Happy New Year! / by Michael Zwack

As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 just a day away, I wanted to quickly say thank you to everyone who has joined and supported me in this adventure.  When I started the year, I knew very little about starting a blog and even less about running a successful website and business.  Over the last 12 months a lot of that has changed.  Whereas I'm still amateurish in many ways, the plan is to continue this photography adventure into 2017 and with it another year of discoveries and self-fulfillment.  This year-end post will highlight some of my goals for the coming year and in turn give you the reader a better understanding of where I'm coming from and where I wish this journey to lead.  

So whats the plan for 2017?  Well to be honest, I have many ideas in my head, but I'm quickly learning you can only plan ahead so far.  By the end of 2017 I would however like to be more skilled in the the realm of video.   I've recently invested in a new vlogging camera; more on that next year, which hopefully will help with a smoother filming process, while producing great visual results.  In this regard I've also invested in Adobe Premiere Pro for editing. The Creative Cloud platform allows for a more versatile editing process than iMovie...which I used throughout 2016.  Premiere also allows color-grading, which helps tremendously in getting the desired cinema "look" I'm going for.  I've  merely scratched the surface with video and I'm confident as the year progresses, so will the quality of my videos.  The Minnehaha Falls video included in this post was my first foray into Adobe Premiere Pro and whereas it's not where I'd like it to be, I now know the basics and can move forward in learning advanced editing techniques. 

That goal is followed by an initiative to help spread the word of my work and creative endeavors.  Having spent the entirety of 2016 getting the business started and learning about websites, blogging, video & You Tube...I didn't have much opportunity learning the art of of building a community of like-minded followers.  Essential to any business, I'm more interested in hearing from and producing content for people with similar passions.  It's only when creating and sharing creativity, whether through conversation or projects, that I truly feel content.  I often mention that I'm a classically trained photographer looking for his niche in an oversaturated photo/blog market.  My goal for 2017 is to be more in tune with the message I wish to share, have my work reflect that, and hopefully engage others along the way.  

The only way to get people interested in what I do of course, is by doing more of what I do.  Whereas the editing style may change a bit and hopefully get easier to produce, I look forward to sharing new and exciting content...and more of it.  By the end of 2017, I will hopefully be producing bi-monthly content.  

And where would I be without the other main component of my life...Travel; I could talk hours about the life changing experiences that come from meeting interesting people, learning about new cultures & history, seeing amazing works of art & architecture, and of course photographing it all along the way.  Instead this should be reflective in the content I create and share, but being it is an important part of my life and what I wish to communicate with the world, I have every intention to travel as far and often as possible in 2017.  

I'm also at a place where I have most of the gear I foresee needing in the years ahead.  Being a proponent of a minimalist type lifestyle, in 2016 I researched as much as I could about the needs of content creators and worked towards securing those tools.  I'm not completely there yet, but by end of 2017 I hope to be able to take this show on the road and not skip a beat. In the meantime I will of course share my thoughts/intentions for new gear and only purchase that which is necessary to improve my creative endeavors.

In the end I wish this site to be much more than simply nice photographs, in 2017 my aim to is share the profound life-changing experiences brought forth from living a life true to one's path; in turn hopefully inspiring readers to do the same and embrace a life less ordinary.  I have big plans for the future and I plan to bring you all along for the ride.  Together we will discover the richness of experience, while capturing the essence of what it means to live.

Before I go, one last short video to close out the year.  Shot at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, MN on Dec. 12, 2016.  It focuses on a quick trip to the still flowing waterfall after the first major snow storm of the year.  It is also my first published video edited in Adobe Premiere Pro.  Enjoy, and don't forget to follow on Social Media.  I'm currently pushing Instagram, where I've slowly gained ground and found a nice footing for phone photography. 

Once again, Thanks for a great year and here's to many more to come!  Be the change and keep shooting.