[A Photographer’s Notes] Grow creativity and shoot in new directions in the year of the tiger

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[3.11 Earthquake: Rebuilding]    10 years later: Tohoku's recovery and resilience with the world

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As we move into 2022, I wonder what the New Year will bring us.

According to the nerdy sci-fi movies of the ’80s and’ 90s, we should now be exploring deep space and colonizing multiple universes. But I have a hunch that 2022 will be a much more down-to-earth year for most of us unless Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos have some surprises in store.

Starting locally, 2022 brings new personal and professional changes in my life. In early 2019 my son was born and over the past two years I have devoted a lot of my time to being home and being the best dad I can possibly be.

It meant giving up personal projects and partying with friends to play at the park and take my son to swimming lessons. To be honest, I loved this moment with my son and wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Good family time lights up the Enoshima vacation (Jason Halayko).

Having said that, my son will be two years old at the start of 2022. Here in Japan it is a time when many children are entering kindergarten for the first time and taking their first steps in society. He started in December and slowly got used to the change of environment. I’m proud to say that he cries a lot less than daddy (I’m a little moved to see him leave every morning).

Developing the creativity of the self-employed

The changes of the new year also mean something to me professionally as a freelance photographer. I now find my days much more free to re-explore projects that have been on the back burner, especially in 2021. Testing photographic material, working on my portrait photography, creating YouTube videos, writing more articles for JAPAN Before, are among the things I look forward to tackling again in 2022.

As a professional photographer, I feel that these projects are where I learn and my creativity thrives the most. They are essential to evolve not only in 2022, but for many decades to come.

Winter sports and Beijing Games

Looking further ahead, one event I look forward to at the start of the New Year is the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Being Canadian, I am even more excited about the Winter Games than the Summer Games, and I can’t wait to watch the snowboarding, ski jumping and other events. As a passionate snowboarder myself, and because several athletes I know from my work will be competing in the 2022 Games, I can’t wait to cheer them on!

Professionally, I also look forward to seeing how these Games will be photographed compared to previous years.

A notable improvement during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was that several photographers were brought in who specifically specialized in new events such as skateboarding and BMX. This made a huge difference in the quality of the photography from these competitions.

I sincerely hope that the IOC has learned the lessons and that it will bring more specialized photographers to future Games, in particular for snowboarding. In the past, the quality of the images of this sport was far from desirable.

Ice Cross (Red Bull Content Pool / Jason Halayko)

X-Games in Japan

Another major action sports event that just announced the very first X-Games in Japan! For those who don’t know, the X-Games are based in the United States and have been the equivalent of the action sports Olympics since 1995.

In many ways, I’m more excited for this to happen in Japan than I was about the Tokyo Olympics. I really hope to be a part of X-Games Japan and look forward to eventually documenting this historic event. It’s BIG!

New camera technology, new equipment

As a photographer, I always look forward to the possibility of releasing new and amazing material. I have been using my Nikon D5 for about 5 years and have taken almost 800,000 (WOW!) Images with it. It still works, but it’s time to think about a replacement.

This is why I am so happy that Nikon has announced its much anticipated Z9! This is a flagship full frame mirrorless camera that has literally improved everything I could have hoped to improve over my D5. Sales finally started on December 24, 2021 and my pre-ordered Z9 is expected to arrive in early 2022. I can’t wait to use it this New Year !!

Not only Nikon, but also other big brands such as Sony, FujiFilm and Canon, will all bring out new and innovative technologies that will help push the world of photography to new heights.

As photographers, we all rejoice whenever a new step is taken or an old photography problem is overcome, even if a favorite brand does not yet offer the latest and greatest technology. Breakthroughs lead to improvements that spread right down the line, and we’re sure to see a lot of them come to fruition in 2022.

Normal post-pandemic

Finally, as we come to the end of the second full year of our collective battle against COVID-19, I hope 2022 will see a little more of a return to life before the pandemic.

Thanks to advancements in tests, treatments, and different vaccines that hit the market in 2021, it looks like we have all the tools we need to meet this challenge. Globally, I hope that with these medical advancements we see an increase in compassion, empathy and universal understanding (vaccination, mask wearing, etc.) stronger than before.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2022! I can’t wait to see what the year brings and put my Nikon Z9 into action.

Welcome to the year of the Tiger!

Jason Halayko is a professional photographer specializing in action sports. Follow him on Twitter (@jason_halayko) and on Instagram (@jason_halayko), and find his work here on JAPAN Onward.



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