We have reached the end of the half year and another page has flipped over on the calendar. I have Steve Gingold’s ‘Bush Katydid Nymph’ to enjoy for 31 days. There is no particular significance in the date but it offers an opportunity to reflect on progress.
I have focused on a few areas in the first half: learning more about photography, managing my pension fund with a little more attention (and success) and simply unwinding the years of unrelenting pressure of work.
I would score myself 4/10 for photography, 6/10 for financial planning and 7/10 for relaxation 🙂
The good thing is that there is ample room for improvement in all areas.
I am pleased that I finally learned to play mah jong to a level that allows me to indulge socially. I am sure however that I would lose a lot of money if I were to play “professionally”. Fortunately gambling is largely illegal in Hong Kong, except through the Jockey Club. I have managed to keep the blog going and I was somewhat surprised to see that I have over 70 followers. That does not always reflect in the ‘hits’ but I do appreciate the visits and I now understand that not all readers show up in the stats if they access the blog through a channel other than the website itself. I keep thinking I need some definitive theme but I know that some people read because they like the street photos, others the insects or birds and some (incredibly) like the frivolous tone of my posts. I struggle to do deep and meaningful myself but if you go to the blogroll you will find some excellent reflective thinking in places such as Alpenglow Images and Available Light Images. In the end I may just churn out the same cocktail of the sublime and the ridiculous until I reach my sell-by date and I am swept off the shelf into the Wal-Mart garbage bin. I doubt I shall be recycled.
The steps I have made in photography are due to some excellent coaching from Steve Gingold, oodles of encouragement from my FB friends and, dare I say, a little more time in the field. I have switched focus, no pun intended, from my traditional area of birds and spent much more time with the insects and flowers. Both spheres require good technique and a thorough understanding of composition, exposure and processing. I begin to question whether you can really learn to see differently though. I have read plenty of books and looked at hundreds of excellent images online but I miss the spark that turns a technically ok shot into something more. In half two I want to prove myself wrong and make a step up.
Incidentally I think there is something investing and photography have in common, namely doing nothing. It is incredibly hard, when the markets are gyrating by the hour, to simply watch and not jump in. If you want to trade then gyration is your friend. If you want to invest it is tougher. The temptation to buy or sell something is enormous, at least to me. Similarly in photography, the temptation to press the shutter button itches away at me. Learning to decline the image is much harder than I thought. My best financial blog award goes to Jeff Miller’s A Dash of Insight. This is mandatory reading for me, stripping out all the hype and fluff, balanced and fact based. My most enjoyable blog award goes to the sometimes irreverent and always talented Alessandro Ciapanna. He has story telling in images down to a fine art.
So H2 2012 is underway. Onwards and upwards or Per ardua ad astra as the RAF says.
I owe you a photo or four and here they are, all taken on my afternoon constitutional yesterday, just a few minutes from home.