Every January I make an ambitious list of projects and plans for the year and every summer I fall way behind. By October I am usually shortening the list, cutting it down to what I think I can possibly manage and almost every year I still don’t finish. There are some things that have remained on my lists for three or four years now. This year, however, was not as bad, partially because I didn’t plan to get so much done this year. For my own reference, I think it’s a good idea to weigh the year and see how I faired.
December 15th saw the January issue of “Yama-to-Keikoku,” a Japanese mountaineering magazine, hit the newsstands. Inside was their annual “Mountaineer’s Data Book,” a compendium of information about mountaineering shops, lodges and huts and so on. At the front of the book are six pages featuring four of my photographs of the Japan Alps. It was by their request that my photos appeared, so this was a grand thing for me.
Also this year, the September issue of “Gakujin,” another mountaineering magazine, featured my story of the March 11 earthquake and why I remained in Japan after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. Several photographs from my book “The Japan Alps” were printed, as well as three photographs of me.
No other works were published this year. My stock agency didn’t get any of my stuff published and I did not renew my Field Contributor subscription with “Nature Photographer,” so for the first time in six years I didn’t have anything published there either. “Outdoor Photography Canada,” who has expressed interest in my work and ideas on and off have still no concrete plans for me and it seems that after three years some of my stuff might be returned at last in the New Year. Any other submissions were also returned this year or have not generated any immediate response.
Prior to becoming a mountaineer it was not unusual for me to go on only three or four hikes in a year but still keep active photographing. This year must be my poorest year ever with respect to hiking and outdoor photography. I climbed Ryogamisan in May for the second time simply because I enjoyed the short climb and there were some good places to shoot folded chert by a stream. And I did the Tateshinayama / Futago Ike loop in October, which was also mostly about the exercise and enjoying the outdoors. The only other photography I did this year was at a student’s mother’s garden. I plan to submit the photos to a gardening magazine in January.
One thing I found was that shooting rarely distances me from my equipment and know-how. I felt I didn’t use my cameras as skilfully and professionally this year and the resulting images were mostly uninspired and even technically faulty. Were it not for the successful images I shot in the States in October of 2010 and many of the good garden photos I got this spring I would feel that I was losing my touch. I still kept busy shooting with my iPhone camera and playing with photo editing applications, but that’s another story.
Things lost and given up
As I mentioned, I did not renew my membership and subscription with ‘Nature Photographer.” Likewise, I didn’t renew my membership with the All Japan Alpine Photography Association or the Society for Scientific Photography. As a result, I gave up all possibility of being published either for pay (in Nature Photographer) or for prestige in the members’ magazines of the two photography associations.
There were also the stories of photographs being lost. Two submissions to a magazine in Tokyo both never arrived according to the editor and Outdoor Photography U.K. admitted that my submission of 2010 had been received but had then vanished without a trace. And Outdoor Japan stopped responding to my emails possibly because I continued to ask about the return of my photographs from 2009.
One of the exciting accomplishments of this year was the completion of my second major book project with blurb.com – my book of photographs from Southwestern British Columbia, “This Little Corner”. When I return home to Canada for the holidays, a good number of old friends will visit and purchase a copy. In addition, I plan to send a copy to the Vancouver Sun or Province newspaper for review. Here’s hoping that the book stirs up some attention.
Outlook for 2012
January will be busy as I try to translate interviews with foreigners in Japan who love climbing Japanese mountains. I pitched the idea to the editor of “Yama-to-Keikoku” and he expressed interest. I also have the garden photos to prepare. Then I have ideas for short articles in English and Japanese that I want to submit once I find a suitable publication for those ideas. And I still have some submission ideas that have been kicking around for a couple of years now that I would like to address.
I hope to start up with Nature Photographer and at least one photo association in Japan again, and I’d really like to start a plan where I go out even to some local park to shoot at least one roll a month so I can keep up my stock out put. I also have discovered that not shooting nearly desiccates my idea pool for articles. It would also be nice to climb at least three mountains.
With four blogs going and so little time, I really hope to set a schedule that allows me to get at least one post up for each one every month. Particularly my Mountains of Canada blog is being neglected.
The office is something else that needs serious attention. Over the last three years I have struggled to keep it organized and neat but it always quickly falls into shambles. There are so many slides that need to be returned to their boxes and folders and so many papers that need filing or tossing. What I need is a whole day to tidy up and a few days to sort out the slides. But I don’t expect to have that kind of time soon and I dislike to tackle a major project in a piecemeal fashion.
Finally, I have plans for another blurb book, this time geology as art and I have a great title and a handsome collection of photographs selected. Here’s hoping I have the money for the scans and to publish the book.
There’s so much more to say and think about, but it’s time to leave blogging alone for this year.