2014

2014

Can you believe it, it’s already been a year? As has become traditional I like to end the year with a review of the year, in a manner similar to almost every other website, blog, TV show or anyone else with an interest in reflecting on the previous twelve months.

2014 has been a pretty good year in terms of my development as a photographer so it should be an interesting look back.


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January

January started with a belated review of 2013. Usually I release these annual roundups on New Years Eve but I spent a chunk of my time off last winter with a lovely cold and I missed the deadline by a few days. This was followed up by 2013 in Pictures, another traditional annual post containing my favourite images from the year, organised according to a random number generator (previous versions had been broken down by month, but I decided I liked the idea of the images being all jumbled together). A third traditional post followed, my yearly ‘end of Xmas’ image. I’ve taken a photograph on that theme many times over the last few years, dating back even to before I started Creative Splurges, but this was the first year of any of them appearing on this blog following the closure of the Daily Photo towards the end of 2013.

Eventually the month picked up a bit, and I started posting some more traditional content, starting with some photos of our then-new kitten Freddie (who has continued to be photogenic), a little detour for this blog’s birthday, then a couple of archival posts from the years previous, Still Life and Monkeys, from summer 2013 and October 2012 respectively. 2014 would serve to be a year of clearing what in January I was still calling a ‘backlog’ but soon started referring to an archive to remove the impetus to concentrate on those images over any new material.

January is often a month of experimenting at home with photography, and this January was no exception; I set up a mini product shot space in my kitchen and photographed both a red pepper as a trial to produce an image for our kitchen, and some of my photography equipment for my kit page.

January would prove, as it often has in the past, to be one of the more productive months of the year.

Picture of the Month:

1/160, f/2.8, ISO 200, 100mm

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February

Compared to January, February was much, much quieter. Considerably quieter, in fact, as there was only one post outside of the January roundup. The post was an archive post (and at this point I had started using the term ‘archives’) from almost exactly a year earlier that I hadn’t gotten around to editing or publishing. If there’s something I struggled with quite a bit in 2014, it was shooting new material – which helped in shrinking my unpublished archives down throughout the year.

Picture of the Month:

1/80, f/5, ISO 200, 150mm

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March

Simply put, in March I failed to post (again, save for February’s monthly review, which I don’t really count in such things). This is only the second month in the almost four years I’ve been posting on Creative Splurges that that’s happened and it hasn’t happened since – and on this occasion it’s not like I slacked off; in March I was busy shooting and editing, it was just that the fruits of that work wouldn’t be published until April.

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April

A stark contrast from March, April contained a bunch of posts, and they were all shot in or around March. The first was Freddie’s first foray into the outside world, which was also one of my first opportunities to use the L lens I bought in October in anger. April also contained a post with a single impromptu image, which is something I love to post but don’t really do often enough. The remainder of the month was given over to three posts from a trip to Mercedes-Benz World at Brooklands: Mercedes-Benz WorldDrifting AMGs and 2007 McLaren Mercedes. I used to be quite adverse to making several posts out of a single trip, but I have since concluded that when I have a lot of images I want to share it is far better to split things out into more manageable chunks grouped in clear themes than make one long and harder to digest post (I don’t have statistics to back this up, however).

Picture of the Month:

1/50sec, f/11, ISO 100, 250mm

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May

May only contained two posts, but arguably they were two big ones. The first was Greenwood Dance Show 2014, a set of images I took at the Greenwood a month or so earlier. The big thing about this was that for the first time, I was being paid to be there (my previous visits had been at the request of a friend). I delivered a few hundred images to the student society that paid me, and was able to see the reactions to some of them when they were pasted up on their Facebook page, which was great.

The other post of the month, Hipsters in the Wild, has significance because it was the first photo walk I’ve been on with strangers. Sadly I’ve not been on any further walks this year, but I’m hoping to change that in 2015.

Picture of the Month:

1/200sec, f/4, ISO 2500, 24mm

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June

June was a bit of a mixed bag of posts. It started out with some people photography, moved on to an archival set from Woburn, then several new experiments in long exposure photography, a semi-archical post with images from the start of the year featuring another mini-foray into street photography, and some home experimentation in food/action photography. All these added up to make June the second busiest month of 2014, and marked the start of my fascination with long exposure shooting.

Picture of the Month:

59sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm

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July

In July I quietly implemented a posting schedule for this blog. I had hitherto resisted from the idea, worried that such a move would increase the quantity of posts at the expense of the quality. This was in part why I kept the change quiet, so I could try it out for a bit without publicly committing myself to a set day to publish something. I decided to get a post out every Tuesday, pretty much an arbitrarily picked day but it felt right. As you can see from this chart of posting patterns, from the point in mid-July when I posted Zebras, Giraffes and Rhinos, Oh My, I’ve managed to post every Tuesday with only a few hiccups.

Screenshot 2014-12-31 21.43.43

July also saw the return of the ‘random gems’ post type, something I’d effectively stopped using when I had The Daily Photo to publish those sort of one-off images I produce from time to time. Also in July, I visited Canon UK’s HQ in Surrey to play about with some very expensive toys and form some financially unobtainable dreams.

 

Picture of the Month:

1/1000sec, f/4.5, ISO 800, 70mm

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August

So yes, I did miss a week in the first month of my new posting schedule. That’s part of the reason I didn’t publicly proclaim my intentions until I’d let it bed in for a while. I started well enough with a post on the first Tuesday of the month – a nice little set of images of Freddie shot at home when I was supposed to be doing something else, but then missed a week. The following week was a bit of an unusual post, as I published some timelapse videos of me building a couple of Lego sets, shot using my Triggertrap. These were videos, however, and so they didn’t do that well – videos on this site don’t ever seem to get much attention, for whatever reason. Clearly I should stick to photography.

Picture of the Month:

1/1600sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 100mm

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September

Things were largely into the flow in September. Aiming to post every Tuesday had managed to create a situation where I was working to create content rather than putting things off because I didn’t have a schedule to stick to. I still was doing some post-filling tactics, such how I opened September: with Instagram #18, my first Instagram post since January. To be fair I was on holiday for the first two weeks in September so the post was scheduled a way in advance. The next post, however – Lego Ecto-1 – wasn’t quite finished by the time I left the country so it was actually completed on the complimentary wifi in a hotel in Switzerland.

The posting schedule, however, helped encourage me, when I got home from my European road trip, to pull together a taster post of some of the early standout images from the tour in time for the Tuesday following my return. I realised early on the images from the holiday would be broken up into a number of posts so I quite liked the idea of giving a teaser for the images to come. I treated them a bit differently, not giving EXIF info and instead giving simple captions and no explanation of the photos, knowing this would all come later in the ‘real’ posts. September also featured another instalment of Random Gems.

Picture of the Month:

IMG_1779

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October

Although I’ve suggested that my posting schedule was a big old success, technically it was only in October that I successfully published a post on every Tuesday in the month. I’m particularly pleased with this as October is often the month of the year when I start flagging. It contained a bit of a mixture of posts, including the first two posts from my tour of Europe, another fortuitous trip to London Fashion Weekend (my third, in fact) and another post of experimental photography, in which I used my Triggertrap to capture party poppers in the act of being fired. The latter is something I will return to in 2015.

Picture of the Month:

1/320sec, f/9, ISO 200, 11mm

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November

With my posting schedule pretty well embedded, in November I started messing about with things a bit, first on purpose and then by accident. When I realised had over a dozen posts worth of content from my Europe holiday, I decided that I might sometimes post them in addition to my usual posting schedule. When I realised the second Tuesday of the month was Armistice Day, I decided that it would be the ideal day to post the shots from our visit to a military cemetery. This meant I needed something for the first Tuesday, which ended up being another Instagram post. I should really note that although I currently tend to use Instagram posts as filler, I’m still proud of the quality of images that they contain – I wouldn’t post them if I weren’t happy to show them off.

With my next post from the Europe tour only containing ten images, I decided to post it on Friday, just so that I didn’t end up with posting nothing but holiday photos for twelve consecutive weeks (that said, the travel photographs have brought in a fair amount of follows and traffic). Another post from the tour followed – this time making it into Switzerland – and then came the accidental breaking of the posting schedule. For my birthday Holly and I spend a couple of days in Swanage, and I wanted to get the images I took on that trip out on the following Tuesday. Unfortunately it took longer than I planned and although in the past when I’d missed a Tuesday I’d left it to the following week, this time I went ahead and posted it on a Thursday. You know, just to keep everyone on their toes.

Picture of the Month:

13sec, f/22, ISO 100, 24mm

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December

December was by and large unashamedly full of images from the Europe holiday, which I’ve now typed so often already in this review the words are losing their meaning. There were four posts in the month, the first three being on-schedule Europe trip posts taking us from the shores of a Swiss lake, over the Alps and back into France. The final post of the month, and 2014, was a day-late post which was some Christmas-related shots of bokeh that I posed on Christmas Eve. Technically there should have been another post the day before New Year’s Eve but the latter stages of December have presented me with some computer troubles and left me unable to edit pictures, which is a pain, but it only developed when familial Christmas obligations meant I couldn’t get the issue dealt with properly. There’s probably an Apple Genius appointment in my future for early 2015.

Picture of the Month:

f/5.6, ISO 100, 20mm (HDR)

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2015

This is the point in this reflective that I look back at what I hope to do in 2015, as well as what I hoped to achieve in 2014 and how I stuck to it. Despite the fact that I’ve not read the equivalent of this paragraph in 2013’s roundup since shortly after I wrote it, I’ve somehow managed to achieve my meagre goals for 2014. Back then I talked about getting back into a routine (something I took to the extreme by having a routine posting day), posting content people wanted to see (the images from my holiday, suitably tagged as ‘travel photography’, has fitted that bill, and I also got some great retweets of some of my images), and getting my backlog down (which is now down to a couple of trips of images, although this does include over 4,000 images from my 2012 summer holiday I will get to eventually). And on top of this, I achieved so much more than I could even have hoped back at the start of 2014, including getting paid to shoot a show at the Greenwood, returning to London Fashion Weekend, and getting to visit Canon UK’s HQ and play with some great toys. I’ve also ended the year playing with some of those toys on hire, the fruits of which I’ve not been able to edit yet (silly computer).

So, 2015. What do I hope to achieve over the next twelve months? I’m pretty impressed with the 50mm f/1.4 lens I’ve been playing with over the Christmas break so I might try to find a way to buy one of those, depending on how much I miss it when it’s gone. I’m also planning to get back into my posting routine after losing track of things a bit over Xmas. I’ve still got a fair amount of images to edit, and I’m also planning on a photography trip in January with my friend and occasional collaborator Catherine. I’m also determined to go on more group photography walks and shoot with some new people for a fresh perspective. These all seem pretty achievable, so lets throw in returning to the Greenwood as a paid photographer for a second time (during the later part of 2014 I distributed some leaflets to groups using the theatre and set up a webpage for them – it’s had a pretty modest 31 hits to date). We’ll see – hopefully the Dance Society at least ask me back.

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

Here’s an excerpt from this year’s report:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Last year I only had 3 subway trips of views, so that’s a pretty decent improvement year-on-year. Click here to see the complete report.

To 2015!

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2 Comments

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  1. Interesting variety of photos.

    Like

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