Cherry Fivers
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Thirty Thousand Pictures

This image is the thirty thousandth picture I've captured since beginning with digital photography. Thirty Thousand! Now, with that statement, there are a lot of things to talk about.

Technically speaking, it's the thirty thousandth image I've captured using a proper DSLR camera when the intent has been to make art. I am not counting the hundreds of thousands of images I captured prior to 2011, when I was just dabbling with photography and taking snapshots of things that caught my eye. Nor am I counting the bazillions of photos I've captured over the years with point-and-shoots, early-gen camera phones, my BlackBerrys, and then of course, my iPhones (which I've had since their inception). With all of those caveats, I suppose 30,000 is reduced to a completely arbitrary number to celebrate, but this image just happened to stand out in my collection when I was reviewing it the other day.

I captured this shot recently while walking along the trails of the Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve. It has been supremely strange living in upstate New York this February and not to have several feet of snow on the ground. Yet we've had remarkably little this year and the temperatures have been consistently spring-like. The result is apparent in scenes like this one, where even the shallowest of waters are only partially frozen.

I took this shot because I loved the contrast between the thin film of ice in the upper half of the frame and the reflecting water in the lower half. Seeing the leafless trees reflected in that water provides context for the scene. While I was evaluating this photograph, I got to looking back through my catalog and seeking out common themes that have developed with my own shooting style. One such style that has developed completely on it's own, and has become identifiable simply through the volume of pictures I've taken, was captured in this picture. Specifically, reflections of upside down trees are something I (apparently) love to incorporate in landscapes, and until writing this blog entry, I had never really noticed it explicitly!

In the end, thirty thousand images isn't really a huge number of pictures for the time frame we're talking about here. But having a personal catalog this large makes it possible to go back and evaluate one's development as a photographer. In my case, one thing was certain, and that is the difference in quality of photographs from any of my first thousand as compared to any of my most recent thousand was significant. It makes me wonder how the next 30,000 will stack up against shots like this one, and what stylistic trends will evolve over that time.