A New Dawn…

So, it’s that time again. The start of another year. I have no idea where 2011 went, but it certainly went quick! At the end of 2010/start of 2011 I wrote a list of goals for the year and it was a very useful exercise. It was good to go into the new year with a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve for the following twelve months. I think they were all fairly achievable and fair. I didn’t get them all ticked off, but I think I did pretty well. Here’s how it went down…

  • Learn/Practice More Lighting Techniques:
    This was always going to be an open ended one, as I don’t think you ever, or should never, stop learning. I do feel that I did what I set out to do. I now feel a lot more confident with lighting. I continued to assist Steve throughout 2011 and continued to learn a huge amount from him (not just about photography either; I’m not pretty well versed in the stresses of owning a Dutch Barge…). I did a lot of shooting with both studio lights and Speedlight strobes, and I’m really starting to feel more confident with them and inspired to do more.

  • Build up a portraiture portfolio:
    Again, it’s open ended as portfolios have to be kept regular and up-to-date but I do now have, thanks to a lot of very helpful and patient friends, a Portraiture portfolio that I am proud of. I’m hoping for it to get bigger in 2012!

  • Upgrade camera/lenses:
    Yep. Through a mixture of working and saving pretty hard, I was able to upgrade a lot of equipment during 2011. I am now the proud owner of a Canon EOS 5D-MkII which I love, and a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM lens (which I also love!). I also managed to upgrade to a MacBook Pro, buy a new flash and various accessories and modifiers, a Wacom Intuos4 and upgrade a load of software! I now haz tha tools…

  • Experiment with time-lapses and video:
    When I was thinking about this post, I actually surprised myself with how much video work I’ve done this year. There’s been One Week in Hueco which I worked on with Ben, and I think really upped the quality bar for us. I’m incredibly proud of this film, and very pleased by how it was received. We both got a lot of feedback from climbers and non-climbers alike about how they enjoyed it. It’s also (at the time of writing) had over 12,000 views on Vimeo which was much more than either of us where expecting. I also made my Day in the Life of the Castle Routesetters video which I think came out well (eventually) and of course The Rocklands Files (and subsequent Extras and A Short Film About Penguins). If you haven’t seen them, please have a look and let me know what you think. 

    My timelapse film, which I had hoped to have finished by the end of 2011, is still in progress but is coming together well and will hopefully be done in the next few months. It’s a time consuming thing to film, and I’m trying to keep the quality high so a lot of footage has been rejected. That aside, I’m giving myself a tick for this one!


  • Get images on iStock:
    Arse. It was all going so well. Unfortunately, despite constant reminders, I still haven’t got my act together on this one. This shall roll over into 2012…

  • Climb Font 7a in Font: Well, if you’re being pedantic, I didn’t technically do this one. I still haven’t climbed a 7a in Fontainebleau, but, during our trip in April I did manage to tick a (really beautiful) 7a+ (Mémoire d’Outre Tombe, if you’re interested. On the day after my birthday, too! What a great pressie!). I did also, later in the year, go on to climb a 7a and a 7b(!!) in Rocklands, as well as a V6 in Hueco Tanks (which is works out to about 6c+/7a in Font grades). I think I’m going to let myself have this one…

  • Get strong(er):
    When I see the above written down, I think it goes to show that I must have gotten stronger over the last year. Obviously, it is a very subjective thing, and I definitely have good and bad sessions when it comes to climbing, but I can definitely see a marked improvement over the last year. Steps are in place to keep this going though!

  • Visit/climb in a new country:
    As predicted, we did end up going to South Africa. Rocklands was everything we hoped for and more, and the trip was a great success in both sight seeing and climbing. I would definitely love to go back there one day, but, as I think this goal will continue into 2012, I’m not sure how likely that will be. Never say never, though…

  • Design/Submit design(s) to Threadless:
    Well, this didn’t really pan out sadly. It was mainly down to a lack of ideas and time, but neither of those are a particularly good reason for not at least trying to push this forward. It’s still definitely something I’d like to try and do though. A friend of mine from uni has submitted a few designs over the last few months and that has gotten me inspired to have a crack at getting something submitted. Since buying my Wacom tablet I’ve been keen to (and have started to) produce more artwork. This one is staying on the list to hopefully spur me along.

  • Do something I’ve never done before:
    This is a bit of a tricky one to call. I did get engaged in 2011 which was certainly a big, life changing event that I’d not done before. However, I did know in 2010 that I was going to propose (although, I didn’t know whether Snoo would accept it!), so it feels like a bit of a fix. I dunno really; I might give myself half a tick for this, and roll it on again into next year.

    …So, 7 out of 10. Not bad. There’s definitely a few, ticked or otherwise, which I’ll continue into 2012 though. I’m viewing this as a general, on going personal development plan and necessarily just self contained things. The question is now: what else am I adding to the list for 2012?:

  • Promote my Photography more:
    I feel like I’ve come a long way, photographicaly speaking in 2011, and I now feel like I’m in a good position to start to market myself more. I have a clearer idea of where I’d like to take my career and have the skills, knowledge and gear to make it happen. I just need to find the right people to speak to! I hate promoting myself in that way. My fragile, artistic ego doesn’t fair too well under the pressure, but it’s a necessary evil if I want to progress; and I do. Steve has shown me that it’s not some impossible, impenatrable world, but, like a lot of things, it comes down to who you know. And there’s only one way to get to know them…

  • Instagram 365 Project:
    During my time on Flickr, I’ve watched and marvelled and various users’ 365 projects (which involve taking, editing and uploading a photo a day for 365 days. Simple. On paper at least). The quality of a lot of them is truly staggering, and I’m impressed that so many people have the time to produce such great work on a such a regular basis. I’m not sure I could commit to a project like that, at least not to a standard that I’d be happy with so I’ve come up with a testing-the-water compromise. An Instagram 365. I use Instagram on my iPhone a lot and really enjoy it, so I thought that maybe a 365 project using Instagram could be the way forward. I always have my phone with me, so it doesn’t become such a chore to always have my camera with me, but I can still be creative with it. In fact, shooting within the iPhone’s limitations is also a good exercise in itself. As 2012 is going to be a bit of a milestone year for me, I thought it would be good to document it with a little visual diary, too. This one is already well underway, but still has a lot further to go. I’m logging my photo-a-day on a handy new Tumblr blog if you want to follow it. If, by December 31st, 2012 I have posted a photo every day to that blog then I can give myself a tick! I can’t guarantee that the photos will always be hugely interesting, but hopefully they’ll look nice. I like to shoot mundane things in interesting ways.

  • Move house:
    I love our little south London flat, but “little” is the optimum word in that sentence. Snoo and I desperately need to find a bigger place, and I think it would be a really nice way to mark the start of the next chapter of our lives together. We did start looking around for somewhere new last year, and even came really close to buying somewhere, but it all fell through (in a very long and boring story which I’m not going to tell). Anyway, this is definitely something that has to happen in 2012.

  • Finish my time-lapse film:
    I want to get stuck into some more video projects this year (and I already have some potential stuff lined up) but I really have to get this finished. I’m still excited by it, but I feel like it needs wrapping up fairly soon. I’m excited to show it to you!

  • Draw/create more artwork:
    This ties in with the Threadless thing, but I want to try and get back into creating more artwork and drawing more (especially with the Wacom). I’ve been doing a lot of concept sketches in my little Moleskin book for the shoots I’ve been doing and it’s been a really satisfying experience. I want to continue this and start producing some new stuff. If I can work some of my photography into it too, then so much the better.

  • Climb somewhere new (at 7a if possible!):
    Another fairly straight forward one. I want to visit another new climbing spot somewhere in the world. We’ve done a lot of long haul trips over the past year or so, and I think that time and money will prevent us for doing anything huge in the forseeable (honeymoon trip to New Zealand aside), but there are plenty of places in Europe which I’ve still yet to visit. Albarracín and Magic Woods are two that spring to mind. I think a few long weekends are in order…

  • Read more:
    This’ll be an ongoing one I’m sure, but I really want to try and read more. There’s a load of books in the flat that I’d like to try and get through and I got the über-tomb that is the Steve Jobs biography to crack on with. I think I’m going to compile a reading list too to a) keep me motivated and b) track my progress. It might be interesting to list them all on here this time next year.

    So, I think that’s about it. Not as many new additions this year, but enough to keep me busy (especially with the “roll overs” as well). I think they are all achievable, but I guess only time will tell. If you read all of the above self-indulgent ramblings then thanks. I appreciate it. I’d be interested to know what other people have planned for 2012. Let me know in the comments! Let’s make it a good year!

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