As I write this I’m just two or three pictures from completing my first years 365 project. So I thought I might look back with nostalgia over the year which pretty much flew by.
December – My equipment consisted of a Panasonic FS4, as big as a medium-sized matchbox, my software included photoshop-7- but really I didn’t know how to use it. The Robin picture sums up where I was at last December – except it doesn’t I cheekily cropped it and made it brighter this afternoon – he was lost in a patch of empty snow.
January – I picked this one out of 1.5 gig of pictures because it has a naturally occurring light leak and I grew to love – much to my followers chagrin – such lomography-style flaws on my pictures – often destroying perfectly good pictures with flares and sickly colour tweeks. This is a macro – using my FS4, on my way to work in the morning light. Really a type of photo which dominated the first half of my project.
February: Well over 2 gig of photos taken in February – practice makes perfect. Still using my FS4, with a growing knowledge of photoshop and some lovely bright days – my photos develop. Countryside still dominates, and ‘pretty’ scenes.
It represents two things. I began to gather followers on the 365 project website – most of them from the dominions, more recently known as Canada and Australia. And I became interested in portraying my locality - and what was for me – its fascinating history. Industrial architecture, cotton industry, mining, bad housing – to represent the North of England to the world. I also began to understand photoshop. At 3 gig of photos taken, March might represent my career high!
April I discovered HDR, and a few other bits of software. Looking back I think I began to lose interest a little in the project. My FS4 was still going strong but 1.5 gig of photos and most of that heavy processing and duplicate images – The work was hotting up on my MA so I began spending more time writing.
May saw a miserable holiday in Marrakech. If I needed any more proof that I loved where I lived, and in fact – that it is the best place to live, in the world – this was it. Osama bin Laden ‘bought it’ as they used to say, much to America’s enjoyment – and I cowered in a Muslim country which smelt of wee, trying not to look American.
Oh to be in England…or Wales – where this was taken. 2.2 gig in my June file says that I got about a bit and took lots of pictures. I really got to grips with Oleneo HDR software, which is why I picked this picture to show. HDR does fancy things with the highlights and darks to make a really super picture (RSP) which is what it should be called. I was still loving my local area and using the Panasonic FZ7, a step up to an SLR style superzoom. My FS4 sadly had passed on to the scrap heap in the sky.
July represents a change in my photography. I began going into Manchester more and really discovering what a great city that was. Armed with my FZ7 and various friends who’d agree to trawl around the place I snapped buildings, railway stations, busy squares and trams. This panorama is a hugin-HDR picture of Piccadilly station.
were taking up arms and marching the streets during the night to make up for the sheer lack of enthusiasm the police initially showed as our cities were invaded…invaded! If I hadn’t learnt to love Manchester this year then I would now. Apart from my politics momentarily veering over to the right with shouts of ‘Hang them all!’ ringing around my house – I also made a habit of getting into town once a week to take some photos and have some lunch and a general mooch around. Joining book clubs, writers groups, writers courses and a walkers organisation in Manchester this year also encouraged me to get in as much as possible. This panorama and the one above were done on hugin software which stitches four or five pictures together to give this format. August though only saw 500mb of pictures taken and marks a low point in pictures.
The music festival in the Northern Quarter – Like August not many pictures taken, but since I had a camera phone – new this month – I was able to snap whenever the desire took me. The 600mbs I did take were processed through pixlr-o-matic and photoshop.
In October I did two things, I asked for volunteers on my Facebook page – looking for people who’d let themselves be victim to my photography. Basically I was tiring of buildings and streets. Heritage has had its day, there is only so many mine shafts and terrace streets. It even felt as though I was running out of Manchester scenes. I wanted more journalistic pictures, more street scenes full of people, more portraits and exciting things. At over 2 gig of pictures I was back on form - the reason: Well I had a dream I owned a Canon DSLR, and when I woke up I was sad…so I went on ebay and bought one! Yey.
I know you only saw this picture last week, but it represents November. The first of my facebook volunteers – and a change in tack for me. It’s tough taking portraits and people shots, or I found at least – it requires a bit more bravery and quicker thinking. I began shooting on manual this month (the success of the whole year really – going from a point and shoot compact to shooting manual on a DSLR) I purchased 4 lenses this month and dug a couple more out of my own film camera collection and bought a Pentax ring adapter so that I could use them all on my Canon. My camera bag became quite huge and I felt as though I finally knew what I was doing. 12 months have gone by and maybe you can’t see my progress from these 12 but if you could browse the sometimes huge - sometimes not - files on my hard drive you’d see that my output has changed. I have learned to not overwhelm my pictures with post-processing, and I am looking for light effects and compositions which I know will make a good picture. I’ve taken 2.5 gig of pictures this month with my Canon
Feel free to take a look at my other 350 odd pictures in what has become a diary of the year. This is another challenge ticked off the old 101 project too. Feel free to comment below if you have any feedback. http://365project.org/chewyteeth/365