My year in Review 2011, Part 1

This year in review will highlight my personal experiences of 2011 through photographs I have taken in the last 12 months.

2011 was the year of learning. I learned what worked for me and what didn’t work. Experimenting in photography and life. I learned what to dedicate my time to doing. I learned to focus on the important things in life. I learned to try EVERYTHING once, and find out for myself if it is something I want to continue to do. I learned to listen. I learned that failing at something isn’t a bad thing, as long as I learn from it.


One of my favorite winter photographs, this shot was taken in Middletown in mid-January.

 Highlights of the month: Set out to make 2011 the year that I would try new things including goals for personal work. This included goals to start my own photography company, increasing my coverage of the Harrisburg area by freelancing for several other publications, getting my personal photography into a gallery, and attending a seminar to continue improving my photography skills. These are goals that I achieved and will highlight throughout this post. January was the first time I realized it was ok to fail, it was ok to admit my mistakes. I think through this past year, starting with January, I really allowed myself to find my style. All photographers are to have their own style, and I couldn’t figure out what mine was for the longest time, and truthfully I am still trying to nail it down.


My dear friend Mariko and her husband have been in the process of adopting. She held a Zumbathon to raise money for their efforts, and I photographed it. I enjoyed spending time with my friends, and trying to get shots of the event from all angles. This was also one of the first times I used my newly purchased camera for video. (Always a learning experience)

Click the photograph to go to video from the event.

Having lived in Pittsburgh for 10 years (off-and-on again relationship with the Steel City), I am a huge Steelers Fan. There was no doubt that when a pep rally was scheduled at the Harrisburg Mall, the day before the Super Bowl, I would be there.

Although my team lost, I enjoyed the pep rally because it made me feel I was back in Pittsburgh, hanging out with fellow Steelers Fans and supporting our boys on the field, no matter the outcome.

Click the photo to go to the video from the pep rally.


This was THE BEST month of 2011, even if I didn’t know it at the time. It was the month I started my own website, Debra Schell Photography. It was the best because I hadn’t realized what I had gotten myself into, at this point I was excited to begin to really get some personal work under my belt.

I began on a quest to cover the Harrisburg area, thinking like a newspaper person, one of the many mistakes I made this past year. I thought that if I started covering local events, I could sell the photos to local’s that I photographed. It seemed to work at the newspaper I have worked for, so I thought I would give it a try. It turns out that people just don’t want to buy prints anymore. Most people want CD’s or digital files, so they can share them on Facebook. Lesson learned. I can’t give away my photographs, so I need to get paid upfront for images, knowing that I will not make up the cost by charging for printing. (Old-school thought.)

Another great thing about March was it was the month I met many of my Zumba friends, while photographing a Zumbathon to raise money for a local family that lost several children in a fire.

This is the first part, and I decided to split this up since many say my blog posts are simply too long 😛

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