January 4

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My 10 Favorite Blog Posts I Wrote in 2018

By Dan

January 4, 2019


Happy new year! Now that 2018 is officially a wrap, it’s been fun to look back and remember all the adventures, projects and fun times that the past year brought.

With my 50th birthday trip to Islay, 2,674 miles of bike riding including 206,900 feet of climbing, numerous events at camera stores around the country and the chance to meet so many of you guys in person, the X-T3, some fantastic flying opportunities, the paperback edition of X SERIES UNLIMITED, my new landscape eBook, lots of memorable images and a super fun Fuji Summit in the Great Smokies, 2018 will be a tough act to follow. I hope this is the same with you.

I always enjoy looking back and seeing what I wrote during the past year. In chronological order, and to recap and highlight articles you might have missed, here are my 10 favorite blog posts that I published during the 12 months of 2018.

1. The 5 Lenses I Used Most in 2017

I included this one because it’s a concise look back at what I shot the previous year and the lenses I used to create some of my favorite images from that period. It’s always fun to review older images and see how your vision and technique evolved over a particular stretch of time.

2. Don’t Fall Into This Trap With Your Photography 

This was my “public service announcement” from last February, and it resonated strongly with readers. In this insightful and inspiring post, I encouraged photographers to avoid falling into the “technical trap” with photography, and focus on what really matters in our craft.

It was a reminder to embrace the joy, the wonder, the light, the moments and the people that excite us in and compel us to lift our cameras. Those things matter so much more than pixels, noise, ISO Invariance, sensor size or what camera you use. Hopefully this post can help you align your photographic priorities for the coming year. 

3. 28 Years Later…

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February 2, 2018 marked my 28-year anniversary of when I bought my first real camera and began my amazing journey with photography.

In this post, I share a few of my old images and spoke of a time when things like email and Instagram didn’t even exist yet, when I still used this thing called film, which came in little metal cans, stamping and captioning slides by hand, and falling in love with Veliva for the very first time.

I ponder what it might have been like as an outside to watch young, 22-year old Dan Bailey become enamored with photography and follow it with such enthusiasm for nearly 3 decades. What an exciting journey it’s been.

4. Challenging The Traditional Definition of Alpenglow

In March, I wrote a long post explaining exactly what Alpenglow is and where the term originated. I also challenged what many people accept as the common definition of Alpenglow and used my experiences photographing mountain sunsets from the air to back up my hypothesis.

This post provoked a great deal of discussion and polite arguments in the comment section and on social media. Is my hypothesis right? I can see it both ways. What do you think?

5. Sunset over the Shores of Bowmore on the Isle of Islay

I celebrated my 50th birthday this past year with a weeklong trip to the Isle of Islay off the west coast of Scotland. Islay is where the really peaty, smoky scotch whisky comes from, and being a newfound whisky connoisseur, I enjoyed visiting and touring all 8 distilleries on the island.

This post was more of a travelogue that touched on whisky production, memories of a similar pilgrimage to Spain 15 years prior, and capturing photos of the area. When I was younger, I wanted to be a travel writer. I even took some travel wiring courses after college. Fortunately, my blog allows me the perfect outlet to practice those skills and produce my own self-directed traveling writing stories and photo essays.

6. Using Bold vs. Subdued Colors in Your Photography

I’m endlessly fascinated by the notion that photography is a representational art form. In a handful of “tips” articles I wrote last year to discuss this concept, I shared my ideas about how photographers can express their creativity by using different techniques to add variety to their images.

In this post, I talked about the effects of using bold and subtle color palettes to tell specific stories about your subject matter. Whether you do this in camera or during the processing stage, you can use these ideas to impart a unique look to your photographs.

7. The Coolest Action Photo I’ve Ever Shot

On September 22, 2018, I captured the coolest action photo I’ve ever shot in my 22 years as a pro adventure and outdoor photographer. Made with the new Fujifilm X-T3, I was so excited by this image, I wrote a long blog post talking about how every single technique, creative idea and camera skill I’ve ever learned has led up to this point.

From that standpoint, it would only surmise that right now, I am the best photographer I have ever been, and are thus capable of capturing the best photo I’ve ever made.

I really enjoyed writing this article and exploring the ideas of practice, experience, learning, constant improvement and striving to be the best photographer you can possibly be. I hope you enjoy it. 

8. 10 Essential Autofocus Tips for Sports & Action Photography

I read many comments from people who struggle with autofocus. The truth is that nailing sharp shots of fast moving subject matter is very hard to do and it requires a great deal of skill, experience and knowing exactly how to use your camera.

More often than not, we’re the weak link in the process, not the camera. With this in mind, I wrote a post outlining 10 essential tips that will help you increase your percentage of sharp images when shooing things that move.

Whether you shoot sports, wildlife, or children, this post will help you increase your proficiency with autofocus. This was one of three action photography related tips posts I wrote during the second half of 2018. You can find the other two posts here and here.

9. Looking Back on our 2001 Himalayan Mountain Bike Trip

In July of 2001, I did a six-week mountain bike touring expedition to Ladakh, India with my longtime friend Eric Parsons, who just celebrated the 10-year mark for his company that makes bicycle frame bags. I was prompted to write this post after waking up and seeing a familiar photo staring back at me on the Revelate Designs Instagram feed one particular morning in back in October.

Immediately flooded with memories, I sat down and wrote a fun account of our trip, how it came about, my history of adventuring with Eric and what it was like to ride my bike over the highest passes in the world. I also shared a number of images from our time over there.

I still look back on this adventure as one of the coolest, most amazing trips I’ve ever done, so it was fun to relive it here on my blog.

10. Experimenting with Monochromatic Color Photography

As with my post about using bold and subdued colors in your photography, this post explored another creative technique you can use to vary the style of your imagery, shooting monochrome in color.

What I mean by this is capturing images that revolve around a single dominant color palette and composing so that you either reduce or in some cases, eliminate any other hue that’s not directly related to your main color.

I love using this technique, and it’s one that can really inspire you as you survey your scenes and try to think of unique ways to portray your subjects. At any rate, it can be a fun visual exercise.


 

So, those are my favorite posts from the past year. I hope you take the time to read or revisit at least some them, especially if there were one or two that you missed.

As always, thanks for your support during 2018 and I wish you the best for a great year ahead. I look forward to the next few months and seeing where my own ideas take me and my photography.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.


As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.

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  • I received your E-book for Christmas and I’ve read it many times. Sometimes just looking at the pictures. We took a oh too short cruise to Alaska 8 years ago and hope that I’ll get the chance to come back. I have an XT2 and my opinion is that it is an elegant machine. Somewhat like the Leica M4 or III f. I love it. I always enjoy your blog and wish you the best. Tom Wilwol

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