Well, that was August. I learnt yesterday that with the end of August comes the official end of summer. I was pretty surprised; at no point has it felt like summer has ever truly started. Even in the grotty climate of the UK you usually have a point when you don’t need to look out of the window in the morning and wonder, ‘do I need to wear a coat today?’
It’s still been a memorable time, if not what I feel comfortable calling a memorable summer. Hard Rock Calling and the Olympics were thoroughly enjoyable even without the added bonus of the photographic opportunities, and the images I was able to get were inspiring to me at least. The Olympics, of course, were a special case in themselves; enough even to warrant a special Olympic Roundup post akin to these monthly reviews early in the month. It was also significant enough that I dropped all of the other images and posts I was working on to concentrate on getting my Olympic event photos out as quickly as possible.
I’m not going to bother retreading in much detail over the Olympics posts earlier this month, because I think I covered them pretty well in the roundup post. But let’s go take a look at the month and how it shaped up.
August feels like it has flown past. After posting that Olympic roundup to close out my Olympics ‘coverage’ (I like calling it ‘coverage’ because it makes me sound important), I returned to the images and posts I had been working on prior to the onset of the Games. I quickly realised that blaming the Olympics wasn’t going to be that easy, as some of the shots I hadn’t yet posted dated all the way back to early June, six weeks before the Olympic Torch came through my part of the country.
For the most part, the posts I publish on this blog are in chronological order. Since the concept of this blog is following my development as a photographer (I am now at the point where I do, from time to time, describe myself as a photographer, which is a major improvement in my confidence if nothing else) I often find posts – even the most disparate ones – follow on from each other in terms of my learning curve and trying and developing new techniques. I often refer back to previous trips where I first tried or realised something, which becomes difficult when that trip is still on my hard drive. Plus, it also helps me keep track of what I’m doing.
Sometimes, however, I take quite a lot of photos in a small space of time, and find myself with numerous posts to work on. And when that happens I can sometimes get distracted by the more interesting or significant sets and forget about the smaller ones. That’s happened quite a bit this summer; I went out shooting most weeks and racked up quite a few images, initially in the interest of dislodging the creative fog I was mired with in early summer, and then in the exhilaration of having freed myself of that tyranny. I also shot a number of smaller sets during my Olympic chasing which didn’t fit within the context of the posts.
So when I returned to my images after the Olympics finished and found hundreds of images that either hadn’t been posted or, in some cases, not even processed, I set about working through them all, identifying the trips and sets that hadn’t been published yet and working out how many posts worth of images there was. When I finally poked my head back out and started looking at posting (and don’t for a moment think that means all of those images are now processed, because they’re not), somehow nearly two whole weeks had passed. How did that happen?
When faced with such a backlog of posts, I sometimes change my traditional posting style. With so many images piled up, it become easier to join sets thematically, so, say, two separate trips where I used a lot of macro might be joined together in a single post. The obligation to post them chronologically is also lessened, giving me the temptation to arrange the posts in order to give more variety. Still, I’m currently attempting to post everything roughly chronologically.
So, the post-Olympics hiatus was broken with amongst the oldest of my unposted material, some shots from the Twickenham Jubilee Festival at the beginning of June. At the time, mired in that creative block I still find myself mentioning often, I wasn’t all that pleased with the images, which is why they didn’t get processed earlier. Looking at them with fresh eyes, I was quite pleased with them, and fortunately I remembered enough of the event to write a ‘full’ post for once, rather than the shorter post style with a gallery I used so much during the Olympics. Whilst processing these photos, I discovered an adjustment option in Aperture called Sharpening, which I feel I should have been using since the beginning. It adds an extra level of crispness to some of the images, and it’s such a very useful little tool I think I may need to go back retrospectively and look at applying it to some of my older images.
After the Jubilee post I turned to one that should really have been published a lot sooner. St Margarets Railway Bridge was a post that was actually written and ready to go when the Olympics started, but as I got so engrossed in processing and turning around the more topical posts from the Games. I was also reluctant to publish it as it was in the same gallery format as those posts and I like to try to mix things up a bit (I also feel guilty because the gallery posts tend to cause hits for each photo). The railway bridge post contained a lot of HDR photography, something which I am doing more and more. It was warmly received too, garnering 13 ‘likes’ (my main measure of success). It was also a bit of an interesting point in my photography; it was one of the few times I scoped out the subject, planned at least one shot in my head, waited weeks for the right conditions, and made the trip solely to take a handful of photographs and then go home again. Actually, when I put it like that, it’s the only time I’ve done that. But it is one of the few times I’ve put so much effort into a shoot.
The final post of the month was an Instagram collection. I often feel guilty posting these too, because they are relatively quick and simple to put together and contain shots that already exist. I suppose, then, that I should feel even guiltier that I hadn’t gotten around to posting the images in Instagram #12 sooner. Still, I’m pleased with the quality of the images in the post, they are some of my favourites. That said, my next Instagram post is already virtually good to go, but I intend to hold on to it for a while – consecutive Instagram posts are not something I like.
August, then, has been a bit of a lopsided month. It started strongly with five posts (excluding July’s roundup) before the mid-point of the month, but then had a near two-week break whilst I buried myself in processing images, before closing out the month with three strong posts. I’d prefer a more regular posting schedule, but I like the ad hoc way I often go out shooting, and I don’t think that forcing myself into a schedule is going to do much. Plus, if you like a schedule, that’s what The Daily Photo is for.
Speaking of the Daily Photo, it’s still going strong, although I did miss a post yesterday. Like the last time that happened, I made two posts today and backdated one of them. The blog is also maintaining its impressive ‘like’ record, with near enough every post receiving at least one like (and last month a post hit sixteen likes, which is close to a record, I think). Statistically speaking, the blog had 251 hits for the month, not bad but definitely still a decline from July’s total of 280. It was, however, enough to surpass 5,00 all-time hits, with the total currently standing at 5,218.
As for Creative Splurges, August had 937 hits, half of July’s total but still the second highest since March. That total is again helped by the amount of gallery-based posts in the month boosted the count a bit; I doubt September will be anywhere near that high.
Looking to September, what can you expect? At my last count, there were well over a dozen posts in the pipeline from the images I’ve been going over, which are in varying states of completion. Some of them are almost ready, some still need a lot of work, some are completely unprocessed. I can’t guarantee you’ll see all of them in September, but I would like to clear that backlog sooner rather than later. As for new photo opportunities, September will (finally) be time for my summer holiday, which I expect to come back from with a fair handful of photos. I don’t have any other planned trips for the month, but that hasn’t stopped me before.
I’m still living off of the high of the Olympics shooting I did at the opening of the month. It’s threatening to wane a little as I trawl through my old content from the last ten or so weeks, but I have no intention of returning to the doldrums of a couple of months ago. I’m still enjoying my shooting, and the editing, which is the important thing.
Thanks, as always, for reading.