2016 Reviewed

2016 reviewed by Andrew Bert Greaves Photography

Where did 2016 go? I’m sure I had all 12 months of it here just a moment ago… Nope, I just checked and they have gone.

Well, what to make of 2016?

In general it seems that it wasn’t people’s favourite year. Politically some interesting decisions were made on both sides of the Atlantic by the voting public, so 2017 and beyond will be very … interesting.
The year also saw the passing of many people we all look up to and admire, particularly from the worlds of film, TV and music. I fear that this will sadly be a trend that will continue because many of those we look up to have lead very long and full lives.

And what about me?

Well, 2016 did seem to go really fast. Much of the what I intended to do ended up on the back burner, while I tried to keep pace with life. One of the things I did do was to set up a store on the online retailer Etsy, so it is now easier to own my work.

In the latter half of the year I spent a lot of time focusing on me and I don’t mean self portraits. I am not only an introvert, but can also be shy too (no, they aren’t the same thing). This can make selling myself and my work more of a challenge, which has obvious downsides in a business. I have now started to understand myself better which means I can make the most of my strengths and also overcome my weaknesses. I haven’t by any means conquered it entirely, but I feel I’ve made significant progress. This is starting to sound like a self help blog. But sometimes you’ve got to help yourself, because no one else can do it for you.

Photos

I think I’ll stop with the words now, and finish with some photos. 12 photos in fact, a favourite from each month of the year, I hope you enjoy.

The singer from Tell The Hoi playing at The Nest, Bath January 2016
Tell The Hoi playing at The Nest, Bath January 2016

A heard of cows by a feeding trough in a muddy field, Wiltshire, February 2016
Cows in a muddy field, Wiltshire, February 2016

A jumping Spider next to a Ladybird on leaves, Wiltshire, March 2016
A jumping Spider next to a Ladybird on leaves, Wiltshire, March 2016

A close up of the head of a mute swan
The head of a mute swan, Falkirk, April 2016

The Bohos playing at The Parade Gardens, Bath for Bath Music Festival's Party In The City, with an illuminated Bath Abbey in the background, May 2016
The Bohos playing at The Parade Gardens, Bath for Bath Music Festival’s Party In The City, May 2016

A red bicycle propped up on the overgrown verge next to a field a field, Wiltshire, June 2016
Red bicycle in a field, Wiltshire, June 2016

The Neville Staples Band (formally of The Specials) playing on the main stage at the Trowbridge Village Pump Folk Festival, Wiltshire, July 2016
The Neville Staples Band playing at the Trowbridge Village Pump Folk Festival, Wiltshire, July 2016

A bee collecting pollen on a blue-spirea 'Worcester Gold' flower, Wiltshire, August 2016
A bee on a blue-spirea ‘Worcester Gold’ flower, Wiltshire, August 2016

A close up of the underside of a garden spider (Araneus diadematus) on it's web, Wiltshire, September 2016
A close up of a garden spider (Araneus diadematus) on it’s web, Wiltshire, September 2016

The Model Folk band playing at the Stallards, Trowbridge, October 2016
The Model Folk playing at the Stallards, Trowbridge, October 2016

Red roses covered in frost, Wiltshire, November 2016
Roses covered in frost, Wiltshire, November 2016

The singer from Twisted State Of Mind jumping off an amp while playing at The White Swan, Trowbridge, December 2016
Twisted State Of Mind playing at The White Swan, Trowbridge, December 2016

The Year That Will Be 2016

Nearly two weeks into 2016? Where did that time go? Well, I’ve spent some of it doing my Tax return, because that’s such a fun thing to do. I’ve also done a shoot with a band for their upcoming album, which was a lot of fun, if a little chilly at times, (but more on that shoot at a later time). I’ve also been unwell, but don’t worry it was only man flu.

So what am I going to be up to for the rest of this year? I have know idea, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

I’m kidding, I always know what I’m doing… Seriously though, this is what’s on the cards (pun intended) for this year; I will be looking at extending my range of greetings cards, and I will be making it easier for you lovely people to buy my work in it’s various printed forms. I’ve been having discussions with bands and artists about promo shoots and live shoots (admittedly some of these have been whilst drinking, but then my photography is cider fuelled). I’m hoping to be able to spend more time on developing personal projects this year, now that I’ve got a better handle on on the business side of things. I’ll still be getting out into the countryside photographing wildlife and landscapes, which is something I enjoy more and more each time I do it.
A common buzzard in flight over trees
I also have plans for an overhaul of my website to make it a little more streamlined and to show off my work better. I will carry on updating my social media pages, my Facebook page is here
and/or if you’re on twitter go here 

I will continue to take photos at local gigs, because that’s what I love to do; getting up close and personal at the front with both the performers and the crowd.
A harmonica player at a jam at the tree horseshoes in Bradford On Avon
As always, if there is anyone out there how would like to work with me or if you would like to buy any prints please let me know.

Oh, and on a non-photography note (pun intended), I have picked up my drumsticks a few times already this year and fully intend to keep this up, so if anyone is looking for a drummer, just let me know.
A drumstick bag full of drumsticks resting against a floor tom

The year that was 2015

It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago I was publishing my first blog of 2015, time flies when you’re having fun. It also seems to moves a lot quicker the older you get, and seems to disappear completely when there’s so much you need and want to do.

2015 was a year of change for me, in a personal sense more than anything else. It’s been a year of friends, both old and new. A year of setbacks and picking myself up again, a year of finding my way along the path I am on, and trying to figure out what path that is and in which vague direction it might be heading in. A year of trying to balance the commercial and the artistic, as well as the working and the playing. A year of broken computers, cameras and lenses.
I’ve made progress in the business side of things, in my understanding of such things as well as the actual hard currency stuff. I’ve had a lot of fun photographing some awesome bands and artists at some wonderful venues during some amazing gigs. I’ve hiked up hills, through woods and along canals, photographing landscapes and wildlife along the way.

I was going to tell you about my plans for 2016, but I’ll save that for another blog, instead I’ll just share with a few favourite images I took this year, some you might have seen before, some you certainly won’t have. Happy New Year to you all, and I’ll see you in 2016.
band Scout Killers playing the Nest in Bath
Scout Killers, The Nest, Bath
band Stop Stop playing Charlie's in Westbury
Stop Stop!, Charlie’s, Westbury
The Kelpies horse sculptures, Falkirk, Scotland
The Kelpies, Falkirk, Scotland
A sparrowhawk pinning down a starling
Sparrowhawk pinning down a starling, Scotland
a man pressed up against the steamed up window of the pig and fiddle in Bath while the band the Bohemian Embassy play
The Bohemian Embassy, Pig & Fiddle, Bath
crows roosting in a tree
Crows roosting in a tree, Avebury, Wiltshire
birds in flight at dusk
Birds in flight, Westbury, Wiltshire
looking up at trees at Stourhead
Trees at Stourhead, Wiltshire
two birds of prey fighting in flight
Birds of prey, Wiltshire
looking up at pine trees in Queen Elizabeth Forest Park in Scotland
Pine trees, Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Scotland
a red squirrel sitting up on it's hind legs
Red squirrel, Scotland

Watching Birds Makes Me (Over)Think.

Am I a bird watcher?

I don’t think I am a bird watcher, but I might be becoming one. Or perhaps I became one a while ago and I’ve only just noticed.
a coot landing on water
Recently I’ve been adding my work to various sites to try and give myself some exposure (pun very much intended) and, if I’m honest, to give my sometimes fragile confidence a boost. Anyway, on one of these site you have to put your work into specific categories and it tells you how may you have in a category and it surprised me to see how many I had in the ‘birds’ classification (22 at last count). Maybe that doesn’t seem a lot, but given that I was only uploading a small selection of my images, for that to be the category with the most photos in was a bit of an eye-opener. It was also a shock to someone who doesn’t consider themselves to be a wildlife photographer let alone a photographer of birds.
a purple headed mallard duck

Is there a point to this other than sharing with you my surprise and letting you know I take photos of birds?

 

Yes, there is a point. A point that I sort of knew about but I perhaps didn’t understand properly. And that is that you learn by doing. You learn about yourself by doing. I learnt that I take lots of photos of birds by doing something with my images. The fact that you learn by doing probably isn’t much of a revelation to anyone else but me, but that’s because I’m a self confessed overthinker. My name is Bert (or Andrew or Andy or any of the other names people in this world call me, you know who you are) and I’m an Overthinker. Thinking is what I do. Thinking happens unbidden, and it snowballs and becomes overthinking. I need to think less. Which sounds wrong and counter-intuitive. Thinking is a good thing, but I seem to think instead of doing, I think myself to a standstill. I spend so much time thinking, that I run out of time to actually do the thing I’m thinking about.

I think (or perhaps overthink) my overthinking might be having an impact on another area of my photography, and that’s when it comes to selecting which of my images from a shoot to present to the world. I need to rely on my instinct, which is what I do when I’m taking the photo, that’s all instinctive. I need to take the instinctive approach from the start of the process of image making all the way through to the end. So that’s what I’m going to do from now one, maybe, I think. I’ll have to give it some thought… I think….African penguins in South Africa