#948. My one resolution: adventure in photography

By pascaljappy | Art & Creativity

Jan 02

Ah, the wonderful time for New Year’s resolutions is upon us again. Such a shame that those are really just wishful thinking and fail 99% of the time, I really wanted to be rich, handsome and famous this year πŸ˜‰ Still, ouch, making a formal wish about life changes at a highly symbolic date may well offer the highest likelihood of never achieving them. Wishes only come true when we create an environment that naturally induces the desired behaviour to emerge.


So, let’s rephrase that ill-informed title. My only photo-related plan for 2020 is to progressively create an environment that invites more adventure in my photographic life. And this starts now (now is only good time to change, whether that’s a Tuesday afternoon or the 24th of September), with this post.

How does this begin?

By describing what I mean by adventure. A small step, but a start πŸ™‚


Now, the words “Adventure Photography” stir up images of fit blokes in flashy suits running off a cliff with some Icarus-type device on their back and a Gopro on their forehead. This may well be adventure for them, but to yours truly-sedate, this feels more like an adrenaline rush, and ever-so-slightly disrespectful of the life that was given to us. Worse: another form of giving in to more rather than bravely search for better. But, to each his own, right? πŸ˜‰

A more acceptable definition of adventure, for this middle-aged tog, whose worst risk-taking excesses involve ingestion of unhealthy amounts of chocolate, is the more academic: “exhilirating undertaking involving an amount of risk taking and resulting in new experience” (a fairly accurate mashup of definitions found in multiple sources).

In other words, my resolution, sorry – plan, is to deliberately seek out and face situations that will take me out of my comfort zone in an exhilirating way. Unusual subjects or techniques, unusual lenses, unsettling situations … The point being to learn something new each time, mostly about myself, I guess. And to create more opportunities for first person narration (of said adventures) rather than relying as much on theory and abstract ideas.


Not that ideas are bad, mind you. Here’s one that appeals to me and is the basis for all this: Leaving our comfort zone leaves us with a lasting sense of achievement and growth that’s distinctly at odds with the restless search for empty love on social media. It probably won’t cure world famine or French administration, but every little helps.

More on this soon.


The idea is still new. Remember, multiple real baby steps are better than one huge plan that never happens. But here are some envelope-expanding areas which sound like fun. Very slightly scary fun:

  • Unusual locations, such as caves, mountain passes, the open sea that my settee-hugging bum isn’t used to and might induce slight inital discomfort.
  • Unusual approaches to photography, purely for creative exercises. More on this very soon (in challenges or posts, not sure yet). New topics, new focal lengths, new settings …
  • Changing my PP approach to explore new looks. Why not get crazy and explore … panting … colour.
  • Printing. If there’s a topic that’s been made more unpleasantly adventurous by digital, it has to be printing. Sure you can start up your printer and just click print. Easy (I’ve just bought a small Epson printer to do exactly that). But understanding the process and getting results on par with the best (human) printers out there … might as well try to understand voting psychology in liberal countries, these days. I tried and got my head back inside my shell. Time for another go.
  • Getting more interviews on DS. We used to do a lot. But talking to famous artists is hard and nerve racking. All the more reason to do so again.
Today, I found it. Next time, I’ll actually go in.

So, Happy New Year ! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Now, I’ve shown you mine. Which is the best way to force accountability upon myself πŸ˜‰ What are your photographic resolutions plans for 2020?


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  • Dallas says:

    Happy New Year Pascal, I’m writing this about 3 hours south of Hobart on “Le Laperouse” on our way to “A Sub Antarctic Islands Expedition”. No New years resolution for me as like you I break them before the day is out. Getting out of ones comfort zone is a must this year camera for me. New things will be tried.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    SNAP – you’ve caught me on the very day I decided to buy another lens, and an extra lamp for my macro stuff, and started sniffing around again as to the future of SIGMA’s foveon sensor camera range.

    I’ve been wallowing in PP and printing (with an Epson – is yours smaller than mine is? – ROTFLMHAO) and heaps of stuff to share on that one.

    And yes – definitely – Γ  chacun son goΓ»t. If we work at it, we’ll each be able to bring to DS new stuff – our own stuff – that’s different from everybody else’s stuff. Being the same is as boring as .. .. .. .. Innovation – daring (well, daring to be different, anyway – failed attempts to win a Darwin award aren’t quite what I have in mind).

    Bring on the angry horses!

    • pascaljappy says:

      Sigma! Talk about an adventure. They probably wish their ride was smoother. And so must Zeiss, if Sigma are making the ZX1.

      New stuff that’s different from everybody else’s stuff, I’m looking forward to that πŸ™‚

  • Paul Lasky says:

    Please don’t give up on black and white. Just decide to do it better, leave color to the experts like me.

  • Sean says:

    Hi Pascal,
    I like this article, very nuanced. I like, in particular, these words you use “… to deliberately seek out and face situations that will take me out of my comfort zone in an exhilirating way…” – psychographics can help. No, I don’t mean it, I’m only having a little bit of mischievous fun. I also concur with you on what you advise, that it’s all about taking ” … multiple real baby steps [which] are better than one huge plan that never happens …” It can be a quite liberating journey, to escape the stodgy routine of the usual approach, to savour immeasurable a newfound rich experience based on a nicely planned nothing ventured, nothing gained. Lastly, it may also be initiated by turning an apparent restriction or limiting boundary into opportunities that drive and secure new found rewarding outputs, as a photographer.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you, Sean.
      Psychographics, hey ? πŸ˜€ I don’t even know how to use cookies …
      Those limiting boundaries and restrictions you mention, it would be nice to be able to identify them all and find a cure for each. That would make for a great artice!!

      • Sean says:

        RE(a): “… Psychographics, hey ? …” That bloody DS spellchecker thingy got away with it again. I actually typed in psychotropics, and it insisted on Psychographics – until I forced the issue. RE(b): You see, it’s tricked you up, too “… artice!!…” what’s that, buster?. I know what’s going on here, you clever wordsmith … Boom! Boom! πŸ™‚

        • pascaljappy says:

          Aah, psychotropics! Another topic completely. Though I’m guessing the two would mix quite amusingly !!! πŸ˜‰

          As for spelling, I have an extra helping hand: the Macbook Pro 2017 keyboard. They should have called it the randomizer and sold it as a feature. Mind you, they don’t need any advice from me as they are now selling a new beyboard, a merely functional keyboard, as “magic”. Says a lot about a brand when they can get away with that level of bullshit … Happy New Year, Apple. We love you. Any chance you can love us back?

  • Jean-Claude Louis says:

    Happy 2020 Pascal. I found your article very refreshing; the practice of photography IS an adventure, and a quest. To me it’s all about exploring new possibilities, new subjects, experimenting different processes, waiting for the images to come to you rather then desperately looking for them, taking unfamiliar paths, even if most of them lead to dead-ends – the journey is fun, a good image is a delight.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thank you Jean-Claude. Couldn’t agree more.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      Hi Jean-Claude

      I don’t find they do lead to dead-ends. What I find is that they generally teach me something new, which enables me to raise the standard of my photography across the board.

      The Tourist Bureau of the Northern Territory of Australia puts it neatly – to entice people to their tourist attractions, their promotion uses this slogan – “You’ll never never know, if you never never go!” And I think that applies to our photography – if you don’t follow some similar path, it all becomes dull and sterile.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Dumb question, PJ – are most/all the photos in this article taken with the Hassy, in the environs of chez Jappy?

    • pascaljappy says:

      Not dumb πŸ™‚ But yes, most from home or walking distance. The first is from the bbeach, about 20 miles away. And all with the X1D. Not too sure of the individual lenses, though. Bottom pic is a stitch of 2 vertical frames with the 30mm. Cheers

  • Alan says:

    I resolve to keep documenting our travels, occasionally have the planets align for something worth printing and post the rest of it on my blog. To do this I resolve to spend enough time in the digital darkroom, winnowing the wheat from the chaff and tweaking as best I can. Anyhow the year that seemed so perfect only days ago is already dented and has the shine removed so perhaps it’s too late for resolutions. So I take it all back and instead will just revert to my old habits which were pretty much the same as my new resolutions, if inadequately realized. So it goes!

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