Screenshot 2014-01-05 00.00.17

2013 has been an interesting year for me, and as is traditional I end the year with a roundup of what happened in the, er, year. There really aren’t many synonyms I can think of for year. Someone should look into that. Normally I post these on New Year’s Eve, but life and sickness have put paid to that this time. Still, better late than never, as the old adage goes, which is all well and reasonable for most things but not so good for more serious stuff like heart transplants and fire engines.

2013 has been a year of ups and downs and roundabouts, with all sorts of random shooting trips, life, and backlogs affecting things. Ultimately I’m pleased with the quality and the variety of the content of the year, so let’s just dive in and take a look at the last twelve months.



January started with a flurry of 2012 reflectives. I’d published my 2012 roundup on New Year’s Eve, but January 1st saw posts on the pure stats of the year and a big selection of my favourite images too. It was the 3rd of January before I’d completed my rundown of December and ten days after that before I posted my first real new content of the year, shots of my first trip to the Greenwood. A note on this blog’s second anniversary, a quick boast-post about some new toys and a post of shots from all the way back in the previous summer rounded out the month.

January 2013 was notably quieter than January 2012. During the 2011/12 Christmas break I could barely sit still; the weather was great and I was constantly shooting or writing. The 2012/13 break had a lot more lethargy and I simply didn’t work as much (and to be honest, the 2013/14 break has been even worse). All of the stuff I posted in January was from December at the latest, July at the earliest. I barely shot anything over the break so I didn’t have the sort of small experimental posts to show off like I was hoping to. Still, with all the reflective posts and a monthly review January had seven posts, which technically gives it the highest post count of any month in 2013, even if only two of them were true new content posts.

Picture of the Month:

Ah, lights. This must be a theatre shot.



I was still struggling to hit my stride in February. I was able to continue my London at Night series with London at Night: Somerset House, a set of images I’d shot only two months previously. I also filled the gaps a bit with Instagram #15, which is is actually one of my most recent Instagram posts. I’m definitely due another one of those. The post that followed, however, remains one of my favourites on this blog: One Small Step in Astrophotography. My wife had bought me a telescope for Christmas, along with all the bits and bobs required to attach my camera to it, and this post marked my first successful steps into astrophotography. Not only was I able to get a frame-filling shot of the Moon, but I got some shots of Jupiter and its own larger moons. It was quite a moment for me. I’ve not been able to replicate those results since; I tried photographing Saturn later in the summer but had trouble picking it out and the results were no good. I was hoping to be able to photograph comet ISON in December but the Sun killed it before I got a chance. My sister-in-law lives out in the country away from streetlights and city lights, so I should really take my telescope down there one day.

That post was followed by a quick aside to show some snowflakes I’d photographed on my coat. I love those short little posts containing something small and new, I don’t do enough of them. Snowflakes was actually shot whilst on my way to London Fashion Weekend, but it would be several months before I posted the results of that trip.

I closed February with something a little different for once, a set of doodles I’d been drawing over the preceding month or so. It’s not all that often I post some content that isn’t photography so it was nice to make a change and show off some of my other hobbies.

Picture of the Month:

1/50sec, ISO 500



March 2013 was quite a bit quitter that March 2012. I only published a few posts, none of which were particularly topical. The newest post of the month was the first, from my second trip to the Greenwood to shoot Fame in January. The second was a bit older, from a trip to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park before Christmas. The third was much older, from early the previous summer before the Olympics had even started.

This would become somewhat of a theme for 2013, with months sparsely populated with posts containing photos from months previously in a hopeless attempt at catching up with a backlog of images that I’m sure I’ve been mentioning now for over 18 months and which is still, at the start of 2014, many thousands of images in size. Despite this I was very pleased with the quality of the images I was posting, and ultimately that is my primary goal. The days of going out shooting during the day and editing and writing them up in the evening are ones I miss, and wish to return to, but for now expediency is my secondary challenge.

Picture of the Month:

1/60sec, f/4, ISO 6400, 25mm



April was even more sparse than March. It contained only two posts: a long-planned portraits post, and small Instagram set (which is the most recent set to date). There was still quality over quantity, however: Some More Portraits was many months of photographs and weeks of writing making it quite ridiculously long (over 4,500 words, in fact, which dozens of images) and Instagram #16 contained nine Instagram shots that I’m really quite pleased with.

Despite this, two new posts is less that I’d ideally like to see in a month. Sadly, April would not turn out to be alone in being so light.

Picture of the Month:

1/125sec, f/3.5, ISO 800, exposure bias -0.33, 18mm



By contrast, May was quite a more active month, despite the first post coming over three weeks into the month. At the start of May we adopted a couple of kittens, and that proved to be quite a bit distracting. I at least photographed them quite a bit, and ‘opened’ May with a post introducing them to the world. Only a couple of days later I posted a set of month-old photos from my favourite haunt, Swanage, that I’d been working on alongside the kitten photographs. Whilst I’d been working on those two posts, a bee had come along and distracted me in my study, prompting a quick post of the couple of shots I took of him, one of the few times I’ve snapped a few pictures and straight away posted them (one of the main ones being my earlier astrophotography post, which was in fact posted on the day the images were shot).

I closed the month with a series of shots of a bluebell invasion near my sister-in-law’s house. With that, it was four posts in five days at the end of May. When I have a lot of posts ready to go I tend to delay releasing them so they’re published at least a day or two apart, because I don’t like compressing posts like this. But with an otherwise dry month, I went for it this time.

Picture of the Month:

1/2000sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 21mm



I returned to quietness in June, with only two posts in the month. This time I’d focussed on editing the thousand plus images I’d taken at London Fashion Weekend and posting them, which turned out to be quite a bit time consuming. I also spent a week on holiday in June, further amassing a bunch of images that still aren’t entirely edited. Such is the way of things, I spent a fair amount of time on the post, and was pretty pleased with it, especially the pictures, and it only garnered seven likes and no comments at all, part of the reason that I stopped paying much attention to such metrics in 2013.

The only other post of the month was another distraction, as I posted a few shots of a squirrel that showed up outside my window as I was editing the Fashion Week shots.

Picture of the Month:

1/640sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, 135mm  |  ©2013



July was a month dedicated to processing a lot of shots from my holiday in Cornwall the month before. For me it was one of the strongest months of 2013, thanks to a kitten post, several short experimental posts and a return to the Greenwood, bookend by some strong Cornish material. The first post of the month, Boscastle Pottery, remains one of my favourite posts from this blog. For once this is correlated in the stats, the post is one of my most viewed ever, behind only Borough Market and some of my longstanding static pages (that said, it only got three likes and no comments). This is one of the few times in my life I’ve had the courage to ask my wife to help me ask someone if they minded me photographing them, and because I was allowed where the public don’t normally go I felt really privileged and like I was for once getting some shots that not many people would get. My only regret is that the potter wasn’t making anything particularly interesting at the time, but I’m sure I’ll find my way back there at some point and hopefully the proprietors will recognise me (I did sent them copies of all of the images once I was back home).

This was followed up by a small experimental post as I shot a sunset in HDR out of my window, ironically as I was processing some similar shots from Cornwall. Not long thereafter our kittens were finally let out of the house, and I followed their every movement with my camera to try to get some decent shots of them playing. I managed to get some pretty good action shots, so I was pleased with that, and as it contained kittens the post got a bit more attention with sixteen likes and some comments. Whilst I was out shooting that, I came across an old bike I’d seen before, and had another go at photographing it, which came out much better than the time before. I held off posting this until I’d published my latest batch from the Greenwood, and then closed out the month with some Cornish sunsets.

July was definitely a better month. It wasn’t just the quality of the posts, they were also reasonably spaced throughout the month and I got some engagement back too, which was nice because at the time I still cared about it.

Picture of the Month:

1/50sec, f/3.5, ISO 800, 21mm



August was a slightly more typical month. There were four posts, one of which was a shorter one, and of varying subjects from various places. The first was a trip to the Hawk Conservancy, which yielded some great shots and some very mediocre ones. This was followed by a post in a very similar vein, from Crane Park. That post is notable as was beginning to use colour filters a little more to bring out some life in some of my images. I then published a post from my Cornish archives, a photographic exploration of a retired lifeboat at Land’s End. I closed out the month with some shots taken by the railways near me but nobody seemed to like them, which was a bit of a shame to me as I’d always loved the subject matter and still dream of exploring it further.

By this point there was a logical progression to my posts, which was both great but also a curse. I had intended on getting my Hawk Conservancy post out sooner, as I’d visited with family who were keen on seeing the images. But as I’d used techniques taking photos there that I’d learnt at London Fashion Weekend and refined at the Greenwood Dance Show, I felt that in order for me to post the bird images I’d have to post the three in chronological order to show my development as a photographer. Which is ostensibly the reason for this blog’s existence. For most of my other posts, I’ve literally been posting whatever content the mood took me, which is a nice varied way to keep content coming, if you ask me.

Picture of the Month:

1/20sec, f/4, exposure bias -2.0, ISO 160, 24mm



Something went very wrong in September. This was the month that life finally caught up with me a bit, and although I may have worked on images and written a few things, I published no content to Creative Splurges in September, save for August’s monthly review. I did, however, keep The Daily Photo ticking over, although I missed a day or two here and there.



Although I managed to get September’s review out on the first of the month, it was another seventeen days before there was any new content on this blog. Frustrated with myself for letting there be a no-post month, and determined not to let life defeat me, I buried myself in editing some of the larger posts in my backlog. The first week of the month my landlord was refurbishing our kitchen, and I was effectively bound to my study for a whole week. In that time, even accounting for procrastination and helping out occasionally, I was able to edit over 2,500 photographs (down to much less than 2,500 photographs, fortunately). When things returned to normal I set about writing things up, and the first to be published was my fortunate return to London Fashion Weekend. I still feel pretty lucky to have been able to go twice, and should the opportunity to apply come round again in February I’ll see if I can go three times. Why not?

This was followed by a post about one of my proudest moments of the year, as I returned to the Greenwood to see the fruits of my work up on the walls. I hasn’t brought in any work yet but I did at least get contacted by a proud parent asking for a copy of the image containing her daughter. This is the point where I start considering how much I do for free as a hobbyist photographer and where I cross the line into at least semi-professional.

The only other post for October is another favourite, Food, Glorious Food, containing some of the food-based shots I’d done lately. I don’t do much still life like that so it was great for something approaching product photography (that is, you know, actually marketable as a skill) to go so well for me.

Picture of the Month:

1/250sec, f/5, ISO 200, 52mm



November is July’s only real contender for strongest month of the year. It started with London in the Evening, a set of images I took whilst out shooting with a friend at the start of October. This was followed by one of the fruits of my big edit week, The Big Cats of Woburn, containing shots from October 2012 which should give you an idea of how behind I am with my backlog. Then came one of my more recent shooting trips, to the Moscow State Circus, in part to try out the new lens I bought in October (spoiler: I love it).

Finally, one of the more popular posts of the year, Random London closed out the month with some impromptu shooting I did on the way home from work one day.

About halfway through the month, I gave up posting on the Daily Photo. It was becoming such a chore to keep up, and I felt it was interfering with work on Creative Splurges whenever I did have the bug to work. I had been hoping to at least limp over the checkpoint at the end of 2013, but when I missed several consecutive days I realised its time was up and left it be. I still might return to it, but only when my head is in the right place.

Picture of the Month:

1/320sec, f/4.5, ISO 250, 115mm



December returned to being a great struggle, as my mind and body began to give up on 2013 and start looking ahead to 2014. As a result, the month only contained one post of new content, World of Model Railways from back in June and my trip to Cornwall. On the 11th of the month I went on leave from work, and for the following three and a half weeks I’ve done nothing productive, trying to recover from 2013 and get myself in the right frame of mind for 2014. It hasn’t worked as I hoped, because I was hoping to get bored of being at home doing nothing and get on with editing, writing and if I had the time and the weather on my side, shooting, much like the year that saw the founding of this blog and the following year that saw a period of great activity. Unfortunately it’s turned out like last year, in which I did very little. I maintain that if that is what has happened it’s because my mind and body have needed it, and it’s taken several attempts at getting my cogs working to even get this post completed (which is why it’s being published comparatively so late into 2014). Once I’m back to work my intention is to get back into the swing of things, because 2013 took a bit too much out of me in terms of routine and good practice.

Picture of the Month:

1/160, f/5.6, ISO 5000, 135mm



Much like last year, this is the point in this reflective that I look back at what I hope to do in 2014, as well as what I hoped to achieve in 2013 and how I stuck to it. Perhaps perceptively I didn’t expect much from 2013, only to publish a new portraits post (which took until April), do ‘a lot more’ astrophotography (I managed ‘a bit more’), and to get some business cards printed and distributed (which I did, not that it’s let to much yet, but it’s early days still).

So what in the heck am I going to do for 2014? My big priority is getting back into routine. 2013 ended with a few months of poor habits and so I need to recover the routine that saw me get home from work and sit at my computer, not in front of the TV. I used to be so good at that, but it’s something I’ve lost. Sitting writing this has helped; the next step is to get back into editing images and posting content that people want to see. I was hoping to make some leeway with my backlog during the Christmas break to no avail, but I’m still optimistic that 2014 will be the year that I finally clear this backlog of mine. Foolhardy, some might say. Eh, I can but try.


Also around this time of year, WordPress automatically generates a 2013 annual report for this blog with a bit more statistical analysis.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

To 2014.

2 thoughts on “2013

  1. Some excellent and very diverse images a superb resume of your year – I enjoy the fact you will take on any subject but from this summary I like the May and June shots the best – enjoy your photography in 2014 Rob.


    1. Thanks Scott. I’m quite proud of the fact I’ll take on just about every facet of photography, although I suspect some might see it as being unfocussed (no pun intended), a jack of all trades. I don’t particularly care, if it interests me I’ll shoot it.


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