2014: A year in review

Another year over! Well almost over, when the year actually ends I will be in Iceland watching fireworks, and hopefully we’ll have seen the Northern Lights.

I can’t remember anything that particularly sticks out as being terrible this year, my grandad has been in hospital a couple of times but he has come out. So this is something to be grateful for.

So, as this is mainly my photography blog, lets look back at photos taken throughout the year….

It will basically be a rather poor and wordless review 😛

As a basic recap though, this year has brought book front covers, images used in 3 albums, family portraits and general client work. Not bad for an amateur 🙂

January

We started the year off at my parents for lunch

Resolutions // 01 01 14 I went to the Hunber Bridge and it was really misty and raining…
The Humber Bridge // 19 01 14 Then we went to Edinburgh for my birthday!
In the bleak midwinter // 25 01 14
As a birthday treat I bought myself a gas mask…
Forever together // 29 01 13 Stay Calm // 27 01 14

February

I worked with others throughout the year on various assignments, and I decided to push myself further in terms of ideas and learning Photoshop.
Of memories not forgotten // 02 02 14Keeping secrets // 08 02 14

March

We went to London for the day, and I also went to the Butterfly House.

Nevermore

Conflicting desires // 16 03 14Mr Peacock // 09 03 14

April

I tried to take an image in a different location in every day for the Easter holidays, I think I got as far as 11 days, until the mini project got rained off. Although in hind sight I could have gone somewhere inside to take a picture.

Blinded // 19 04 14Sheffield at night

The comfort in solitude // 30 04 14

May

Bewildered // 01 05 14Black Tulip // 06 05 14

That sinking feeling // 24 05 14Mr Bumble // 31 05 14

June

Untitled // 06 06 14End of the road // 15 06 14

The Birthday Cake // 19 06 14: ) // 27 06 14

July

The other side // 21 07 14Left Behind // 02 07 14

August

We went on holiday to Sorrento, Italy and to Bloodstock festival. I bought a new lens too.

At dusk // 19 08 14Capri Sunset // 18 08 14

Seeing each day as the same // 14 08 14Speaking words which have been said before // 25 08 14

September

I bought a super zoom lens, and went out deer stalking.

About to bloom // 01 09 14

Silhouetted Stag // 21 09 14

October

Anticipating the shorter, darker days I made sure that I carried out as many outdoor ideas as possible.

Mr Stag JrThe long road home // 27 10 14

Collecting thoughts // 30 10 14

November

Sunset over the Longshore Estate // 02 11 14Lazy Days // 09 11 14

Autumnal glory // 03 11 14

What comes next // 23 11 14

December

Dusky rose // 02 12 14Flamingos!

Untitled // 20 12 14

Project 365 // 2013: A Review

What a year 2013 has been : )

This is a review of my third consecutive project 365. I think I want to make it to five consecutive years, although easier said than done I suppose!
Just to clarify a Project 365 is where you take a picture every single day for an entire year. I did my first in 2010, but gave up around October time after I got mad at myself for accidentally deleting a couple of weeks worth of shots from my SD card which weren’t backed up. I bought an SLR on 01/01/2011 and I have taken a photo every day since then.

The aims of this year were as follows:

  • Create more black and white photos
  • Create photos which are more like ‘art’ (though at the start of this year I wasn’t even sure what I meant by this)
  • Take more portraits, including at least one self portrait a month

January

This year I knew I was carrying on (Last year I think was an accident), so I went to bed early(ish) New Years Eve and got up to go for a stroll and take some snaps in the hope of getting off to a good start on January 1st. Came back with a nice shot, and got Explored for the first seven or so days on Flickr. It doesn’t mean anything but it’s nice to get lots of favourites, views and comments on your photos.

Reflections // 01 01 13

Tulip // 10 01 13

I played with having an ‘abstract Tuesday’ theme, and managed to stick at it with food colouring for the whole month. It was very messy to set up, and a massive hassle as you could only snap a few shots before you had to change the water – but a lot of fun!

Jellyfish Swirls // 08 01 13 Last of the bunch // 29 01 13

February

The Band Stand // 02 02 13

February saw me looking to expand on the ‘abstract Tuesday’ theme and I spent a lot of time looking for unusual photos to take, stumbled across some fantastic levitation tutorials, and February saw my first ever attempt at a levitation.

Nothing like a good book // 03 02 13

The actual theme for ‘abstract Tuesday’ was smoke.
Treated myself with my birthday money to a 1:1 macro lens. It was love at first click.

Pink Carnation // 06 02 13

March

March saw a lot of low key work. Probably influenced by the fact it was still dark outside, so it was easy to create dark shots and the fact it was another style to tick off the list. I can remember taking the asparagus shot and being really pleased that my flash guns attached to the studio light stands … and then bashing my camera quite forcefully lens first down onto the table. Both camera and lens were fine, although I did have palpitations whenever I used my camera for about a week after.

Asparagus // 27 03 13

Salt & Pepper // 25 03 13I also, started work on one of my year targets, which was to take more portraits.

The Guitarist // 16 03 13

April

The ‘first’ for April was wire wool spinning. I got myself into a bit of a flap about it wondering if I would set myself on fire, but it turns out that it’s not as bad as I was expecting (still dangerous though, what with it being fire and all; see August).

Arc // 01 04 13

Edamame Beans // 22 04 13To contrast with March I tried to include more high key work this month. Still ended up shooting quite a lot of still life.

This month saw me try the opposite to the month before, and a lot of the work was high key. I still spent a lot of time photographing still life.
Vase // 13 04 13

May

Total splurge on a manual focus 30mm 1.4 lens.

From little acorns // 01 05 13

Despite never attempting any kind of photography along this vein, or even being inspired by anyone I ventured out to take my first full body shot of me.

Lost // 04 05 13

Through doing this though I did end up spending a lot of time at other peoples self portrait work, and ended up stumbling across a lot of fine art / surreal work, though lacked the confidence to try anything like that myself.

Stationary // 08 05 13

June

June for me marks a big turning point. kB persuaded me to do surrealist June after I had probably bored him to death showing him surreal / weird photos that I kept looking at on Google. He’d been mentioning it for a while, but I kept insisting that I wasn’t a good enough photographer, nor good enough in Photoshop to do it at all.

Weirdly, I went for that attitude to the attitude of ‘I WILL DO IT EVERY DAY FOR A MONTH’ and this ‘surrealist June’ was born.

Out of Reach // 01 06 13

I can remember thinking around about day 3 that there was no way that I would be able to keep up this amount of editing for a whole month.
Turns out I could.

Wizard Eyes // 02 06 13

Not every shot was a winner, and some (about 3) were posted and then hidden/deleted because well. Just no.

Storm in a teacup // 14 06 13

Some shots were more digital art than photography but it was a massive learning curve and for this I thank kB for persuading me to do it 🙂

July

Having enjoyed editing so much I decided to carry on with it for as long as possible. I didn’t manage to do a whole month of it but I kept at it as and when I could; trying new things all the time.

Bleak // 22 07 13

Doing a photo a day for three years leaves you needing to grasp photographic opportunities as and when you can. Getting to this field was a bit of a mission, and it was over looked by a farmers field so I was a bit wary of being shouted at, but I’m glad I got there and did it!

Fields of poppies // 03 07 13

I was still working on portraits too, although I think by this time I’d realised that I wasn’t too bothered by black and white photography in general.

Silent determination // 18 07 13

Some of the surreal work took a turn for the … weirder

Sharing thoughts // 15 07 13

After we broke up for the six week holidays I decided to embrace the time off and get up super early to photograph the sunrise. I broke my lens this morning; my parasol got stuck around the leg of my tripod and the whole thing went down lens first into a rock. Same lens as earlier in the year. This time I was not so lucky.

Hysteria // 30 07 13

August

I decided to embrace August by going outside of my comfort zone and posted online that I was looking to work with people (not models) to create some shots.

Untitled // 04 08 13

I was contacted by Photography Week to ask if they could use one of my shots in their magazine…

The pastel shades of summer // 19 08 13

I spent more time in August creating ‘nice’ shots rather than just weird shots (still had the weird shots though!), including a rare appearance of both me and kB.

Of a captivating summers day drawing to a close // 18 08 13

I went wire wool spinning again with some photo friends, and decided to plonk myself in the shot. I promptly go singed.

Of watching life flash before your eyes // 16 08 13

At the end of the month I went on holiday to France, so pictures ahoy there! My mum is adamant that she was in this shot and I edited her out (something which happened last year) but that is not true. She was behind us! That’s my dad in the shot.

The Lighthouse // 24 08 13

September

This month was quite mixed in terms of style.
Catching the wings of fallen angels // 04 08 13

Abandonment // 27 09 13

It also saw my first ever attempt at focus stacking.
I just stopped by for a drink // 02 09 13

October

I made it to the front page of Flickr for the second time.

Autumn! // 06 10 13

I also became somewhat concerned about the nights drawing in so made sure that I made the effort to go out and take shots outside when I could.

Out of place // 19 10 13

Halloween!

Down in the woods... // 04 10 13

Disconnected // 30 10 13

As above, so below // 31 10 13

A lot of my favourite shots from the year were taken in October and November.

November

Sparkle // 05 11 13

Not a lot to say about November really. It was in November that I decided I would buy a new camera next year. I was also taking advantage of the fairly OK weather and getting out as and when I could.Trapped // 03 11 13

Mother and Baby // 22 11 13

I also realised that my studio lights could be used in the garden…

Condolence // 28 11 13

December

I started to get a bit of cabin fever in December. I’m not very good at stopping in the house at the best of times, and there is nothing I love more than wandering around with camera in hand – even if it is only a 30 min trip out. I felt a bit trapped and really started to get fed up of having to shoot indoors. I also had a week or so where I had man flu so I couldn’t be bothered either.

By candlelight // 10 12 13

Nothing like a nice warm cuppa (pt 2) // 13 12 13

Sheffield City Hall // 17 12 13

Christmas : ) // 24 12 13

In terms of photography 2013 has been an amazing year. Another 365 in the bag, but also lots of other achievements from a learning and business perspective.

Bring on 2014!

What a year! : )

Reflections // 01 01 13Fitting to have the first image I took this year as the image for the post : )
Reflections // 01 01 2013

I feel this is going to be one of those posts that I work on and keep coming back to.
As I write this, the year is far from over (well OK not that far) but I have been thinking about an end of year post for a little while now. I tend to be a bit vague and wishy-washy when it comes to actually announcing stuff, but if I am going to be honest I have had a very good year. I have far exceed my expectations beyond any kind of wildest photography dreams and it has left me wondering what the future, or more specifically 2014, will bring.

I never started out to make money from photography. I only bought an SLR because I’d tried to do a project 365 on a compact and got frustrated that I couldn’t create bokeh (the out of focus light in the background) or do macro work as close as the pictures I saw on the internet. It was just a hobby and it kept me out of trouble ; )

This year I’ve registered as self employed and I’ve been doing a lot of work for a lot of different people; selling images for people to use on their websites, being in an art gallery, weddings, corporate shots, various portrait shoots, band photo shoots, featured in journals and magazines ….

I will do a review of Project 365 2013 at the actual end of the year, but I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all those people who have supported me this year, it means a lot and you know who you are : )

If you want to have a look at my Project 365 collection you can do so here on Flickr. I am so excited about 2014 will bring (It will bring my fourth Project 365 I have decided on that!).

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2013 // Project 365 & Beyond

2013 will mark the third year in a row that I have taken a picture every single day. Assuming its successful completion of course 😉 At some point in the year – I *think* it’s around the end of September, I did work it out last night but I have forgotten! – I will have taken a picture every day for 1000 days. Which sounds impressive if nothing else!

What can I take from 2012?
Life wise: don’t get too bogged down with work, it is after all only a job. Take time for yourself and enjoy life. You can be confident enough to walk around in a bikini top. Lots of exercise saw to that in August, I need to get back on the exercise on January 2nd. This should also help my knees which have got progressively worse as the year has gone on. They now hurt more or less all the time, and I can’t sit cross legged for longer than a few minutes without being in pain for the rest of the day. I probably need to go to the doctors about this. I’m scared of doctors though so the likelihood of this happening is slim, but I should go.
House wise: I finally feel settled in the house. I think that getting the kitchen completely overhauled has helped in this as the downstairs is now completed redone. I’d like to see the bedroom and study get decorated this year, but with KB finishing off his PhD we will have to see.
Photography: around August of this year I had some sort of epiphany in terms of photography, and my images got dramatically better. I’m not too sure what happened, but if I am to guess I’d suggest that work had been really bad and I finally got fed up of it and decided to take more time for myself and the things I enjoy. I created this blog too in November, and I just want to say thank you to everyone who has interacted with it in some way 🙂

What can I do better in 2013?

  • Make sure that work doesn’t get on top of me
  • Make sure that I start the exercise early and stick to it. Where possible don’t drop off doing it in September like seems to have been the pattern the last few years. Keep at a constant low level routine. Zumba once a week, pilates twice a week.
  • Read read read, experiment experiment experiment, learn learn learn. Stick at it with the photography. I’m excited to see where I will be in terms of skill this time next year

Photography emphasis for 2013
When I think back I see 2011 as being the year I learnt the camera, and 2012 as being the year I learnt how to execute the capturing of a successful photo. There is still a lot of room for improvement though. I’m not suggesting I am amazing at photography, merely that I have improved dramatically over the last two years.

For 2013 I want to focus on black an white, candid shots and portraits. I also want to try and make my photos more artistic. I want to make sure that I take at least one photo with me in it every month, and at least one photo with KB and myself in it (I want this to be where the artistry comes into play). I’ve prepared a big list of places to go and ideas for photographs, so hopefully I wont get too stuck for ideas.

Project 365 Advice
Be organised – don’t end up with too much of a back log of unedited/un-uploaded photos
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself for the quality of photos – bad shots are to be expected
Be prepared – keep a list of ideas for shots you can make around the house, useful for those days when you just are not inspired or can’t really be bothered
Don’t give in – it’s a big ask of yourself and some days you will wonder why on earth you are still doing this to yourself, but the rewards are worth it so stick at it
Support is key – get your friends involved for ideas and motivation, or join a group for support. There are plenty on the internet, with Flickr hosting a vast number of project 365 groups (including a small one I made for support)
Follow others taking part in the project – not only will you get the support from them, but can also ‘lend’ ideas from them 😉

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