Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Twelve takes on 2012

2012 has flown by. Now into the final few weeks of the year and it has been a blur on all fronts.
Photographically I have set myself all sorts of challenges this year, from learning new techniques with off camera flash to getting to grips with using 10 stop filters.
This year the blog and website has really got off the ground as well. This has been a great motivator for getting out and getting new images and to really try and improve the quality of what I have been producing.

Ansel Adams is famously quoted as saying “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop” I’m not sure I could claim to have produced any ‘significant’ photos but I thought I’d share twelve that have stood out for me in 2012.

Climbing at Portland, maybe not the most dramatic of images but for me it was a step forward with my climbing photography. This was the first photo shoot properly set up on a separate line. It opened up a new world of climbing perspectives.

A trip to Chamonix in February proved very fruitful both with action shots and mountain landscapes.

Another shot from Chamonix - We were skiing on the Flegere side of the Chamonix valley with zero visibility in the thick cloud. For a brief moment the whole valley started to appear and the mighty Aiguille Verte loomed out of the cloud. I took a series of shots using the tree in the foreground to provide depth to the image and draw the eye into the scene. Two minutes later the cloud came in again and the stunning scenery disappeared for the rest of the day.

April herelded the start of the rain which was to be the main feature of the predicted summer of draught. This shot of the Severn Crossing was taken amid rain showers and high winds. It took some time to remove all the water droplets that were on the lens in photoshop. It was dark enough to get a long exposure without additional filters. Later in the year i bought a 10 stop filter to make this effect possible on sunny days.

The Lake District continues to be a favourite of mine for photography. The overcast june days worked perfectly with the classic rowing skiffs on the edge of Derwent water. 

Summer time and this year there seemed to be a prolific number of poppies in the fields. I broke from my trend of black and white images to try and capture the fields that were bursting with colour.

July and back in Chamonix again - I took this shot as we were heading up the Glacier du Geant just as dawn was breaking and to our relief so were the clouds. There was a stunning contrast between the rugged, jagged peaks and the dawn light casting across the smooth glacial snow. We went on to summit the 4000m Dent du Geant later that day.

Another shot from Chamonix this time on the Forbes Arete, Aiguille du Chardonnet. It was incredibly atmospheric in the swirling cloud and mist, not to mention terrifying at times. I was certainly glad I had the camera with me to help capture our epic 18 hour climb!

Another foray with colour, this time with the aid of 'off camera flash'. Photographing the Bristol Bikefest was a great chance to experiment with the flash and some action. I was pleased with the results but feel there is a huge amount more to learn on that front.

More climbing photography but this time combined with making a short film about Holcombe Quarry. It was a stunning evening but I was worried that the only way I could photograph the route would mean shooting into the sun. It turned out the lens flare added great effect in both the photos and video. A lot more experimenting with photo/video adventure slideshows to come next year!

Sea Cliff climbing at Chair Ladder in Cornwall, a great adventure. I took this photo as we were preparing to abseil down the route. We couldn't see the bottom and it felt pretty intimidating. Once we were on the route everything relaxed and I got some great shots.

November and my first trial with a Lee Big Stopper, 10 stop ND filter. A lot of the long exposure images you see are of water as it smooths the surface to great effect. However i thought the movement in the clouds with this image gave an interesting dynamic feel to the landscape. I think i'll need to invest in a sturdier tripod though especially on windy days. Looking forward to using this filter a lot more.

So that's the round up of my year in twelve pictures.

Imogen Cunningham once said “Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow.” If this year has been great for photography I’m sure next year will be even better. That favorite photo is just around the corner.

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