2011 - Where did that go...?

18th December 2011
In planning a hit list of places to go and things to photograph in the course of 2012 recently, I was prompted to think over the high and low lights of this year. I hadn’t made a wishlist of photo targets last year as the spectre of continued unemployment really meant that there was no way I could back up those plans with hard cash, so travelling and staying in far flung places to exercise the photographic muscles simply wasn’t going to happen. After some hard graft, the problem of income was sorted, to be replaced with the problem of time – there doesn’t seem to be any option, other than a lottery win, that gives you both the cash to indulge in a favourite pursuit whilst simultaneously giving you the time. That also happens to be the same reason I’ve offered my Good Lady for my inability to finish decorating the hallway at home, so maybe there is an upside too...

On reflection though, the made-it-up-as-we-went-along list of locations during 2011 doesn’t read too badly and, as we more often than not made long weekends out of the deal, there was a lot more besides mere photographs to enjoy in the process. There was a lot of winter last year, with even the East Anglian region getting way more snow than was generally considered to be good for us. While being both beautiful and enjoyable, albeit in a masochistic sort of way, you have to get snow photos very right or they end up looking a bit gray and unhappy. Ideally, low early sun combined with deep, crisp and even virgin snow on a sparkling clear and very cold day needs to be coupled with an unusual view of a familiar subject. The grey cloud and decidedly used snow that I managed to capture over the winter period didn’t make it past the editing stage so there is actually very little to show for several cold days behind the tripod. Not a good way to start the year.

Thankfully, that was the low spot, and the results picked up a bit from then. To fuel acceptance of some large canvasses at the Snape Gallery, I spent several cold but fulfilling mornings leaning over the banks along the Alde. To contrast previous red mornings at the same location, these enjoyed vital electric blue skies, richly reflected in the river with the rushes forming silhouettes in the foreground. They went down very well on the walls of the Gallery and the association was very successful from my point of view. Fingers crossed for a return in 2012.

Trips to Cornwall, the Canaries, Derbyshire, mainland Spain and Yorkshire followed across the summer months – some of which I’ve written about in these missives. For some trips, the camera was secondary to being there, but for the most part it was the reason for choosing the location. In all cases there was a range of great places, good light and happy sessions to be had. Not one trip was upset by the weather and the photographs that came back from each reflected just that. However, having made the time to go away meant that all the things that needed to be done that weren’t because of the trip still needed to be done when we got back. In turn that meant that, having taken several hundred images over the summer months, the backlog in editing them into a consumable form is taking forever – I still have photos from foreign sessions FOUR YEARS ago that still haven’t made it through editing. Eeek!

One of the biggest surprises, and successes, of the year to date has been the interest in very large canvasses printed individually from my images. Working with the Snape Gallery started the process, but other people have come to me completely independently to ask how large these things will go. Standard size is now 36” X 24” (thats 3ft by 2ft), although the next size down is not to be sniffed at either. However, the largest have recently been installed into the reception area of the local gym – and the two images measure a massive 54” X 36” each. I had assumed that the limit would be the resolution of the print – and thats probably true. I had also assumed that such a large picture would be a bit soft in the critical areas – but I was wrong on that one! Even standing with your nose pressed against the canvass there is no evidence of pixelation or softness – amazing! Lets hope for a few more of those in 2012.

Have a very Happy Christmas, a positive and productive 2012 – and for goodness sake – get out there and shoot something!

Graham

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