October, Over

The inexorable march of time continues, and we have now made it most of the way through the year. It’s hard to believe that we are now in the twilight of 2012, with the end in sight. Don’t worry, I still have some low-grade alliterative titles for the rest of the year’s monthly reviews all ready. You can probably guess what they are, because frankly they’re terrible. I’m sure I’ll revise the titling scheme in the new year.

So, October. It’s been a relatively quiet month, in terms of the number of posts – tied with May for the fewest in a month for 2012 – but I seem to have gotten the balance right of quality over quantity. Of the five posts in the month (excluding September’s review, posted on the first day of October), the least popular post had 12 likes, and the least discussed post had 7 comments. It wasn’t that long ago I’d have killed for that sort of reaction. More importantly, I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the posts, which matters too. I can’t say I was confident that the month’s posts would be well received – I’ve written before on my astonishing inability to foretell the reaction to anything I publish, but I was proud of the posts, and is a really good feeling.

The only downside is that none of the images posted in October were taken in October. Some were taken in September, which is pretty close, but some date back to August, which, as that was back when it was warm and still technically what was passing for summer this year, it feels like an age ago. I’m still working through that backlog I seem to keep mentioning, and am using the opportunity to pick and choose what posts to work on next to present them in a more interesting order. It has meant a few more ‘Quickies‘ than usual, but that isn’t really a bad thing, is it?

The first post of the month was a short one called Hello Little Spider. These images are amongst the newest images posted on this site, taken in early September. It was quite a nice little post, shot right outside my front door with some really rather nice macro shots of the spider of the title. One of the things that I’m most pleased about with the post, however, is the quality of the writing. For some reason, the writing in the posts in October flowed a lot better, and felt a lot more natural. I’m not sure why it was – if I knew that, I’d find it a lot easier to write posts the rest of the time. Hello Little Spider was quite unexpectedly popular.

My next post was Country Sunset, an experimentation in HDR sunset photography. Since discovering the Photomatix HDR plugin for Aperture, I’ve been playing more and more with HDR photography, and I think it has now gotten to the point where it is something I’ll try instinctively, rather than a technique I know of but keep forgetting about. However my HDR processing has since taken a bit of a break lately, as I discovered the superior HDR plugin HDR Efex Pro 2 last month, and haven’t gotten around to purchasing it yet (it’s on my list for this month, honest). This has been part of the cause of the delay to my Tenerife images, which contain a bunch of HDR images that Photomatix just can’t handle.

Looking through the post, the one HDR Efex processed image stands out amongst the other, Photomatix created ones like a burning cat. I’m really pleased with the end result of that sole image, but it does make the rest of them look a bit poor by comparison.

Following Country Sunset – with a bit of a gap, I admit – was one of my favourite posts I’ve published on this blog. Bubbles was actually shot on the same day as Country Sunset, but that’s about the only thing they share in common. Bubbles is notable for its collection of pretty decent images of people, of a quality I don’t think I’ve ever showcased before. I also, for the first time, got the hang of fill flash, albeit inadvertently. I’ve since been on a training seminar on the use of flash so hopefully I will start making better use of it in future.

Bubbles was also really well received; fortunately as it had people in it they were quite keen to share it around a bit too, which always feels good. It was initially a difficult post to write; it wasn’t quite a portraits post, not quite a objects post and not quite an event post, so it took a little while for me to wrap my head around it properly. I must’ve got the knack at some point; a lot of the comments about the post was about the quality of the writing, which for me is great because the images were really good too. It’s always frustrating when you’ve got great images but a badly written commentary is letting them down, and indeed vice versa, a well-written post is often forgotten if the images aren’t up to par. As I mentioned earlier, most of the posts this month have had good images backed up by a good commentary, which was hitherto a rarity. Hopefully that will continue in November.

After completing Bubbles, I set about writing my next post, which was originally London at Night (Part IV). After I’d finished it, however, I decided it would work better if another short post sat between the two, so I wrote Hot Chocolate and published that first.

The images in Hot Chocolate were taken at the tail end of September, making them the latest images I’ve posted. They are also, for reasons I remain unable to fathom, amongst the most popular I’ve ever posted. The 19 ‘likes’ the post received makes it, I believe, the most liked post since that other one. There were 10 comments too. 19 likes and 10 comments for a post containing four images seems like great value to me, I just wish I understood why it garnered such a strong reaction.

Spiritually, Hot Chocolate shares a strong kinship with September’s Preparing Dinner; they’re both sets where I’ve dropped what I was doing to photograph some food instead of eating or cooking it. A couple of pictures here and there, and then I’m back on with what I was doing. It is almost akin to product photography, something else I’d like to try that I’ve not had much chance to play about with yet. I’m planning to shoot my kit and update my kit page at some point as a practise run. Hopefully the fact that my brother-in-law has suggested some work (actual, proper work) could be thrown my way by the small company he works for. You know, hypothetically. It’s entirely likely nothing will come of it, but I want to be a bit ready just in case.

On that note, I was also surprised to hear that I was being considered as a wedding photographer based on the quality of the photographs of my niece. Again, I fully expect them to chose someone else, but to even be considered is amazing in itself.

Conscious that the month had precious few days left in it, I published London at Night (Part IV) the day after Hot Chocolate hit the presses. It marks, as the name would suggest, the fourth time I’ve wandered around London with my camera after the sun had set (the fifth if you include London in Twilight). I think it’s my most successful to date; the shot of the Houses of Parliament to the left is now one of my favourite images, and I was very glad to be able to get shots not just of landmarks but of people too. That set wasn’t the last you’ll see of the images from that trip, the rest were a bit of a tangent so will get their own post in November. Now winter is pretty much here, I hope to hit London in the dark a bit more, and hopefully get off the path I’ve been treading for the last few London at Night posts. Catherine has expressed interest in shooting Somerset House, which could be interesting, and I’m thinking I need to head along towards the Shard and Tower Bridge as well. It’s not like London is lacking in opportunities.

That was the last of the posts from October. Like I said, there wasn’t too many posts this month, but with each post getting at least a dozen likes an inspiring a few comments, I’m happy with the tradeoff.

The Daily Photo has also experienced a strong month. Obviously it has a post a day, which I’ve managed to keep up with successfully this month, so there’s been no difference in quantity, but a decent number of the posts have had over a dozen likes. I’m not sure why, and as ever any ones I expected to do well – such as Caramel Nougat, one of my favourite images – didn’t fare as I’d hoped. Just yesterday, which admittedly is technically in November, The Daily Photo got its 100th follower. A month or so ago in one of my monthly reports I expressed an uncertainty about what to do with the blog. I had even contemplated canning the Daily Photo entirely at the end of the year. But with 100 followers (more if you include followers of the Creative Splurges twitter feed), most of whom do not follow Creative Splurges, I really can’t just shut it down. I still sometimes find it challenging to keep up with posting an image daily, and it seems to be more time-consuming than it should be to add an image and a simple caption, but having such a successful month and so many followers certainly encourages me to keep it around.

As is customary, I also like to take a look at the stats for the month across both of the blogs. Creative Splurges had 403 hits for the month, an improvement on the 319 from September but nowhere near the 1,833 or 935 hits from July and August respectively. The Daily Photo had 359 hits, finally reversing the downward slide the monthly figures have been on since March’s Freshly Pressed spike. This was helped mostly by a couple of instances of someone looking through the archives, causing over 170 hits between them. Not that I’m complaining. 359 hits makes October the most-read month on The Daily Photo since May.

It is also very customary for me to look forward to the month ahead. It’s quite interesting to compare now with this time last year, which was a low point for this blog with only one post in October 2011 and two in November. So what about November 2012? I have a few ideas for trips but little is officially planned at this point. I still have a whole bunch of images to process dating back a few months – further if you include some images from the last time it snowed in the UK back in February that I found last month – which I’m working my way through. I’m still shooting too – I shot a few thousand images in October which have joined the queue. Don’t worry, I will always be releasing images in a way that seems most appropriate, rather than keeping the more recent stuff from you until I’ve worked through the old stuff.

November also contains my birthday, in case you feel like getting me anything nice.

Thanks as always for reading this blog, and your likes and comments.
Rob

2 Comments

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  1. Love the first shot! And now in need of hot chocolate!

    Like

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