Summary of 2017 (Part 1)


In 2016, I decided “not to be afraid to be there” and “open my eyes not to what is in front of me but what is inside.”

This zest for seeing, the freedom to explore and the hunger for visual risk-taking has brought me to a new place of “unquiet presence.” As many of you have pointed out, my photography has changed, my writing has evolved and the olafphoto of 2017 is very different from olafphoto in 2016. Such turmoil has become the DNA of my photographic being.


Photography is a strange calling. On the surface, it is a highly personal activity. However, even after the whole process of connecting, seeing and crafting the image, the final act doesn’t belong to the author – far from it. The image takes on a life of its own. This example of seeing enters someone else’s life, sometimes by accident, sometimes in a much more tacit way. The person decides to take a break from their day and connect with someone else’s seeing. Then, as the viewer applies their own feelings and visual sensibility, the image becomes a new experience, new visual in someone else’s eyes. It becomes an act on its own. 

Many of you did just that! What a privilege to have such an audience. Not only have you spent most of the year visiting, reading and viewing our imagery but you exchanged your views and feelings. I am so grateful for each interaction. Thanks to you, our photography comes alive; it becomes humanized and connected.

Your support means a lot to me!


As much as some photographers would like to project the aura of never-ending success, supporting yourself exclusively from photography is not an easy feat. It is a constant struggle, which I have learnt to accept and enjoy. However, many projects would not be possible without financial support from generous individuals who see value in supporting art. This year we were privileged to receive a major donation from an amazing couple who started their photographic adventure in their 80s. By doing so they showed me that it is never too late to pursue your passion. Thank you so much for your friendship and generosity. Yes, against your wishes there will be an entire post about you upon the launch of our new project!  


It has been another great year of cooperation with Fujifilm Canada, for which we are very grateful. Thank you for your hard work and support for the craft of seeing. Our big thanks to the entire team for putting up with us 🙂  


Some of you stated a long time ago that you wanted more interaction, learning and exploring the world of seeing. That’s how Simplicity-In-Seeing was born in January 2017. From the beginning, my intention was to write and share more. I wanted a conversation with both beginning and accomplished photographers that centred on images. Your financial support allowed me and my small team to engage in the world of seeing on a much deeper level and by doing so, interact with you more often. The topics we talked about inspired us and sent our seeing in new directions. Yes, I say “us” because writing, as well as photography, is a form of conversation. As such, this conversation about light, seeing, composition and so on has been evolving through the year. We had a slow start but as the year progressed, Simplicity-In-Seeing grew rapidly. I know that many of you are looking for in-depth conversations about photography and quality materials to tackle the issues of seeing, rather than just technical know-how.

After this first year, I have a better idea where to go with Simplicity-In-Seeing; lots of new content will come your way in the New Year. We have already started live interactive conference calls so we can discuss our work as well as many photographic topics. Thank you again for your patronage. I’m looking forward to the New Year.


Wow, I never thought I would go this route. I remember when we published our first video about the X100F – your response was phenomenal. Then we published another video and we had a similar, warm response. Then we paused, taking our time to figure out a direction for this new outlet. Your voice was clear and loud! “Olaf, just shut up, take your camera and shoot. We want to see you in action!” I couldn’t be happier. We decided to limit the talking, reviewing, gesticulating or adding fancy effects. Plenty of YouTube channels do this much better than we do.

Instead, we will do more live shooting. I will take my camera (most of the time X100F) and my videographer (Kasia) will follow me so you can see the process behind each image. No fancy talk, no bragging – just action on the streets of Vancouver, London, San Francisco, etc.

Plans for the New Year: there will be more videos, more often!


When one of my students said, “I have learnt more in the first fifteen minutes of your workshop than on all other workshops I’ve taken, combined,” I knew that working on my Simplicity-In-Seeing program had paid off. Yes, some of my students are surprised on the first day but then as I watch how they grow, take visual risks and find the joy of seeing again – I am delighted. They start producing imagery which they never thought possible. This imagery is the greatest compliment I could receive (see our next post!).

Most importantly, we often become friends and stay in touch, exchanging ideas and learning from each other. Some of my students even decided to go further and booked private workshops with me to take their seeing to another level. More workshops are coming in 2018 in Vancouver, London, Berlin, Paris, Toronto, San Francisco and New York. We may even visit Sidney, Australia.


It is time for the top 10 images of the year. Reducing our work from the entire year to just ten images appeared to be an impossible task but…we did it. Making hard choices is one of the most difficult part of photography and we didn’t want to go easy route of sharing all our favourite images. Here they are!



In Part 2, we will share our choice of the camera of the year (you will be surprised!); explain why the Fujifilm X100F has become our only camera; mention some great people who work “behind the scenes;” provide you with some amazing links; show more of the best imagery of 2017 – this time from the road; and most importantly, show the best imagery of the year as taken by my students. We will also describe some amazing plans for 2018. You’ll want to see this post!


2017 © Olafphoto. All rights reserved.







25 thoughts on “Summary of 2017 (Part 1)

    1. Shooting both – Jpegs & RAW. When using RAW files I am usually running simple presets; Classic Chrome (CC) and Acros (A+R). Thank you for your kind words.

  1. Dear Olaf,

    Although I did not discover your blog until this year, it quickly developed to my regularly reading on the Internet. I appreciate the consistently high quality of your posts and your pictures, though – or maybe because? – these differ from my more documentary style of street photography. Since 2011, I am also a big fan of Fuji, so that I can emphasize your comments on x100f all. Because of this camera I almost make pictures as carefree as in my youth. So, stay inspired and have good luck with your activities next year. Greetings from Germany,

    1. Ralf,

      I really appreciate your kind comment. Your note “I almost make pictures as carefree as in my youth” made me smile – love it!!! I am even share it on my blog, if you don’t mind.

      Just checked your website and your have some really strong work there. I especially like your B&W imagery.

      I hope to meet you one day in person,

      All the best,


      1. Olaf,

        Thank you for your compliment! In fact, my wife and I are planning a stay in Western Canada next year or in the year after next. It would be our second visit after 1994. If you are in Germany again in the meantime, please let me know. And of course you can quote me. Best wishes,

  2. Olaf, I have remained part of your “outer-circle”, lurking in the background reading and enjoying each post. When you come to New York, I will hopefully have the time to attend your workshop and meet youn in person.

    1. Dear Khürt,

      Thank you so much for coming out and saying hi. It means a lot to me. Your kind words provide me with motivation and zest to keep running this blog and sharing as much as I can. I would love to meet you in person. Yes, New York is coming in late 2018.

      All the best,


  3. Olaf, I have remained part of your “outer-circle”, lurking in the background reading and enjoying each post. When you come to New York, I will hopefully have the time to attend your workshop and meet youn in person.

  4. Dear Olaf,

    you challenged yourself by selecting your top 10 images of 2017. This is tough, and the thing is that all your runner-ups should be in the top list, as well (especially the one with the white chair).
    As a long term visitor of your blog, I think your 2017 was a fantastic year! You accomplished so much in terms of your visualization, risk taking, gear choices, Simplicity in Seeing, Workshop, YouTube, being a full time photographer….the list is long indeed.

    I am still in the works with my own top 10 selection of 2017…

    I am already looking forward to part 2 🙂 and your work in 2018!!


    1. Kevin,

      I always enjoy reading your notes and your support is highly appreciated. I noticed your photography has also evolved and I must admit I like your new direction a lot. In fact, just recently I took a deep look at your website and I see really strong work there. I am impressed!!! Look for part 2 – there will be a small surprise for you there 🙂

      Take Care,


      P.S. Hope to meet you in person in 2018

  5. Hi Olaf,

    Sounds Great.

    Best regards from Austria. I am deeply impressed. Your photographs, performance on Youtube and writing are extraordinary and informative both. I have learned a lot just reading and watching you.
    Yesterday I bought a 100f (GAS!) and try to follow your advice „one year, one lense“, though taking photographs for more than 10 years already with different gear. Back to the roots, hope it will make me better.

    Look Vers much forward to see you at one of your workshop in Europe (unfortunately no time for Berlin or London in spring, but hopefully later)

    All the best


    1. Heinz,

      Thank you so much!!! Congratulations on your new camera. You will love it. I will be writing more about the X100F in part 2 so you may find it interesting. I guess for me, it was also the year of coming back to the roots – simplicity at its core.

      How about Paris in late 2018? 🙂 I would really enjoy meeting you in person.



  6. Hi Olaf,
    Writing from Australia and I always feel pleased to see your blog. I love the way your work is evolving. I have tried before to make comments with no luck as I do not have a website (though I do have a small blog) I’ll see if it works this time!

    1. Jane,

      You did it!!! I appreciate it so much. There is something special about people from Australia. I hope to visit your great country in 2018!

      Looking forward to your future comments.



      1. Hi Olaf Thank you for your reply. It would be great if you came over here in 2018. I live in Brisbane but as you know we have a big country and Sydney and Melbourne are particularly good cities for photography. Now I can do it will continue commenting on your photos. Jane

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