New year, new start
The year 2006 has been a mixed year for my photography. On one hand, it has been very successful. My knowledge, skills and confidence have grown immensely. However, it’s also been a difficult year as I’ve had various personal situations which have stopped me taking photographs and promoting my photography as much as I would have liked. Saying that, things are becoming easier again and I am leaving 2006 on a high with several promising projects on the go.
I went a good way to achieving a lot of my goals set out for 2006. I went on a mountain skills course during the spring, which greatly improved my confidence in the mountains, and this winter I am attending a winter skills course to enable me greater range to venture out during the winter too. I also entered more photography competitions during 2006 than during any previous year. I may not have won any, but I did come close!
Best photograph I took in 2006 – Falls of Falloch, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Scotland. I was in Scotland during February 2006 taking photographs, but the weather wasn’t always great. That morning, it was very cold but there was little snow and it was quite overcast, so I decided to take a trip to this waterfall as I had heard that it was a great visit. However, the best viewpoint was beyond some ice-covered rocks where a small rapid could act as the foreground with the main waterfall behind. So, I scrambled over the slippery rocks, trying my best not to fall into the freezing water, or slip and break my leg or my camera. In this instance, the risk was worth it as I got the photograph I was hoping for with no injury to myself or my equipment.
Best bit of kit I bought in 2006 – Apple MacBook Pro. Despite this purchase not being completely for my photography, it is this laptop which made the biggest impact on the way that I work this year. Having this laptop has enabled me to effectively take my office away with me when I go on photo assignments. So many hours, and sometimes even days, are spent on location waiting for bad weather to pass, but with my MacBook Pro I can now work as I wait. This has enabled me to increase my productivity and at least try to clear my ever-present admin backlog while away from home.
Best book I bought in 2006 – The World’s Top Photographers – Landscape by Terry Hope. I love discovering new photographers, new portfolios that inspire me. I can spend hours scouring the internet searching for websites with great galleries as all sorts of photographs taken by all kinds of photographers inspire me and can teach me more both about photography itself, and about the subject contained within the photograph. This book gives a taster of 38 landscape photographers from around the world with a small handful of photographs from each.
Best lesson I learned in 2006 – I was fortunate enough to spend some time photographing with Charlie Waite during the summer, who is a huge inspiration of mine. He is a fantastic and generous man and he taught me so much; too much to write in one small paragraph. But the biggest lesson I came away with was that a photograph sits better, feels instinctively “right”, if you don’t break the horizon. Try it for yourself. Take one picture of a tree where the top of it sits underneath the horizon (mountains or hills in the distance) and another where it breaks over the top. Even if you can’t explain why, the one where the horizon is not interrupted is the one that everyone says they prefer.
My Photographic Resolutions for 2007
The following are the photography-specific goals I am setting myself for 2007.
To submit a book proposal – I have had a desire to see my photographs in a book ever since I realised how much I enjoyed taking photographs. This year I plan to take this dream one step further by submitting a book proposal.
To hold a local exhibition – This is a resolution that I am carrying over from 2006. I looked into the possibility of holding a local exhibition a little while ago, and am going to put forward a proposition to my local art gallery in the coming weeks.
To enter more photo competitions – I was very successful in the photo competitions that I entered during 2006, despite not actually winning any. I came very close in one, just missing out on a wining place, and this has kept up my enthusiasm to keep me entering more during 2007.