BtF 360

December 29, 2011 

Avoiding cliché is a constant goal of mine. I'm often unsuccessful, though, and after ripping off somebody else's idea to try and spice up 2010's year-end recap, I'm falling prey to the biggest cliché of them all by sharing some of my New Year's resolutions.

No. 1 on my list is remembering to shoot more for myself. It's way too easy to get sucked into making the photos I know will be safe to publish. It's a simple concept to get a CYA before pushing the boundaries a little more, but I find it's even simpler to keep refining a standard angle and approach until I get the best CYA possible. That's boring, though, and pushing myself is the only way to keep growing.

I also need to get a project going again — this time something that's not sports related. I had a blast working with the Burgess family and the Lady Lions bowling team, but it's time to work out of my comfort zone.

Not getting worked up over online comments would be another healthy move. Criticism, I can take, but the mindless rantings of mouth-breathing trolls dragging their cyber knuckles all over the bottom of stories gets tiresome. The offenses are too numerous to remember, but a couple of recent trips down commenter lane riled me up more than they should. I'm not sure what was more upsetting, the accusation that we were unduly embarrassing the Richland student who collapsed and was flown to Seattle or that we were causing paranoia in the community by reporting it.

I was also irked by the overwhelming response to the Christmas weed saga. Seeing more than 200 comments on both the stories and our Facebook page was a little disheartening considering how little response most non-political stories elicit. It's a fun little story about the Spirit of Christmas, sure, but that volume of response dwarfs the several examples of the giving spirit this time of year, some of which I mentioned last week.

I think the key will be to remember that the outrageous opinions that dominate these anonymous sounding boards only represent an irritating percentage of our readership. Proof of this is how sparse and thoughtful comments on this blog are. That either means nobody's reading or that the BtF faithful are smart.

And since I've already succumbed to yet another cliché by getting worked up while talking about online comments, I'll set an easy resolution to not blab so much anymore in my weekly ramblings. Here's hoping my photos improve enough to do the talking for me in 2012.

If you're a new or infrequent reader, here are my favorite five posts of the year:

1) On Crutches 2) A Flock of Seagulls Eyes 3) Ad Nauseam 4) Splash Photography 5) Blindsided

And here are my favorite photos of the year, loosely edited and arranged chronologically. I'll start this brevity resolution next year.

And for more looks back at 2011 in photos...

There are about a billion photo retrospectives in the interwebs, and I took issue with a few selections in Buzzfeed's "45 Most Powerful Images of 2011" a couple weeks ago.'s The Big Picture didn't disappoint, with best of selections divided into Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

While I enjoyed the chronological presentation over at the Wall Street Journal, I found the photo selection to be a little more obvious and reliant on the biggest stories of the year, not necessarily the best visual storytelling from those memorable headlines.

The New York Times had the best presentation of the photo collections I looked through and I liked the arrangement by subject matter. It's a more thoughtful edit that takes advantage of work done by its talented staff and freelancers instead of relying on the viral wire photos we've all seen already.

One surprise was that Eric Thayer's metaphoric masterpiece of the plane flying through the Tribute in Lights didn't appear in these three when it was in Reuters' gallery last month.

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