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The Year That Will Be 2016

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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 2016? 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.

The year that was 2015

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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.

Scout Killers, The Nest, Bath, 2015

Scout Killers, The Nest, Bath

StOp, sToP!, Charlie's, Westbury, Wiltshire, 2015

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

The Bohemian Embassy, Pig and Fiddle, Bath, 2015

The Bohemian Embassy, Pig and Fiddle, Bath, 2015

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, Scotland
Pine trees, Queen Elizabeth Forest Park, Scotland
A red squirrel on its hind legs
Red squirrel, Scotland

Lessons Learned the hard way

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I’ve learnt a lot of things since I started doing this. I’ve learnt about birds, and cats and building websites and marketing and exhibitions and so much more. And I learnt how deep the deep end is. I knew the water I was jumping into wasn’t shallow when I started this, but I didn’t know how deep it was. I couldn’t see the bottom, and there was no depth gauge to help me out. All lessons learned the hard way. But I’ve learnt by doing, and now I’ve inadvertently managed to learn by not doing. The annoying thing about it was it was something I knew I should have been doing and doing more regularly than I had been.
broken computer parts
My computer died. I was working on some photos, then went to have dinner. When I came back from dinner, everything was frozen and unresponsive. The only way I could turn it off was by removing mains power, and then it would not come back to life. There was a blue light, which is how you know it’s on, and there was the noise of the fans spinning, but there was nothing else. My first response was rude words strung together in new and exciting ways. My second reaction was ‘when did I last back up…?’ If you have to ask yourself that question then your last backup was too long ago.

I know you have to back up regularly, everyone knows it, but knowing something and doing it are two different things. Complacency can set in, you get busy, you’re distracted by other things.
broken computer parts
To start with I feared the worse; that I’d lost everything. After some diagnostic work by myself, aided by internet research, and some friends who know much more about computers,  it seemed likely that the problem was a dead motherboard rather than an issue with the hard drives with everything stored on them. So there was a good chance that I wouldn’t have lost everything, but it was still a possibility.

In the intervening time between my computer’s death and its subsequent rebirth, (which was brought about by http://www.simplyitonline.com/ for which I am very grateful) there was a horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach that I might have lost a lot of photos, it was made larger by the fact that it was my own silly fault, that I could have prevented it being such a problem. But I have learnt from this, I’ve added it to the other knowledge I’ve acquired by doing things. Other lessons learned the hard way. I’ll leave this blog there I think, because I have to go as I haven’t backed up for 10 minutes …

But just before I go, if you think this was a bit of a boring blog, here’s a photo to prove I’m still a fun guy (fungi)…a parasol mushroom

HOW I PROVED SOMETHING TO MYSELF BY GETTING DRUNK*

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I’ve always known organising and forward planning isn’t my strongest trait. This was reinforced on my birthday this year. My birthday is in the summer, when there are a lot of things going on, people are on holiday or at festivals or at BBQs, or have no money left because of any number of the aforementioned reasons, so it can be very hard to organise a celebration of my birth. It’s even more difficult when you only give people a few hours notice and that’s what happened this year, so very few people were able to celebrate with me. This sort of got me down a little, not so much because I didn’t get to see some of the people I wanted to see, but because it really brought it home to me how disorganised I was, and when I thought about I realised that it was something that was affecting every aspect of my life, to a greater or lesser extent. And while I was allowing myself a little bit of self-pity wallowing, I said to myself ‘I couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.’
empty chairs and table in a bar
And the me of a year ago would have left it at that, but I’m a different me now (I think), so I did something about it. And that something was to organise a piss up in a brewery. OK, so it wasn’t an actual brewery, but a pub with a microbrewery, but that’s  not really the point. The point is that because of me there was a group of people who knew each other (or at least they’d all met each other by the end of the night) in the same place, at the same time, drinking alcohol, and more than one of these persons had reached a state of inebriation* by the end of the night, so I’m counting it as a success. I can now say I can organise a piss up in a (sort of) brewery.*
the wall of a pub with old photos of people playing skittles and a light up sign the says tourists
What has this got to do with photography? Well, I’ve always got several on-going projects, and more I want to start, as well as commissioned shoots to do. There’s also the promotion and marketing to do, and all the other admin stuff. As I’ve already said, planning and organisation are not my strongest points, but that’s something I need, and want, to improve. Now I’ve proved to myself that I am capable of planning something, I can build on that and move things forward. Other people might not use drinking* as a way to start self-improvement, but I did.

an empty pint glass and a full pint glass

*Please drink responsibly

Things Change

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I think if I could go back in time and tell myself one thing, it would be that everything changes (at least that’s what I’d go back and tell myself now; it’ll probably change). Life changes, you change, your friends change, the people you love change (in both senses), how you view the world changes, how the world views you changes. Everything and everyone grows, and evolves, and changes and is changed.

I can be quite proud and stubborn about things. If I say I will do something, or not doing something, then I will, or will not, do it, regardless of evidence that doing things differently would be to everyone’s benefit (especially my own). I guess this comes from fear. A fear of being wrong. A fear of looking foolish.
stairs leading down to the door of an underground club
There is another way to look at this though because there is a fine line between stubbornness and determination, between pride and self belief. And I guess where the lines fall is very much subjective, so it’s anyone’s guess where those lines might be.
What has any of this got to do with photography? Well, I’ve been having doubts recently as to whether photography is a viable way for me to earn an income. There are areas of photography that are a lot more lucrative than others, they take a lot of hard work and talent to do properly, but the financial rewards are greater and a lot easier to work as a ‘business model’. The things I want to do with my photography do not fall into this category. I knew this from the outset, but I was determined to do things my way, and I guess I’m beginning to wonder if my determination has changed into stubbornness.
empty bottles in a club, people dancing in the background

So, do I stick to my guns and do things my way, producing the work I want to? Or do I change my approach to things and go where the money is? For now I’m going to back myself, but I’m open to change in the future.silhouette of a band & the audience