February

1/50sec, ISO 500

I often seem to start these monthly reflectives with some sort of faux exclamation of surprise that another whole month has passed by. Usually with February, however, the surprise is genuine. It’s amazing how much difference having three fewer days makes to the length of a month. I suppose it also helped that I spent the last day of the month conked out under the influence of a potent sedative, which I’ve talked about a bit on social networking sites since it happened as it scrambled my brain. I don’t actually remember most of the posts I made, one of the side effects of the sedative.

February wasn’t a bad month here on Creative Splurges. January was a bit admin-heavy, with only a few content posts; February, meanwhile, has been much more about new things. For me, it felt like I found my stride again in February. In January everything seemed a bit arbitrary, posting more out of obligation than anything else. In February, I was enjoying myself again, having drawn a line under my backlog and deciding again to approach it in the order that felt most inspiring, rather than clinging to any notions of chronology.

February was also an atypical month in terms of content as well, which proved to be both pleasing and stimulating.

1/30sec, f/3.5, ISO 5000, exposure bias -2.0, 20mm

The month started with a comparatively new set of images, from a trip to Somerset House last November. This was the result of a quick trip with friend and colleague Catherine of CJ Trigg Photography. I’m pretty pleased with the images I got; it was quite a challenging environment to shoot in, what with the darkness and the colour of the lighting and the security guards. I particularly liked the moodily-lit shots I achieved in the basement levels (which still might have a technical name but I remain unaware of what that might be). I released the images under the London at Night banner, branching out the series into more specific trips (along with my trip to Covent Garden, which also posted earlier was actually shot later). I haven’t actually seen Catherine’s images yet for any comparison, she is suffering from a similarly hefty backlog to mine. It’ll be interesting to see what she got (it is quite difficult to phrase that without sounding like I’m trying to guilt her into posting her shots).

Chilly

My second post of the month was another Instagram set. I’m up to fifteen Instagram instalments now, and am still snapping plenty of content to keep going for a while. I have a completely separate Instagram backlog that I’m working through (although I don’t regard every image as worthy of posting), so I’m now attacking it in the same way as my normal backlog, and picking and choosing images in whatever order appeals to me the most. You can always follow me on Instagram if you don’t want to wait. I’m pleased with the quality of this set, ranging from earlier in winter (the image of my wife to the right) to the recent bout of snow we’ve had in the UK which led to a resurgence in me using Instagram.

1/100sec, ISO 400

The next post is one of my favourites, and for me a very pleasing return to the old style of this blog. One Small Step in Astrophotography saw me finally using the telescope I got for Christmas. I set it up in my garden one clear evening, spent maybe an hour or so outside experimenting in shooting in a way I’d not done before,  and then came back inside to get it all posted the same day. It’s been a while since I posted such a true ‘creative splurge’ and it felt good. On top of that, seeing Jupiter and the Galilean moons was a truly amazing experience, the first time I’ve seen such a thing with my own eyes. 

1/125sec, f/3.5, ISO 400, exposure bias -1.0, 100mm

One Step was followed by a very similar post, Snowflakes. Admittedly posted the day after the images were taken, it was otherwise quite similar to the preceding post: a handful of shots of something I’ve not photographed before, packaged together quickly and posted without too much pointless waffling. One thing I’ve realised with posts I’ve been gradually working on or planning over several months is I start to talk them up a bit, and inevitably they end up being comparatively poorly received.

I’m still astonished at the quality of the snowflakes that landed on me. I was also glad I as able to grab a shot of one of them before it melted or my train arrived. Slightly surprisingly, Snowflakes proved to be more popular than One Step; the former courted 21 likes compared to the latter’s 17.

dinosaur2My final post of the month was a rare departure from photography to showcase some of the doodles I’ve been doing recently. By my count it had been over six months since I last posted some doodles, when I posted the two images I drew of Mr Supremo for a short story my wife wrote. Throughout the history of Creative Splurges, I’ve only posted four doodle posts, and each has used a completely different technique. The first was just over a year ago when I posted a handful of scribbles I’d drawn on my iPad with a stylus, using the Sketchbook Express app from the good people at AutoDesk. They were basic scribbles from a free app with few brushes, but more drawing than I had done in a long time. My next drawing post came in April when I released a scan of a traditionally hand-drawn comic I had drawn some twenty years earlier and completed entirely in pencil. And so, in July last year when my wife asked me to draw a character to accompany a short story she was working on for her blog, I combined the two and hand-drew Mr Supremo on paper, before scanning him into the computer and digitally inking and colouring. In More Doodles I came back around to the start, and did drawing on my iPad again in a new app called Paper.

One of the doodles in More Doodles was Feltosaurus, above. It’s become quite an important image; it’s ended up on a mug that my wife loves, as well as stickers and a tote bag. More about that will likely follow later in March.

Mug

Feltosaurus also inspired my wife into a creative splurge of her own, making a felt version of him with not but a few sheets of felt, some stuffing and thread.

Photo 02-03-2013 22 35 40

I should really license it or something – every time someone does a creative splurge of their own, they’ll owe me a quid or something. Sounds enforceable and entirely above board, right?

Doodles was the last post in February. February had an assortment of posts, a lot of which had a decent number of likes. Despite this, stats for the month were down – Creative Splurges only had 279 hits, the lowest for a single month since December 2010. I suspect that may be due to the lack of any gallery-based posts in the month.

The Daily Photo has, like most months, been continuing as ever, and has now posted every day since January 1st 2011 – 427 posts and counting. Stats-wise, however, it continues its downward trend, even as it pulls in a decent number of likes. It only had 104 hits in February, continuing its decline and the lowest month in its history. I’ve talked on occasion about shutting it down, but as long as it keeps attracting new followers it’s not something I’m likely to do. The lack of hits doesn’t concern me too much; the blog is designed to not need to visit it to see each day’s photo.

Speaking of followers, The Daily Photo now has 139, and Creative Splurges has finally passed the 300 follower mark and has 301.

So what do I have planned for March? Shooting-wise, my third trip to the Greenwood Theatre will take place in a little over a week. My second trip there, meanwhile, just needs to be written up. I also had a few very interesting trips in February which I’m looking forward to sharing.

The most important thing is I feel I’m back in my groove a little, although I do find myself struggling at the writing stage of posts sometimes. Hopefully as I continue to write more and clear that backlog of mine the words will free up a little more.

Thanks, as always, for reading.
Rob

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