My Favourite Photos of 2014
2014 was the year I finally made some time to pick up a camera again, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
When I was a young lad I used to go to lots of air shows with my Dad and took loads of photos, he had an old Minolta SLR with a 70-210mm lens that was perfect for the job so it got a lot of use. I loved using that old camera and took some shots I was really proud of. Fast-forward 15 years, technology moved on and so did I. But my interest in photography stayed the same – I just had to find time to learn it all for real.
At the beginning of the year I got inspired by Snapseed for Android (of all things) and just started taking photos! Within a few weeks I was hooked again so I started doing some proper research and began looking at the world with more of a photographers eye. I started up a Flickr account so I had somewhere central to store my favourites (not so much for the “social network” side of things) and every-so-often I would add to them.
As of the end of 2014 there are just over 40 photos up there so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my progress so far. Which brings me to my favourite photos of 2014, and as it so happens these photos pretty much represent my growth as a photographer from then to now – which seems fitting.
A Quick Stop at Maynard’s Farm
It was just a simple stop-off to get some eggs that brought the opportunity for this first photo but the conditions were just perfect. I had picked up the new car a day before, it was a gorgeous day, the sun was out – I was just in a great mood.
This photo somehow managed to encapsulate everything I was feeling at that moment and it’s still one of my favourites, despite the fact it was taken on a Nexus 5, just because it reminds me of that day. This was one of the first times I used Snapseed for post-production.
A Train Comes… A Train Goes
We had been on holiday to Sevilla and were heading to the airport to fly home when the train stopped for a few minutes and I found myself watching this man and his dog. I couldn’t figure out if they were shepherding the sheep, waiting for a train or just out for a walk but the situation intrigued me for some reason. My phone was at hand so I took a couple of shots and we moved on.
It wasn’t until I was looking over my photos at home a week or so later that I remembered that guy and his companion. I really liked the composition of the image and something about it seemed timeless so out came Snapseed again. I played around with various retro and ye olde configurations and this was what I came up with. There really was something quietly cool about that man.
A world of M’s
I was reluctant to jump straight into a DSLR at first just in case my new hobby didn’t take off as well as I hoped, so I bought a Panasonic Lumix TZ40 compact camera to allow me to experiment a bit more without breaking the bank.
I was in London a couple of weekends later and got dragged into M&M’s World (which is admittedly quite cool) so took some photos, including this image. This was around the same time I started using the Nik Software plugins so I was doing a lot more experimentation in post. I used one of the Toy Camera effects as a base to produce the finished image which works quite well, and was a good bit of fun.
New Town Dusk
I’ve only been to Edinburgh once but I fell in love with it almost straight away. A bustling city with a long heritage, yet it felt like one of the most chilled out and relaxing places I’d been in a long time.
I took this photo one evening in New Town just outside a lovely little Turkish restaurant. I wanted the people to be silhouetted but the statue to retain some detail which took a few attempts to get the right exposure. It was worth the effort though and I think it shows the calm atmosphere of the city quite well, with some history thrown in too.
It didn’t take too long for me to get the DSLR itch again, and after much research I finally bought a Canon 700D (with some help from some friends). I definitely have not regretted it and only a couple of months in I cannot imagine having to go back to anything else as my everyday shooter.
This photo was taken on my first proper trip out with the new camera. I was taking photos of everything (as you can imagine), just to test all the features out, when the scene above presented itself by complete fluke. I love the silhouette of the dog, poised and ready to fetch in the background. While the couple walking in the foreground give a nice sense of depth and the warm, orange sunset as the backdrop finishes it off really well. One of those shots that just sits up nicely at the perfect moment.
A Christmas Treat
Finally we come to the end of the year, and my new hobby apparently made me an easy person to buy Christmas presents for! It was a day filled with some amazing photography goodies, including some new glass – a 50mm f/1.8.
The little guy in this photo is Jack – my parents Miniature Dachshund puppy. He very rarely sits still so trying to get a nice photo of him with a shallow depth of field was a new challenge and it was not the brightest of days either so required more manual balancing than I was used to. It’s not perfect by any means – the focus point and composition are both slightly off – but I have got a lot to learn when it comes to this type of lens and I am very happy with the result. It does him justice I think.
So there we have it, another year begins with my new hobby. We have a couple of interesting trips planned in the next 12 months so I am really looking forward to another year behind the camera.
Take it easy…