2018 in review

I find myself at this time of year always saying the same thing, along the lines of "blimey, where did the year go?!", but looking back over my photos of 2018 I feel I've taken a rather large collection of images which I'm happy with. Though there's always a pressure to "perform" in the photographic world, to produce an image every week is actually not an easy task and I always aim to take a photo each month (on average) that I'm happy to display in my gallery. So, looking back at 2018 here's my top 12 images..

Boscombe Pier, 25th Feb, Isolation Collection
I remember heading for this location at sunset, there wasn't a cloud in the sky so during the journey I'd planned to shoot some long exposure shots of the pier at Boscombe. Once on location however, the view toward the Bournemouth beach and out toward the Purbeck hills really drew my eye, the colour in the sky created by the hazy conditions made the rolling hills of Purbeck really stand out. I'd lined up my composition without a person in the shot, then noticed a guy by himself walking toward the shore line and loved the juxtaposition offered by the solitary nature of the man, seemingly isolated, surrounded by beautiful conditions.

This image was shortlisted in week 4 of the WexMondays competition, and later won the Echo Camera Club monthly comp on the theme "Sign of the Times"

Durdle Door in the Snow, 18th March, Inclement Collection
When certain opportunities present themselves, you really need to grab the bull by the horns and go for it. I wish I could say I did exactly that, but when the "Beast from the east" delivered a blanket of snow across Dorset on the 1st March, my first reaction was actually to head to Corfe Castle, only to find it had partially missed the snow storm, and wasn't anywhere near as wintery as expected. The oppurunity to shoot the coast soon disappeared, as rain washed away the snow in a very short period, so I was left a little gutted.. However, to my absolute delight, the "mini beast" delivered another blanket of snow a few weeks later! This time I wasn't going to miss shooting Durdle Door, so headed down at first light.

The journey was pretty treacherous, with the path down to the door very slippy, then at the bottom the snow was still falling, making photography more than a little tricky, but a gap in the clouds allowed for this shot to be taken from the top of the cliff. It was a morning to remember, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to see the south coast like this.

Moor Crichel Sunburst, 1st May, Atmospheric Collection
If ever there were a lesson for why you should react to conditions in landscape photography - this image would depict it perfectly. This photo was actually taken as an afterthought.. Heading back from a shoot at "the barn" in Dorset, there was some mist hanging in the valleys, and Moor Crichel happened to be on the route home, so having made a slight diversion I was greeted with this beautiful scene. The rapeseed growing along the road offered a golden backdrop which I doubt will be repeated any time soon.

This image was shortlisted for Landscape Photographer of the Year 2018.

Ladybower Crescent Moon, 17th May, Into the Blue Collection
Back in May I was treated to a weekend break in the Peak District by my wonderful wife, I'd planned a few locations I wanted to visit, and Ladybower was pretty high on the list. This was one of those moments for me when I had to stand back from my camera and just look in complete awe at the scene in front of me. Though this image hasn't been accredited in any way, it's actually one of my personal favourites to date as it's exactly what I'd wanted to capture.

Into the Woods (Canary Wharf), 26th Aug, Isolation Collection
An opportune visit to London meant I could tick a number of long-sought after shots off my "list", with this one being a stand out favourite from the trip, and again a very good reason to react to the scene infront of you. I'd wanted to shoot this corridor completely devoid of people, but upon arrival it became apparent that the constant usage meant it was almost never completely empty, so instead of fighting against people in the shot, I waited for the best person to came along.. When this woman in a red coat walked into the shot I knew instantly it would make a great image.

This image reached the Fotospeed Top 4 in week 37.

Bournemouth Beach, 7th Sep
I've used Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) previously in photography, but always struggled a bit with it's execution - namely in trying to maintain structure and emotion whilst intenionally abstracting the scene, and this image for me marks my first quite well executed ICM shot, hence it's inclusion in my best of images from this year.

Swanage Pier, 22nd Sep, Inclement Collection
Sometimes in photography, you're lucky enough to have that "wow" moment out in the field, when you know for certain that you've captured a good shot. This was not one of those days.

I'd wanted to capture the new pier following a rain shower for quite some time, so on this wet weekend in September I dragged my family out to Swanage, with the promise of fudge and burgers by way of a reward. So, with those things delivered we headed to the pier - right as a new wave of rain came rolling in, d'oh! Picture the scene - my wife had to hold an umbrella at a 60 degree angle to stop as much rain as possible hitting my camera, though A LOT still did, so I had to clean filters in the middle of each shot, my kids were running around playing in the rain, but we were all drenched to the bone, my filters were wet, my camera was wet, and worst of all, a persistent bunch of fishermen refused to move from the end of the pier (wrecking my carefully planned shot!) - so I took a handful of photos, and headed home, thinking I'd "missed" the shot.

To my absolute delight, having loaded up the photos into Photoshop I managed to salvage this end result!

Blandford Road, 27th Sep, Atmospheric Collection
There's something very magical about seeing the sun penetrate through thick fog on a crisp autumn morning, this was another one of those moments when I had to stand back from the camera and take in the scene before pushing the shutter.

Weston Super Mare, 20th Oct, Isolation Collection
A trip to the West Country on business presented a great oppurtunity to visit the West coast, so I headed to "Marine Lake" in Weston Super Mare to capture this tidal swimming pool. I know this image won't be to the taste of many people, but for me I love it's simplicity, I had to wait a little while for the right person to walk into the frame in the right location, and was blessed that this chap would turn his head toward me at exactly the right time - it's the simple things for me that make an image "complete".

Corfe Castle, 9th November, Expressionism Collection
This image marks quite an important personal transition this year, into the new world of Multiple Exposure photography combined with ICM to create an end result which abstracts the hard transitions of the scene whilst maintaining overall structural integrity and making a recognisable end image. It's exciting for me to explore the "honeypot" locations across Dorset, but to shoot and deliver an end result unlike anything done before.

Man's Best Friend, 13th November, Expressionism Collection
Continuining with the ICM + ME technique, and marking another personal milestone, this is the first time I've captured a human element within an abstract scene, and this stands as one of my favourite images to date actually.

So, that's it for another year! I feel like 2018 has been a great year for my photographic progression, and I look forward to exploring new places and familar locations with new techniques into the new year.

I'd love to hear your thoughts, if you've been following my work and have your own favourite, is it in this list or not? :)