Looking back on 2012

Without any question 2012 has been a good year for me photographically speaking; a year which had a number of highlights, so please forgive me for some self indulgence in the next few paragraphs.

Let me start by selecting my favourite image of the year. It would be all too easy to pick Sand Waves, as I have enjoyed a lot of success with this image during the year.  However it was actually taken on a course with Bruce Percy in September 2011 and therefore it doesn’t qualify. So it has to be this one – Storm approaching East Head (shown below). I just love the sky and the last of the afternoon sun lighting up the dunes before the rain arrived. It’s perhaps no coincidence that I decided to use a crop of this image to be the header for my forthcoming website.

Storm approaching East Head

Storm approaching East Head at Wittering

So what happended during the course of the year? Well, at my camera club back in May I was awarded four end of season trophies – Winner of the ‘B’ league for both Prints and Projected Images, the Most Improved Worker and last but by no means least the Best Projected Image of the Year – Sand Waves. As a result this image appeared on the front of this season’s programme. Fame at last! The consequence of this success was to be promoted to the ‘A’ league for all club competitions and I could now look forward to competing with the ‘big boys …. and girls’!

Havant Camera Club Programme

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At about this same time I found myself taking, or to be more exact, converting the vast majority of my images into black and white. Did the success of Sand Waves inspire me to take this course or had it been happening sub consciously to me for some time? In truth I don’t know but its now very rare that I take and like a colour photo, as entries on this blog will testify. Am I therefore now a black and white photographer? Well I can’t answer that one either, but for the moment I have found a branch of photography which I really enjoy and over the next 12 months I want to learn more about what makes a good monochrome image and how to use post processing to produce the best results. I recognise that I have a lot of work to do.

Sand Waves

Sand waves on the Isle of Eigg

June was the month when I embraced technology and more specifically social media. As a relatively private person I was not sure about this at all but at the beginning of the month I decided to start a blog, this blog. I had never done anything like it before but several months later I am pleased that to have made the effort. For me its been a great way of recording what I have been doing, expressing some of my thoughts on this hobby of mine and I guess a way of showcasing some of my work. In the same month I also started uploading images to my Flickr account. Primarily it became an easy way to add images to the blog but inevitably I started to join in with the Flickr community, sharing comments and hoping that someone might think one of my shots as a ‘favourite’ of theirs. The statistics for both these online sites are readily available but more of this later. I also created a Twitter account – @ar_frost and started tweeting. Not sure what my family thought, but its a bit of fun if tweeted, sorry I mean treated, correctly! I am currently working on the design and content of my own website which I hope will be ready to go live during the early part of 2013. It will incorporate this blog, so effectively be a one stop shop for my photography and ongoing journal. The domain will be http://www.alanfrostphotography.co.uk so watch this space!

At the end of July I attended a ‘People and Places’ photography course at West Dean College in West Sussex. It was an excellent week and it definitely cemented my committment to black and white. It also gave me a reason to finally bite the bullit and buy the Olympus OMD EM5 micro four thirds camera. I had already bought the Olympus E-PL3 and one or two prime lenses earler in the year. I was so attracted to this format that the OMD had to be added to the kit bag. Its a great camera. Sadly the Nikon D90 DSLR which was my first serious camera purchased about 3 years ago is not getting much use and I need to decide whether or not it should be exchanged for other micro four thirds lenses. The temptation to go full frame is also there, but I’m not sure the capital outlay can be warranted. We shall see.

Olympus OMD EM5 with one part of the battery grip, Lumix 20mm f1.7 prime lens and Olympus 45mm f1.8 prime lens

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One of my favourite images taken on the course – Fork or Fingers?

Fork or fingers?

In August I had my first and very modest public exhibition of my work at the Bizzare Bazaar, a local  event to raise funds for a new Church Hall in my local village. When I volunteered it was to give visitors something else to look at, never dreaming that I would sell any of my prints. Shock, horror(!) – I sold five prints and I was delighted to donate the proceeds to a good cause – The St Peter Project.

September soon arrived and the camera club season was underway again. At around this time I thought I would enquire about seeking a distinction either through the Royal Photographic Society or the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain. I opted for the RPS Licentiate Distinction and on 2nd December I went up to London for my panel of ten images to be assessed. I passed! I was and still am delighted. My aim is now to work towards the ARPS (Associate) distinction in 2013.

In November our club hosted its National Exhibition and three of my images were selected. Sand Waves (yet again) recieved a Highly Commended from the judges. This and Sea Swirl have also been chosen for the annual Southern Photographic Federation exhibition in Salisbury which starts on the 5th January, but that’s 2013 I hear you say. Yes, but the selection was made in 2012 ;o)

Back to statistics. I mentioned in an earlier entry entilted ‘Early Thoughts’ that it would be all too easy to get addicted to stats, how many views, how many hits etc, but it is a way of measuring traffic and I guess, interest and popularity in my work. As I intend continuing this blog I would like to be able to look back in 12 months times and see how the figures compare. So I have noted down the figures and will look at how they compare in a year from now.

As at today the most popular image on Flickr is ‘Full moon over Swanage Pier’. It’s also the first photograph to appear on Flickr in ‘Explore’.

Full moon over Swanage Pier

Thanks to all of you who have visited this site or looked at any of my images on Flickr, particularly if you have added a constructive comment which is always welcome.

With my very best wishes for a peaceful and healthy New Year.

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