Time for a bit of a retrospective. But first, some cold hard numbers!
My 2015 Catalogue contains a total of 10,065 files. My shutter opened and closed 22,904 this year, which is a bit over 1/10 of the expected lifecycle for my camera body. This means I deleted about half of all the shots I took, though there were a few factors that upped the shutter count.
- I used my camera for some event work that I didn’t include in my 2015 library, which accounts for maybe 3,200 or so shots difference.
- I had my camera on one day and the shutter button was held down in my bag, which took about 500 black shots.
Still, all in all that isn’t a huge survival rate of shots. And realistically, if I were to do a proper cull through the 10,065, a lot could get trashed for sure.
Here was my photo volume broken down by shots taken per month:
Things were fairly consistent, with April and September being the biggest months, and May/August being the second biggest. April had a trip to Vancouver and Nanaimo which accounted for a lot of shots, while September had a trip to California, as well as a last minute event at my work that I photographed. May was a lot of shooting at High Park before I moved away, along with the birds all migrating through that area. August had a trip to Lauren’s cottage for a few days that saw me wandering around and getting a lot of stuff. November was the lowest, which coincides well with my thinking “How the hell am I going to get through this?” for the third time. Ideas and inspiration were at an all time low.
Here is a breakdown of the usage between the 8 lenses I had on my body:
Although I only took five shots using the 55-300mm lens, which makes up just under 0.05% of the photos, I used one of those shots this year. That gives this lens a 20% success rate for publishing, which is the highest of all of them. It’s for sale, if anyone is interested.
My 80-200mm that I sold also got one shot used of the 83 it took, which gives it a high success rate compared to the rest.
Still, part of the reason they didn’t get further use that would drop their success rate down is because I replaced them. So the 70-200mm f4 replaced my use of the 80-200 f2.8, and the 150-600mm f5-6.3 replaced the 55-300mm f4.5-5.6.
The main takeaway from this chart is that I made the right call in buying that 150-600mm lens, because I got a heck of a lot of use out of it.
Here is a look at my Aperture usage:
I for the most part tended to shoot at the widest aperture of the lenses I had, from the look of things. The f1.8 is from my primes, the f2.8 from my 24-70mm, the f4 from my 70-200, and the 5.6/6.3 from my 150-600mm. I’m glad f8 and f11 still got a decent amount of use, as those are solid apertures that also get a good amount of sharpness. F16 was probably used for most sunny days when it was a “who cares” kind of shutter speed. The f28.8 bump would be from my Macro rig. Having my flash over the macro lens allowed me to have total light control, and I set things for ISO 100, f29, and any shutter speed below 1/250 of a second. With those locked in I just needed to worry about focus, and could fire away. The reason it says f28.8 as an approximate is because the macro lens wasn’t actually stopped down that narrow. It would have been a wider aperture, but because I was focusing so close, the back of the lens was farther away from the sensor, which will reduce the intensity of the light hitting it. The camera and lens account for that hit in light, and treat it as a lower aperture when displaying things. So while it wasn’t actually shooting at f29, the amount of light hitting the sensor was equivalent to that. FUN!
Finally, here is my ISO usage:
Clearly I was very big on trying to keep my shots as noise free as possible. I definitely got better at bumping it up as the year went on, realizing that I can not only reduce noise a bit in post if needed, but the final output usually didn’t show much anyhow. Also, when it comes down to getting the shot with some noise vs. not getting the shot… well, easy winner there. I definitely tried to keep things increased in solid stop equivalents. 200 is double the sensitivity of 100. 400 double the sensitivity of 200, and so on. I found that the noise between 200 and 400 was negligible, so it was simpler to just get the benefits 400 provided, and I jumped to that most of the time. 800 Was also heavily used for low light indoor events, or coupled with my 150-600mm lens where I needed to shoot at a shutter speed as fast as 1/1000 of a second a lot of the time to capture a flying animal, so even with daylight, extra sensitivity was required.
It’s neat to look over at all of the numbers and begin to explain to myself or thing about why they are as they are. I don’t think there is really an “optimal” pattern that should be followed, as it all comes down to what a person shoots, and my range covers a lot of different ground. If I was exclusively birds and nature, that ISO 100 level would be bottomed out. If I shot exclusively studio stuff where I controlled the light, it would tower over everything. I’m happy with my variety, though.
My next step is to figure out what to do this year. I already went out today and got some shots on a winter walk. I was thinking of posting one, but am opting to take a day off instead. It felt good to see that it doesn’t look like I intend to stop shooting, which is the most important part to me. I’m thinking I’ll be trying to work on some more intricate projects instead. Stuff with planning, conceptualization, and whatnot, that can’t be hammered out all in one day. Perhaps also a few themed collections. I’ll probably also need to revamp this website into a proper portfolio or something, as well.
Plenty to do still, that’s for sure.