On New Year’s Eve, I like to put together a little retrospective view of my year’s worth of Flickr photos. I do this by picking the one photo from each month of the year that I like best. It might not be the most technically brilliant photo of the month — I’m just as likely to pick it for sentimental reasons.
Some years I’m organised enough to do this as I go along, adding each month’s photo to a Flickr Photoset at the end of every month. Some years I’m not. 2012 was one of those years, so I was quite glad when I looked back that I managed to find a photo I liked in every single month of the year.
Here’s my Favourite Photos of the Month for 2012 (if you prefer viewing them on Flickr, the set’s here.)
January: High Tide
I was alone at home with a stinking cold this time last year, on New Year’s Eve. But I’d seen on Twitter that there was going to be a firework display near the Suspension Bridge, so I decided to nip out for a quarter of an hour to mark the occasion. I drank a whisky to gather courage against the wind and rain, grabbed my camera and tripod and walked down to the nice little viewpoint at the far end of the locks in Hotwells that looks out that way. I’d rather not have been ill, but I’m happy I got a good photo within the first few minutes of 2012.
February: Heat Treatment
A quick snap on the way back home from town on a crisp winter’s day. This is the fountain outside “City Hall” in Bristol, which pretty much everyone I know still calls the Council House.
This was an experiment in creating the photo I wanted in-camera, without any post-processing. The golden effect here was a combination of the natural evening light and a manual override of the camera’s white balance setting. I had to wait for that bloody seagull to be in the right place for ages.
I love the Sourdough Cafe in St. Nick’s Market in Bristol. Jess, the current owner, took over running the place from my friend Emmeline (see both June and November’s photos!) and it’s continued to be a lovely little haven of good coffee (sourced from local roasters Extract) and a thousand lovely little touches of design, prettiness and texture.
I went out to Crete to see my parents in May, partly because this year saw my Dad’s 70th birthday. This portrait was taken as my dad and I had a breather at a handy bench during a nice long riverside walk we took.
I’ve hung out a lot with my friend Emmeline this year. We’ve both been trying to figure out what to do with our lives. During Upfest, Emm spent some time working in the Tin Can Coffee van, a Citroën HY converted into a mobile espresso bar. I let our mutual friend Nicki walk ahead of me to try to get a natural shot of Emm talking to her before Emm spotted me with the camera.
Every year, I normally go on some kind of group holiday with friends from University. This year was a smaller group than normal, and specifically inclined towards those who like rambling.
We headed for the Lake District, and I bought a secondhand Panasonic Lumix LX3 the day before the holiday, as I figured it would be easier to drag up hills than the 60D. It did very well for a compact camera. This view is from a 13km round-trip walk we did from our house near Ambleside.
August: Paddington Bear Stare
Photographers often make pretty good subjects, as they’ve usually had enough photos of themselves taken that they’ve lost that tendency to cringe or pose awkwardly so often found in the general population. This is my friend Paul, generally a Leica shooter these days, in the Workhouse Cafe (formerly “Delight”) at the bottom of St. Michael’s Hill.
September: Through a Glass, Darkly
This is the only person I’ve ever had chase me down a street demanding money for having his photo taken. To be fair, it was a bit cheeky to snap him through a cafe window. But I was on a Flickr photo walk, and far more in the plain and simple “that’s a good image” frame of mind than worrying about the proprieties. I think it was worth it. And he was happy with a pound.
October: More than He Bargained For?
I’d never actually managed to get around to going to the Bristol Zombie Walk before this year. It was fun. This Japanese tourist asked for a photo with a couple of the zombies in Castle Park. I don’t think he was expecting quite such an action shot!
Emmeline had been wanting to get into wood-carving, and finally found someone to teach her about carving spoons. This is her getting a little practice in my lounge, splitting down some plum wood. As she hammered away, I set up a remote flash on an umbrella to the side and filled in a little with a bounce flash off the wall on the left.
I wasn’t sure whether to include this self-portrait as a favourite photo, but I didn’t take that many photos in December. There was another Flickr walk, but I wasn’t feeling that inspired (I had another cold, damn it!) and I was also shooting film on an old Olympus OM‑2 that I wasn’t sure was even working.
As it turned out, I did get some not-too-bad photos from the walk (this one is probably my favourite) but I think that this self-portrait of me in my shiny new Daring Fireball tee pipped it to the post, photographically.
If you take photos, I recommend doing a retrospective of some kind at the end of every year. I’d also recommend building it up monthly, if you can — knowing there’s a reminder in your calendar to pick your favourite photo at the end of every month tends to prod you into getting out of the door with your camera more often.
I hope you all had a great 2012. Here’s to an even better 2013…