2017 Reflections by Carol Vipperman
As Seattle-based photographer Carol Vipperman eased into 2018, she took some time to reflect on her priorities and to look at the unexpected twists and turns her photography career has taken. In this blog post, Carol identifies where she finds inspiration and recommits herself to lifelong learning.
This is the time of year when most of us look back in reflection before looking forward to a fresh slate of ideas and goals, and I am no different. When I looked back at 2017, I realized that it was a year of learning, particularly in my photography pursuits. Learning has always been important to me, but now I know that it is central to my sense of self. It kindles my passion and excitement.
I spent a week in Portland, Oregon last September attending a flower workshop with Kathleen Clemons and Donna Eaton. It was a fluke that I got in because the class was full when I contacted Kathleen. I had been reading her e-book, All About Textures and experimenting with applying textures to my flower images when I had the urge to write to her a thank you for her work, instruction, and book. As a result of our email exchange, I learned that there was one cancellation in her upcoming workshop, so I jumped at the opportunity to join the class. This was another reminder for me to thank people who I admire. Without reaching out to her, I may not have learned about the workshop opening.
I learned so much during that workshop. Kathleen and Donna were right there to critique my photos, give suggestions, and encourage me to experiment with new equipment. I took over 1,000 photos that week -- many were okay, but some were spectacular if I do say so myself. I also met fun people who are passionate about flower photography. I learned as much from them as from the instructors.
Although I use many types of lenses, for the past year I have been experimenting with Lensbaby creative art lenses and the amazing effects they produce. My first Lensbaby was the Velvet 56. Like all Lensbaby lenses, it is a manual lens, so the learning curve was steep for me. I remember, after using it for some time, I took out one of my autofocus lenses and was shocked at how much easier it was to capture each image. But, the effect that I could get from a Lensbaby kept pulling me back.
Over the years I have added other Lensbaby lenses, including Velvet 85, Sweet 50, Sweet 80, Twist 60 and soon Sweet 35. Every image is different and these lenses help me express my inner sense of the world.
I recently joined a closed group on Facebook called Lensbaby Unplugged that has over 1,500 members from around the world. I have been so inspired by the images and the approach that these photographers are taking with their Lensbaby lenses. It has encouraged me to experiment, to push boundaries, and to capture more creative images.
As I look to 2018, I know I will prioritize learning as one of my most important goals. Although this applies to all parts of my life, it is especially true in my photography. In fact, I have a Sweet 35 arriving today, and I look forward to experimenting with it. I appreciate your comments, so please let me know how you keep learning and keep your photography fresh.
To see more of Carol's work, visit her website.