As promised, my photo gallery from Paris and from SoCG 2011 is now online. It's a mix of photos from the conference itself and touristy sightseeing snapshots, and also of DSLR photos and photos from my cellphone. The following is one of the cellphone ones (I think the stripy stuff in the sky is a reflection in the window of the dinner cruise boat):
While preparing to put these on the web, I noticed that it's been ten years since I started doing digital photography, and nine years since I started using a DSLR. (I had used a film SLR, a Nikon EM, before that, but with a several year hiatus prior to going digital.) I'd like to think my photography has improved over that period, but my feeling is that it's one of those things that takes not just experience but practice: at times when I don't take many photos my photography gets worse and at times when I take a lot it gets better.
There's also an interesting balance between spontaneity and technical quality: being in the moment, taking pictures as I see them, sometimes means not paying enough attention to technical issues like exposure levels and aperture that affect the image in important ways. Lately I've worked to get a few of the photos I've uploaded for Wikipedia certified through their "quality image" program, and have realized for quite a few more of them that they just don't stand up to the standards there, which are much more about technical quality than they are about artistic quality. That process has reminded me that (though I want to continue to put the artistic part first) there are plenty of things I can do to improve on the technical side as well. The cell phone photos are interesting to me in part because of this balance: they can be much more spontaneous (I don't have to plan ahead of time to be taking photos) but are technically not close to even the sloppiest of my DSLR photos.