I’ve now written a years’ Retrospective for the last few years’ past. While only my 2012 and 2011 are available, they’re a great way to reflect on the year that has been, what I’ve shot, what I’ve learnt and where I’ve improved.
The beginning of a new year. How quickly it had come from 2012, and the years before that. On getting older I’ve observed that the years tend to go a lot faster than the previous ones. Being busy and juggling the many responsibilities of adult life have left little moments in which to wish away time.
January always begins with the taking of the first Sunrise of the year. I had tried to be both social and photographic this year at New Years’ celebrations. I had a wonderful night with friends playing Beer Pong and reminiscing on the year past. After the clock had tipped over to January 1, 2013, I left quietly in the night to go home and get a few hours’ sleep before getting up and chasing sunrise somewhere.
I chose a local spot, Nudgee Beach, due to its ease of access, short drive and known subject matter. A lazy sunrise if you will, but still fulfilling the obligations I had to my mental “I must shoot the first Sunrise of the year”. (With exception of course, January 1, 2012 was rained out, so I shot sunset on Jan 2 that year).
This was my crowning shot for the month, as after that experience on the mudflats, with the mozzies, I was sworn off a Sunrise for quite some time to come. If you can imagine a buzzing swarm and myself, fully laden with gear and no protective clothing, running in the direction of the car, this is exactly how it played out.
Poor February. Little February didn’t get much action with the camera. For the first time ever, I will blame my tools.
By this time of year, I had had my D700 nearly 4 years. It had started to show the signs of aging and being a bit of trouble to me. I rarely shot for the first few months of the year, feeling limited with my equipment for the first time in a while. We just weren’t seeing eye-to-sensor anymore. Nonetheless, I pursued with my ideal of continuing to shoot, and reviving the passion (that had died a slow death) of photographing Brisbane City.
Once again, most of March passed without shooting anything. I was either equipment limited, or time limited. I did however, get possibly the best storm photo I’ve ever gotten.
It went crazy online. Milky Way Scientists shared it on their Facebook page, I had a few new buyers of the image, and I cannot count how many times it got shared around.
Wonderful, wonderful April saw me finally purchase my D800.
It was such a welcome purchase, and couldn’t have come at a better time.
I was off to Tasmania to experience my first Turning Of The Fagus Week.
The Fagus is a deciduous beech tree, short and stumpy (though sometimes and often grows into large trees) that resides in Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain and Mount Field regions. It thrives in the colder climates. During Autumn, the Fagus, it turns from Green, to yellow and then Red. It changes the entire colour of the Landscape and is stunningly beautiful and ancient.
I turned up on a whim. I had found cheap airfares and decided to see what I could make of it. The weather really threw us a curveball, slamming us with cold, wet and sleet-like conditions. But still we hiked, persevered until we (I) lost sensation in our fingers and faces, feet worn out and resolutions tested. It was probably the lesson I needed to learn: “It’s not always about taking photographs.”
Ever since then, I’ve been accepting of the fact that there is always going to be bad conditions, less desirable ones, and of course, the moments that flaw you. I was strengthened by some seasoned shooters who also showed up to this event, hiking together, joking, laughing, climbing, stretching, surviving some crazy conditions and seeing some beautiful things. It’s happening again in 2014 and I cannot wait.
Getting over Tasmania was such a struggle. I had come back late in the month with a raging flu, sniffling, and snuffling my way through the flight home in late April, it took a bit for me to get back on my Photographic feet. In late May I took a sunrise drive on a whim, to a local spot, and got some new images that I was pretty pleased about.
It was also about then that I was told of this site, where I had been featured:
The company I share on that list is truly amazing.
As winter got colder I got a little busier.
June was a month that rocked my socks!
So many successful shoots, I must have begun to get a bit cocky with the amazing weather we had here in SEQ. Here is a collection from June, though I may as well rename it to “2013” as it was probably my best month thus far.
A follow-on from June, July was a lot more spaced out, but separated with a few sunrise shoots yet again. Shooting alone is difficult when you have to source your own locations and constantly have a game-plan for where you want to be, and when. It’s about having a shot list lined up, along with a list of conditions that will take you there. I had to start coming up with a document to track all of these ideas, so that I could refer to them at a moments’ notice should I get my ideal circumstances.
I also had the opportunity to shoot something different, an advertisement, for my man's PT business. I didn't expect to turn it into something arty, but it turned out to be the highest-rated score of my entires in the International Loupe Awards for 2013.
As the colder Queensland winter set in full swing in August, I had many missed opportunities to take great foggy sunrise shots, as I was on a diet and giving it my all. I found the two hobbies were hard to mix, as often the lack of sleep caused by Photography is counter-intuitive to fitness.
Still, I managed to get out.
A day off from work and the desire to “just drive and explore” took me and a respected fellow-photographer out into the sticks around the back of Kilcoy, where we discovered an old Queensland Rail sleeper car, potentially from many many decades ago.
August also marked the month where I finally got to meet my much-respected contemporary from interstate, Ricardo. As funny and as fickle as the weather was, we managed a couple of shoots, with mixed results. It was more about the catch up and chat, I felt, than the serious shooting. Still, I managed to try some new things, whether they worked or not.
Late August, it was foretold (by weather forecasters) that there would be a severe frost in the southern shires of Tenterfield and Glen Innes. This proved tempting and I managed to head out to see what I thought was frost. I got some great dead-tree shots, and now that I look back on it, perhaps the grass was frozen after all…
I had the chance opportunity to head down to Melbourne with my mum, who was speaking at a scientific conference. Not the one to waste good accommodation, I joined in for the ride. I managed to have a great time just wandering the streets and taking in the different city styles. I met up with Ricardo again on the first day, and got to tick two iconic locations off my list to shoot: Brighton Beach and Princes’ Pier.
I also managed to wander around many streets and bridges and take in the general vibe of the city, over a few days.
Yet another month where nothing much happened.
I tried some conceptual star-trail panoramas, which didn’t work out so well.
I have little patience for night shots unless I know exactly what I’m working with, so this quickly turned from fun to frustrating, and I soon gave in.
I did have the opportunity to shoot an old location with a good friend. I got mixed results here, due to the increasing cloud cover at Sunrise and low tide. Being a little rusty and knowing this location well, I got a bit relaxed and wasn’t thinking creatively enough to get new shots.
Late October saw the purchase of another bit of precious kit, the 70-200 2.8. I’ve wanted one of these lenses since the day I realised how powerful Telephoto landscapes can be. Finally having one, it’s opening up so much more. I’m looking forward to giving it a workout this coming summer holiday.
Oh, and a falling-apart storm cloud:
Storm season in Australia had well and truly begun to start with gusto in November. Queensland in particular had seen some already-large storms. All I shot in November was storms. This has to be a first.
One afternoon with my new lens, I decided to fill the car up with fuel and just drive. A solution to keeping busy and just wanting to get out with the camera turned into a 7-hour roadtrip that started with shooting sunset, that turned into an impromptu storm chase. Needless to say I was a little under-prepared for this, and my shots reflect it accordingly.
I always love the chase, even if my shots aren’t necessarily winners, there’s something with the lightning striking, the thunder and the cloud structure that just amazes me. Sometimes I’ll chase them just to watch.
A second storm rolled through later in the month on the way to a friends BBQ. That was a fun one to watch!
To be fair, I also shot a Fundraiser cycling event in Brisbane’s CBD. I really got a chance to give my new lens a very good road test, and it came out with flying colours. Amazingly awesome to work with during the day. I’m loving it already and feeling very excited to see what it can do on next years’ trips!
Finally in December! If you’ve read this far, I thank you, it’s been a long piece.
Right up until Christmas it looked like December was going to be a flop for my portfolio. With the exception of a single storm photo, It was looking as barren and dry as the field in the photo previous.
It was until a late save by a trip to Newcastle filling it up with shots that I’m not only excited to show, but really hope they’ll be memorable for my 2013 collection.
I got to visit the Merewether Ocean Baths, a place I had dreamed of visiting since beginning to shoot Landscapes all those years ago. Finally getting to the place was a big tick off of my photographic-bucket list. I think I did it a justice.
A trip to the Hunter valley provided some fun little shots, which I have combined, from the different vineyards that I visited.
I also got to visit some other places that totally blew my mind. Beautiful beaches, hidden secrets and local knowledge combined to give me an all-encompassing portfolio for the trip. I won’t release them all at once, you’ll have to wait and see… but I guess I can show you one… or two...
And that is that.
Overall, I have a few new directions that I want to explore this year. They’re a little different from the types of shots I’m known for. But with all art comes experimentation. I’m going to roll with it for my portfolio. I may post a few here and there, but for now, this separate series is going to be a personal journey.
As always, most of the shots here are for sale on my Website in varying sizes and print types. If you see anything that is not on the site, that you would like (except the Limited Edition prints of course) please contact me and I will happily upload the requested image.
I hope once again you’ve enjoyed my Retrospective, even if its’ more for me, sometimes you may see something you missed.
Thank you to Friends, Family and Followers who have commented, viewed and shared my posts in 2013.
Are you ready for 2014? It's gonna be a big one!