12 from 2023
The new year seems like a good time to review your photographs from the previous 12 months. Typically, I’ll try to pick out my 10 or 20 best images from the year, but this time I thought I would add an additional constraint: I would pick just one image from each month. This means that these aren’t my very best images (getting my excuses in early). If I had picked my very best, the collection would be badly skewed by my trips to Loften and Venice. But it does mean that these are more representative of what I tend to photograph.
As I was noting down the camera data for each of these images, I realised that nearly every image was taken with a different camera or lens combination. I’m sure this means something. Surely a top notch photographer would use the same camera and perhaps one or two lenses? I’m aware that this makes me sound like the football manager that doesn’t know his best team. I prefer to think of myself as using my entire squad to best tackle the challenge at hand. Also, I enjoy using different cameras and exploring the view through different lenses. As an amateur, that’s really why I take photographs.
When I looked at my January images I had a shortlist of one. Not much to choose from there then. That said, I do like this image from Three Shires Head. I took the picture on a trip out with some members of my photography club.
OM-1, Panasonic Leica 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 lens at 18mm. 0.5s, f/8, ISO 200.
As I spent part of February in Lofoten, I had many more possible images to choose from. I decided to pick this classic shot of Hamnoy because it was one of those images where everything came together: the snowy conditions, the light and the composition.
OM-1, Laowa 10mm f/2 lens. 13s, f/7.1, ISO 200.
Although I had visited Magpie Mine in the past, I’d not tried this composition before. This was a sunrise shoot with a couple of friends from my photography club and we were hoping for more colour in the sky. But the sky was bland so I blended in a sky from another image and chose a black and white conversion.
OM-1, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at 38mm. 1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 200.
Once Spring begins to arrive I like to photograph garden birds. I set this stage up in my garden and photographed the goldfinches from my conservatory — probably the best hide in the world.
OM-1, Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 lens at 125mm. 1/250s, f/4, ISO 320.
In May, I met up with a group of other photographers from the RPS. We are part of a critique circle and until this time we had never met in person. We spent 4 days in the Peak District and since this was my turf, I was responsible for finding most of the locations. I took this picture on a sunrise visit to Mam Tor. We had fantastic, misty conditions and this is taken just before sunrise, looking along the great ridge.
OM-1, Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens. 1/25s, f/8, ISO 200.
One evening, my son and I headed out to a local spot near the Roaches for a walk. The location is normally deserted but this time there were a number of photographers who were photographing owls. I didn’t have the right gear with me at the time but headed back a few times in June to photograph barn owls.
OM-1, Panasonic Leica 100-400 f/4.0 - f/6.3 lens at 400mm. 1/2000s, f/6.3, ISO 5000.
In July I was searching for crop fields and found this great example in Holeston. In the original, the tramlines didn’t lead anywhere interesting so I added a tree in post-processing.
OM-1, Lumix 35-100mm f/2.8 lens at 64mm. 1/1250s, f/8, ISO 320.
Most of my August images are of my 3-year-old grandaughter who visited from New Zealand. Just as well as August is a difficult time for photography. Sunrises are way too early, sunsets require you to be out until late, and everywhere is too green. One benefit of the Peak District is that we often get a fine display of heather in August so I headed to Higger Tor. It’s true there’s not a great deal of heather in this photograph, but I did like the composition looking back to Higger Tor.
OM-1, Panasonic Leica 9mm f/1.7 lens. 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 320.
I took this photograph of the groynes at Wallesey with my 5x4 film pinhole camera. It was a bright sunny day and it was tricky to compose the image ‘blind’ while balancing on rocks (the camera has no viewfinder). So I was pleased with the way this turned out.
Ilford Harman Titan pinhole camera with Ilford FP4+ film. f/206, 8sec.
This was taken at Ladybower with my newly-purchased drone. It was only the second time that I had flown the drone outside my garden so I remember feeling a certain amount of drone anxiety. With hindsight, I would have preferred it if the plughole was dead centre in the picture, but to maintain the graphic composition that would have required me to fly higher and I was already at the legal limit.
DJI Mini 4 Pro. 1/1600s, f/1.7, ISO 200.
I was pleased with this classic shot of bouncing gondolas in Venice. I took it just as the sun had set and that created some interesting colour in the sky and allowed me to capture the shot with the lit lamp.
OM-1, Panasonic Leica 9mm f/1.7 lens. 60s, f/8, ISO 200.
In my neck of the woods, December had the worst weather on record. If it wasn't heavy rain it was strong winds. That meant I didn't get out much with my camera but I was lucky to have one good day of snow. If I'd known the snow would be over so quickly perhaps I would have got out to the Peak District rather than just walked locally. But I took this image of my dog playing in the snow. She's 12 years old — but in snow, she's still a pup. I wish I could bottle that joy. I liked this image enough to use it as my Christmas card this year.
OM-1, Olympus 40-150 lens with MC-14 teleconverter. 1/2000, f/4, ISO 320.