January

We’re already a twelfth of the way through 2013. I seem to recall January taking longer last year, but that, as I expounded on a little during one of my previous round ups, is all part of getting older. Which is depressing enough in itself. Realising this year marks 20 years since Jurassic Park – my favourite film of all time – was released, only makes this feeling worse.

This is all no excuse, of course, for the comparative lack of posts during January. Whilst the archives claim there was seven posts in the month, in reality there was only really two. The month got away from me a bit, and I spent a lot of the month not quite in the right mindset. Am I right now? I’m getting there.

The first posts of the month were a lot of New Year reflection. After closing out 2012 with a yearly review, I published a couple of posts, one looking at 2012 in Stats, and the other a post full of some of my favourite images of the year. I’m really pleased with the latter; it was great to see so many of my images together in a series of tessellated galleries. The former was a basic regurgitation of WordPress’s ‘year in review’ page they make for every blog.

These two posts were followed up by a belated review of December, pushed back a little in favour of 2012’s throwbacks.

With the New Year and new month reflections complete, I was finally able to turn my attention to some more traditional, new-content-containing posts.

All’s Well That Ends Well proved to be a bit of a struggle, which is all the more frustrating because I’m really pleased with the images themselves. I took over 1,000 images at the play, and spent most of December editing them down to a longlist of 340 and a shortlist for the blog post of 83. I made a couple of attempts at starting to write the post in late December, but didn’t really sit down to write it properly until early January. For some reason, the words didn’t flow forth as well as I would like, and work was slow going.

I suspect part of the reason for this was the structure of the post. Normally I run through the shooting process chronologically, attempting to tell the story of the taking of the photographs. Ultimately, however, there was one situation I was shooting in, at the theatre, and I wasn’t following the story enough to be able to retell it as part of the post. I’m also not sure it would have added much. But without that inherent structure, I had great difficulty forming the post into anything else. I forced it out in the end, but it took over a week to complete and I wasn’t all that pleased with the flow of the end result. Despite this, the images are amongst my favourites – in spite of the difficult conditions, I got a lot of photographs I’m really pleased with.

This is particularly important as hopefully one or more of those images will end up framed and on display in the foyer of the theatre in which they were taken. I went back there for another shoot a couple of weeks ago and I’m scheduled to head back there again in March in order to get more images. When the photos go up on the wall – probably at some point in the summer – I’ll definitely be coming back with a bragging post.

Speaking of bragging posts, the posts that followed All’s Well That Ends Well were both bragging posts of sorts. The first, the day after All’s Well, was celebrating Creative Splurges‘ second birthday in my usual way, with a stupid self-portrait. I always love celebrating arbitrary milestones, such as my 100th Post, but my birthday posts are always relatively low-key, in tune with this blog’s first post.

It was almost two weeks before my next post, another shameless bragfest where I celebrated the arrival of my new computer. Much like the arrival of my laptop last summer, I felt the need to highlight its arrival partly because it would be solving issues that were beginning to affect this blog (I was running out of overflow space on my laptop, and my mental state had gone on a bit of a tangent), but also because I like going “Look! New things!”, especially when there’s technical terminology to be used.

Around the same time, a made a few minor changes to this site that I didn’t highlight. I’ve set up a new email address attached to this blog’s URL – rob@creativesplurges.com – which looks a lot neater on the site and on business cards. I’ve also adjusted the site’s header image to a random selection of images, which allows me to showcase a few more images than the single monochrome image I used to use.

If you’re a fan of the ‘mouseover’ text on my images – in which I put a silly comment in the text that appears if you hover your mouse cursor over an image – then they’re not going to be as prevalent as before, thanks to a change in the way WordPress handles the inserting of images; extra steps have been added to add the text. They call it a feature, I’d consider it a bug, but the extra effort involved per image spread across the number of images per post make it a bit too time consuming, so I’m currently only doing it for the images for which I have a good enough comment to make (which isn’t many of them). Of course, if you’re now wondering, ‘what text?’, then you’re not going to be missing anything. But I’ve been adding that text to images for the best part of 18 months, so it’ll nice to know if anyone’s been reading it.

A few days after posting about my new computer, I completed the second new-image-containing post of the month, To Tower Bridge. This another post that took a while to get out; I started writing it soon after All’s Well was posted. Unlike AWTEW, To Tower Bridge followed a far more sequential order, but in this post it created more of a ‘I did this, then I did this…’ feel. It didn’t read too badly, probably better than All’s Well, but it isn’t my best work. It wasn’t exactly topical either, with the images being from last August.

Whilst reviewing my images to write the post, I realised that some of the images didn’t look as good on my 27″ desktop screen as they did on the 15″ and 11″ laptop screens I’d hitherto been using. Some looked oversharpened, slightly blurrier or had previously unnoticed chromatic aberration. This gives my long-overdue plan to go through my old photos another reason for being (the others being my old habit of not deleting any photos, no matter how out of focus, and the drastic changes in my photo editing skills over the years I’ve been photographing which could see new life breathed into forgotten photos). I’ll get on that eventually, along with tagging and naming all the images on my Flickr, which are mostly still untagged and known as “IMG_xxxx”.

Despite the comparative lack of new content in the month, January on Creative Splurges had more hits than any other months since last August, with 433. The Daily Photo, meanwhile, had a paltry 140, its lowest month ever. Viewings of the latter blog continue to decline, despite ‘likes’ and other engagements staying pretty consistent. If they continue to tank I might reconsider the blog’s existence, but for now it’s safe – I do seem to start thinking of shutting it down whenever it starts feeling like a chore to make a post every day. That said, it’s still adding followers – up to 130 and growing at a faster rate than Creative Splurges, which has 288 – which makes it difficult to can.

I’m not entirely certain yet what February holds. I have a bunch of images to process and posts to write, and a few plans for stuff to photograph. As a teaser, not every creative post you’ll see in February will have photographs in it. With my image library now all in one place, and a new demo of a HDR processor to play with (same old software, but new computer means a new trial… cough), I’m optimistic that I’ll put out more posts in February. I’ll be very disappointed in myself if that isn’t the case.

Thanks, as always, for reading.
Rob

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5 Comments

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  1. 20 years since Jurassic Park was released? That just can’t be right.. I’m getting old! (it’s also my favorite movie of all time)

    As always, I love your work and look forward to seeing what the coming months bring.

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    • Thanks Lauren. Indeed, 20 years since Jurassic Park hit our screens. I was 8 years old at the time, so it definitely had a massive impression on me.

      This actually reminded me, they are rereleasing Jurassic Park in 3D this year. I’m really not sure how I feel about that, but I know I definitely need to go see it in the IMAX. I also got the chance to screen the film as a projectionist in 2011, which was great – it allowed me to have my own private screening of a small section of the film in our cinema at work, in the name of testing the print. That was a wonderful day, handling my favourite film in 35mm.

      I think I’ve gone off on another tangent.

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      • Tangents are perfectly acceptable. =)
        It would be amazing to see Jurassic Park in IMAX! I feel the same about 3D. I’m not really sure about this trend with live action and 3D; it just gives me a headache.
        How awesome being able to work with the 35mm film.. a definite perk!

        Like

        • I think 3D is just another fad. At the Consumer Electronics Show last month, most of the chatter was about 4K, ‘Ultra HD’ TVs rather than 3D, and I hope that’s the way we go. The most immersive experience I’ve had in a cinema was when I went to see The Dark Knight Rises in the London IMAX, which was shot (mostly) in 70mm IMAX. None of this gimmicky 3D rubbish!

          Unfortunately, I can’t help but notice when shots have been upscaled to IMAX from 35mm. I hope Jurassic Park still looks good.

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          • The Dark Knight Rises was definitely a great IMAX experience.

            I’ll keep my fingers crossed for Jurassic Park holding up to the extra-large screen!

            Like

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