that’s why they are called “personal.” At the end of the year I will share a few of the results. I’m actually approaching these projects more as something to improve my eye than something to sell or make money from. I have many things that I want to do with my photography and need time to do it.

As I wind down my career I am constantly reminded that time is my enemy. As I get older, the minute hand on the clock seems to move as fast as the second hand did when I was a boy. I want to explore my photographic interests more fully and deeply, and I want to do it without distraction. So I’ll be a little harder to reach in 2012. Most of you will notice no change. Those who do business with me will see a small change. I’ll accept far fewer bookings than usual and I’ll grab my camera far more often to go find some personal magic. On November 2, 2013, I’ll likely retire completely. I have a nice little place in Italy with my name on it! (That date will be the 15 year anniversary of Photofocus. Even MASH went off the air eventually!)

There are many upsides to my decision to make 2012 a year where I do more shooting than anything else. As far as the workshops, seminars, conferences, go –  I’ve spoken at, or taught at more than 250 in my career. I think everyone who wanted to see me teach or speak has pretty much had their chance. If anything, I am over-exposed. Those who attend these things regularly are probably sick of me! It’s time for someone else to get a shot. (bad pun intended.) The tall, old trees in the forest eventually have to give way so that the sunlight can stream onto the younger, smaller trees. There are many young, energetic, skilled, fantastic, photography teachers and speakers out there that deserve THEIR time in the sunshine. I’d like to take a moment to see what I can learn from them! So look around. I may just be sitting in the back of the room listening in. That means I’ll be getting out of the way – eventually. Don’t get too excited, I’m not dropping off the planet or anything – although I am sure that would make some people happy :)

Now let’s talk about you. You don’t have to wait until the end of your career to start thinking like this. Many of you (including those just starting out) should be contemplating your own personal photo projects. They can be inspiring, educational, fun and even life-changing. When things get in the way of you actually making photos, it’s time to reset. That’s what I am doing.

Don’t forget why you got into photography in the first place – you want to make pictures. So if you’re like me, and spending too much time online – step away from the computer and go shoot. Maybe I’ll see you out there on the road.

My New Year’s Resolution in 2012 is simple. I’m going to spend less time online or behind a computer and go do things that most can only dream about. I’ll be traveling around with my camera, anywhere I feel like going, making images that matter, and eventually sharing them with people who appreciate them.

As 2011 ends I want to thank my sponsors. Many of them have been with me for a long time, through good and bad. I appreciate them and I appreciate the support all of you have shown me over the years. Heck I even appreciate the trolls. They have unwittingly brought me more traffic this year than ever before! As for the rest of you – I do look forward to continuing to serve you until my time to fully retire comes knocking at the door. Until then, I hope some small part of what you’ve seen or heard here at Photofocus will help you go out and make some great photographs too!

My wish for all of you is not complicated, but it is sincere – I wish that for all of you – the new year is full of excitement and challenges that leave you wanting more. It’s time for new beginnings – don’t screw it up :)

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Sponsored by:

Adorama – More than a Camera Store – Animoto – Great animated slide shows from your photos / BorrowLenses.com – Renting Canon, Nikon, Olympus & Sony, bodies, lenses and more / SmugMug – Professional Photo Sharing / Tenba – Photo Messenger Bags