There must be something about July. July’s review last year was subtitled ‘how Rob got his groove back‘ and the theme for July this year has been very similar. Maybe it’s the weather, or that work is relatively quiet, or it could even just be randomly when the best photo opportunities come along, but July seems to be a time when I finally get myself back into a rhythm after struggling for a few months.
The last few months here on Creative Splurges have been relatively quiet, with only a few posts per month, well below my own unwritten self-imposed minimum of six posts. I’d done a fair amount of shooting, but simply wasn’t editing or publishing the results. I was completely spoilt for choice as to what to work on next but the abundance of choice caused me to not pick anything. When you throw in my usual complaints about low engagement, especially on the posts I’ve worked hardest on and am proudest of, it didn’t make for a positive working environment. Posting once a week was very much an ‘if you’re lucky’ proposition.
In the middle of June, however, I had a very nice week’s holiday in Cornwall, giving me a much-needed opportunity to recharge my creative juices and a whole plethora of new sights to photograph. I came back raring to go, but before the I could look at any of my photographs from the holiday I had a Fashion Show post to finish. But that was June.
The images from Cornwall I was most keen to edit were the ones I took in the Boscastle Pottery shop. The backstory of the images was one that I was proud of too, having been back on several occasions too nervous to ask to take pictures but determined to do so before the holiday was out. When I was finally allowed around I was determined not to waste the opportunity, and I’m really pleased with the images that resulted (you can tell, as one of them has ended up in the pool for the rotating banner images at the head of this site). As is all too often the way, being a post I’m proud of, it didn’t get much love from my readers (although it has had a bit of a constant trickle of traffic, and the subjects of the post have since emailed me expressing their happiness with the images).
I was on a roll, however, and in a shooting and posting mood, which is why Quick Sunset followed Boscastle Pottery a few days later. I’ve gotten out of the habit of posting quick, single image posts, usually preferring to post them on here only when there are longer, more involved posts to balance it out (and I usually like to ensure they’re posted pretty promptly after they’re taken). Quick Sunset was quite a decent little image, and a nice precursor to the post that would end the month. It was a bit of a return to my old posting mentality of firing my camera off at home, seeing what resulted, and posting it if it seemed good enough. Which obviously, it did. It may have been a precursor to the month-closing post, it the image was actually taken afterwards.
Keeping with my completely random and haphazard approach to posting orders, I took a step away from Cornwall to post a set of images from my kittens’ first sanctioned trip into the outside world. Being a post full of kittens it was well received, with sixteen likes, and gave me an opportunity to take the sort of pet pictures I don’t often get to take.
The fourth post of the month finally contained the shots from my last trip to the Greenwood back in March, which I’d actually edited and sent on to Catherine at the end of June. Still, better late than never, I’m told. Occasionally. Unlike the last two posts from the Greenwood, this time I didn’t have any expectations to the reception to the post, which is a nice mental state to be in. The next time I take a trip to the Greenwood, it should be to see some of my images up on the walls, which will be a whole new experience for me. I’m quite looking forward to it.
I followed Dance Show with another one-shot post, called Bike in the Bushes. It was a revisit of a shot I attempted to take last year but couldn’t get to work well enough to make it worth posting. It was also a post very much like Quick Sunset; a single aside image thrown out amongst a spate of bigger posts. It got 11 likes, making it more popular than the big show post that preceded it.
Rambow and Zelda’s First Excursion, Bike in the Bushes and Dance Show were all completed before any of them were posted. Such is the level of work I’ve been doing this month I’ve had the option of holding posts and spreading them out over the week a little bit. For most of the month I aimed to get a bigger post published on or around Mondays, with the smaller posts midweek somewhere.
My final post of the month was another set from Cornwall that I was eager to edit: Cornish Sunsets. I was proud of this set too; it was another time when I was visualising things as I shot them and I was pleased the images came out as well as they did. One of them might even end up printed and on the wall (that’ll be the wife’s decision).
I had aimed to get a final post out on the last Monday of the month, but sadly I ran out of time. The post I was working on – and indeed am still working on – has proven to be a difficult one to write for some reason, and so I’ve had to hold it off until next month. Still, I managed to publish seven posts in July (including June’s monthly writeup) which is the highest number of posts in any given month since January.
The Daily Photo has also continued, as it often does. It’s now hit 579 posts and every one of them has at least one like. For the tail end of July I’ve been running a ‘year-ago-today’ series of images from the Olympics, posting shots I’d taken a year previously (I’d even resorted to posting the shots a year later to the minute, according to the image timestamp, which I’ve decided is a nice touch even if no-one else will ever notice).
I’ve also spent a bit of time this month with my social media outlets, such as they are. Both the Creative Splurges Facebook page and Twitter feed now post interesting third-party links every day in addition to notifying whenever a new post is published on either Creative Splurges or the Daily Photo.
On a related note, I’ve also been tweaking the look of this blog a bit, moving most of the widgets to the bottom of the page to reduce any distractions whilst you’re reading, and adding a ‘Related Links’ section at the bottom of every post where I highlight any post I think is relevant and interesting to the post being read. It does appear to be sending people around to older posts, so that much is a success, it seems.
Speaking of stats, the Creative Splurges Facebook page has hit 33 likes, which isn’t a bad number at all. It’s also been a very successful month on Creative Splurges, with 686 hits, the most since last August, helped largely by some promotional linkage from the Greenwood Theatre social media accounts (that has also led to a big spike in hits to my Flickr, too). The Daily Photo had 134 hits, not quite as good as June but still one of the best months of the year.
It’s been a good month. I’ve finally gotten over my need to have a hit level of likes or hits or comments for posts, meaning I don’t get so disheartened when nobody likes anything. I’ve also gotten over the ‘rabbit in the headlights’ feeling when I sit at my computer to work on a post. The results are obvious, with more posts and a better variety of work in this month than just about any other this year.
Next month I’ll complete the post I almost completed in July, and keep on working on a variety of the images that are in my oft-mentioned backlog. I don’t have many shooting plans, so we’ll have to see if anything turns up.
Thank you for reading.
Rambow & Zelda’s First Excursion
Bike in the Bushes