It is not long before we will be waving goodbye to 2013 in order to welcome 2014. And with the end of this year in sight, it is time to continue one of my favorite personal traditions of looking back on this year’s photos and setting my goals for next year.
We are in the midst of Never Outgrew Toy’s second year, and I’ve found that blogging has not just immensely influenced my collecting habits, but has also encouraged me to try new things. Of course the real thing encouraging me is those of you reading, and I sincerely thank you all for taking the time to read and comment. It was this year that I was able to spend time chatting with more lovely people than before, and truly felt like a blogger. This is especially nice since between you and me, I’m a little shy in real life. I look forward to continuing to enjoy this hobby with you all, and can only imagine who I’ll meet and what I’ll discover in 2014.
Looking back at 2012, my collecting resolution was to be more discerning with my preorders since I had found myself wandering into the abyss of buying everything that seemed even remotely interesting. I am happy to say that that resolution was a success in that I stopped buying figmas of characters just because they look pretty. Extra additions were kept to a minimum as well with Momohime being the only scaled figure, and nendoroid Kirito and Snow Miku being atypical, but greatly enjoyed purchases.
I’d count 2013 as a successful year in the subject of cutting back, but there is just one factor that needs to be considered. One miniscule side hobby I adopted that might get in the way of my success. What is it again? Could you say it louder? One more time? Oh right, Dolls. Tamaki joined me late last year, but I did not do much with her until Kagura came. I then began sewing in order to make outfits for both, and have really bonded with my dolls and come to enjoy the hobby a lot. Sewing is yet another wonderful creative outlet, and I am quite pleased with my progress in my first year. The climax to all of this was my decision to proceed with getting a Dollfie Dream (something I had long ago deemed impossible). My DD is now 80% complete, and I estimate that she will be complete by early spring.
Now to proceed with the photos!
I began figure photography on DeviantArt where I had long been a hopeful doodler. I’d often see summaries where artists would picture their progress throughout the year. I enjoyed looking at these summaries, but was always a little sad that this was something I could not do for myself. My secret wish was to have something to look back on at the end of the year. And with figure photography I am finally able to do that! It’s watching the little dreams come true that means a lot.
And finally 2013!
For the first year, I have an empty spot in February.
As usual, I am pleased with this year’s progress, and one thing that’s always neat about looking back on the year’s photos is that I can remember the moment when I took each photo. Whether I was hunched over on the beach, sprawled out in the damp grass, nestled in the leaves, or merely sitting at a table in my living room, each picture is a representation of a moment frozen in time that I doubt I’ll ever forget.
That reminds me that compared to years past, my figures and I have been able to travel to several places adding some welcome variety.
But it’s a shame to summarize the year so briskly especially since there are many other notable photos, so let’s dissect this year more closely by looking at the best of each month.
Best of January
The last month of photos for my old point and shoot. I had reached a standstill in my photography due to the limitations of my camera (that’s how you know you’re ready to move on) and was experimenting with black and white studio style photography. I rely on color a lot, so it’s a cool exercise to take that away from yourself and work more with light, texture, and composition like photographers did in the day before color photography. I still like the idea of experimenting with black and white, and hope to give it another try with Dollfie Dreams since I think the varying materials of a doll would work better than figures which are just made of plastic.
I was waiting for my SLR, so that’s most likely why this month is empty.
My first month with the SLR. You can see from Peeking and Window Sheer that I was still learning the settings, but was fascinated by the things I was now able to capture. Rainy Day was originally part of a photo story, but I like the image because it has a candid quality that I do not usually achieve with photos. I chose Field as this month’s featured photo because I like the sense of presence the BRS trio has.
April marked the beginning of spring and return of life to the outdoors. It’s one of my favorite times of the year because I can run outside without being bundled up, and thanks to flowers and leaves, everything becomes automatically photogenic. April is defined by color, and Bride Portrait even earned Picture of the Day on MFC. Yet after I say so much about color, the featured photo I chose this month was Cool which is anything but colorful.
Another month of color…and apparently Madoka Magica! Mami’d was even Picture of the Day on MFC!
Lots of nendoroid Kirito this month. I even did something different by making the story Cowboy Kirito and the Golden Cow. There is also Lavender Sea which was my entry for GSC’s summer photo contest.
I chose the winner because it’s a picture I fell in love with right away. I just love that figure!
Another month with a lot of Kirito, but my favorite is of Tamaki. I love the lighting and that kimono.
August is still a warm month, but it is not long afterwards that daylight becomes far less abundant which forces me to either cope with the situation by taking fewer pictures, or find a way to compensate. In the past I’ve merely slowed down on my photography, but with a blog and figures to review, this is something I’d rather not do. I was at this time that I found the wonders of backlighting to create a pure white background. This accustomed me to working inside.
I chose Sake Room for this month because I’ve wanted to create a figure sized tatami room for a long time, and love how this photo turned out. It was also Picture of the Day on MFC!
More backlighting and the results of some sewing for Kagura.
I chose the winner because what’s better than a fight between Black Rock Shooter and her rival?
More backlighting, but this time I experimented with manipulating the light.
The month of the camping trip! We had an especially lovely autumn this year which combined with a perfectly itmed camping trip to create a colorful photo shoot!
Forest Tsukihi is one of those pictures that I knew I loved the moment I took it, so it was the obvious victor of this month.
I’m proud to say that all of these pictures were taken at night! Whether it be because of a flash or long exposure, I’m glad to see that my alternative light sources are reliable enough to at least give me a picture that I am not afraid to share.
In all, this has been a good year. One thing I’m happy to finally see is a reliable and consistent quality among all of my photos. That does not mean that my camera operating skills cannot improve, but it is good to not have to trash pictures that I thought were ok because they now look terrible. In short, I think I finally know what I am doing.
My photography resolution for next year is to rediscover something that I lost. When I began, I took a lot of silly pictures, but enviously eyed those who were able to photograph a figure against the sunset or in the forest and have it be beautiful. I wanted to have a picture of mine gain notoriety just for being pretty. That is something I subconsciously devoted myself to, and reviewing this year’s photos, I believe I have come close enough to that to be satisfied. I really did not think that pursuing purely pretty photos had caused me to sacrifice anything until later in this year when I started trying to photograph dolls. I realized that I had not bought any props in a long time. Props used to be a necessity for me, yet I had completely discarded them in favor of more figures. Often new collectors are under the impression that the more figures they get, the more fun or creative their pictures will be(at least that’s how I thought), and that is true to an extent. But there’s something very special about only having a few figures. The whole world opens up as a place for adventure for you and your new little friend. I remember sticking my figures in tea pots or playing with them and magnets. Everything was fun and fresh, and I think that the more figures I got, the more I became embedded in a world that did not require as much creativity. I am not saying that I or anyone else should get rid of all their figures(heavens no!), but I miss having my figmas climb up a tree, ride a stuffed animal, or play with little paper airplanes. I want to buy props, take crazy pictures, build sets, and just have fun again, so that is what I will aspire to in 2014.
May you all have a happy New Year!
Care to share any of your resolutions?