2010 In Review – Shutter Photo’s Top Articles

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"Waiting" by D. Travis North

As I look back across the year that just waved good-bye, I can’t help but to think that 2010 was a great year for Shutter Photo.  Our Flickr Group grew to about 80 members (as of this writing) and we saw thousands of new and inspiring photographs.  We’ve already presented the 10 Most Interesting Photos of the [email protected] Pool, a very popular article already, so I won’t reiterate.  But aside from that article, we’ve had a lot of articles this year that seem to really appeal to a lot of people.  So for the benefit of our many newcomers, or as a refresher to our regular readers, I’d like to present them here to pique your interests, inspire and hopefully get you shooting more.

Top 5 Inspirations

Inspiration is our primary goal here at Shutter Photo.  It’s the whole reason we started the Flickr group as well as the reason we continue introducing you to inspirational works from you all each week.  Here are our most inspirational features (in no particular order):

  • The Many Roads of Photographer Ray Rhodes – Ray Rhodes is an inspiring photographer with a taste of classic Americana.  His modest demeanor and sincere discussions have earned him quite a following on Flickr.  He’s also one of our most contributed at the [email protected] Group, so we had to give him a spotlight.  As it turns out, you all love his work just as much as we do.  Ray’s spotlight quickly became a reader favorite.
  • “Boomtown” by Brian Day – When you need to be inspired by haunting self portraits, Brian Day is your source.  His portrait noir styling mixed with some impressive off-camera lighting effects creates a style that is much appreciated by his Flickr fans and our readers.  Brian Day’s work has recieved a lot of attention here on Shutter Photo, and with good reason.  His works are often mimicked, but so far have been unmatched.
  • “Untitled (2010-7-14)” by Carlina – It’s interesting how we can see varying interpretations of the same image.  Carlina’s photo sparked a bit of a debate – both here and on Flickr – about our interpretation of the people in this shot.  Was there a connection?  Or was there a growing distance between the subjects?  Carlina’s photo, and the debate surrounding it, is an inspiration to all street photographers.  (Note – due to human error, we lost a few of the comments from that thread)
  • “Fall in Monochrome” by Simon Hucko – This past fall, I ranted a bit about how many photographers focus too much on the color of autumn and not enough on composition.  Simon Hucko’s photograph came at an opportune time.  It was a fall photo in black & white, a true inspiration to us all.  Since we featured his photo, there seemed to be an influx of great photographs in the Flickr pool that experimented with the same approach.
  • “Evening Backyard Walk” by Sue Thompson – Sue has been quite a workhorse in the Flickr Group, contributing nearly 15% of all the photos in the group.  It’s no wonder she’s become one of our favorites, and one of the favorites of our fans.  Sue started with a point-and-shoot, but this photo was one of the first we spotlighted featuring her new SLR camera.  She stands as a testament to the case of equipment doesn’t matter.

Top 5 Bits of Wisdom

Wisdom is the second goal of Shutter Photo, and we spend a great deal of time preaching our beliefs.  Technical details and learning certainly has it’s place, but wisdom is often neglected in the education front.  We try to cover everything from equipment philosophies to simple states of mind.  But among the many wisdom oriented articles we’ve written, the five best are as follows (again, in no particular order):

  • Failure:  The Key to Learning – I’ll admit that this article started as a rant that almost didn’t get published.  But it got polished up a bit and we published it only to find it was the most popular non-review article on the site (by number of visits).  So read up, then fail – you’ll thank us for it.
  • Effort Does Not Equal Quality in Photography – In a rather blunt way, this article was a sobering reality check to many of you.  “Thanks for helping me to shift my focus…” one anonymous responder stated in an e-mail.  We weren’t trying to ruin your work flow, just try to get you to realize the perspective of those who aren’t photographers.
  • Passion:  The Prerequisite for Photography – Following along in the same vein as the Failure article, we wanted to discuss another emotion that is essential to photography.  This time, we wanted to discuss a driving force, and we shared our thoughts on Passion (which we at Shutter Photo truly believe is an essential trait).  This article also become quite popular by the numbers and referrals.
  • Look Silly (And Create Great Photos) – Lets face it, some of our greatest works are the result of our silliest of actions from the perspective of a casual onlooker.  It’s something I struggle with, and so do many of you.  But sometimes we just need to swallow our pride and keep on doing what we’re doing.
  • Photo Collecting Inspires Creativity – Want to be inspired to shoot unique photos?  Start photo collecting (shooting of similar subjects).  Since the article posted last year, photo collecting has helped many photographers grow (whether or not they’ll credit Shutter Photo).  Get started today with our tips and advice.

Top 5 Learning Articles

  • Getting Crisp, Clean Black & White Photographs With Your Digital Camera – One thing technology cannot touch is the impact that a good black & white photograph has on its viewer.  But black & white, especially with a digital camera, is unforgiving.  We shared some of our simple tricks and tactics in this article, which has grown steadily in popularity since it was published.
  • The Camera: Not As Good As The Human Eye (Your Camera is a Liar) – Something that surprises nearly all young photographers is that even the best cameras just aren’t as good as your eyes.  It’s not that you shouldn’t trust your camera, but you should know it’s limitations.  In this article, we discussed where your camera is deficient and how it works to your advantage.
  • Negative Space in Photo CompositionsNegative Space – the areas not containing your subject – is one of my pet peeves.  It’s a detail often overlooked, and so this article was written to educate about the importance of Negative Space in compositions.  The article was widely received and still gets several visits each day.
  • Composition: A Note on Flow – Contributing writer, Brent Mills, came to us this past year (another achievement for 2010), and his simple style of writing has quickly become a fan favorite.  Maybe you all just needed a break from my own long-winded style.  Or maybe you just liked his simple and clean advice.  But his Flow article was widely received within the community, and we’re glad to have Brent on board.
  • Learn Through Teaching – In 2010, I learned just how much I had grown simply by teaching my art to others.  Through my own admission, I hoped to inspire you all to go out and teach to better yourselves and your own photography.  I don’t know for sure if anyone took my advice.  But the articles numbers tell me that you all believed in it.

Top 5 Product Reviews

Product reviews – and our blunt and detailed opinions – have become quite popular since we introduced them to Shutter Photo.  We reviewed a number of great products this past year – our first full year doing product reviews.  We’ve made a lot of great contacts, learned about a lot of interesting products and we were able to share our thoughts with you.  Of our reviews this year, the most popular were as follows (in no particular order):

  • Kata DR-466i Camera Backpack – One of the first bags we’ve reviewed, and it still remains as our favorite.  It’s simple, accommodating and features a lot of great features in a quality bag from a quality company.  In fact, when I’m not carrying around a trial bag for an upcoming review, this is the bag I carry.
  • Rougue FlashBenders – I absolutely had too much fun when I was reviewing the FlashBenders, which are light modifiers for you strobists out there.  It takes the bounce card concept to a whole new level, allowing you to shape the device(s) into new shapes to control the light.  You can even snoot them.  I guess our love for the FlashBenders showed in my review as the article quickly became one of Shutter Photo’s most popular articles.
  • Lowepro Passport Sling – You were all quite a fan of this little day-carrier.  Its unique design houses a small or medium SLR with lens attached, a spare lens and a few accessories.  But it also has room to carry some extras (like a bottle of wine – you heard it here first).  Many of you like to use it as your primary bag.  But even the semi-pro photographers are apparently using it as a daily bag when there’s no need to carry the full kit.
  • dA Pro Camera Bag from deviantArt – For $75 with some professional features, how can a hobbyist photographer go wrong?  “Best bag I’ve owned so far…” writes one reader.  We liked it too.
  • Alternative Camera Straps – We reviewed two:  The Luma Loop and the Sun Sniper.  The sling style alternative camera strap concept is apparently appealing to many of you.  Which is better?  That depends on your needs and preferences.  We would recommend either.

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to really capture the entire site in a simple post featuring only twenty of our articles (twenty-one if you include our shameless plug in the opening paragraph).  Over the course of the year, I’m sure some articles we didn’t mention may have touched you individually.  If that’s the case, we’d love to hear about your favorite articles.  But lets not focus entirely on Shutter Photo.  Share your favorite articles from 2010 from all over the web – I don’t care which site you wish to discuss.  In the comments below, provide links and a brief synopsis of how the article helped you grow so that others may benefit as well. Again, the article can be from anywhere on the web.  After all, our first reason for being here is to inspire – but we admit we can’t do it alone.  So let’s share the world.

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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