By March, Mrs H had done the unthinkable, and swapped all of her Nikon gear for a Canon EOS 500D and lenses. Canon make excellent sensors, but I’m sure I’m not alone in considering their kit to be more portable hand-held scanner than an actual camera … and that’s before I start dissing their lenses 😉 Needless to say, our relationship has never been quite the same since, but this unexpected move proved to be the catalyst for a large change in my photography.
Kristi’s move to Canon was part of her deciding to take her photography much more seriously than she had to date. She was rightly deeply frustrated with the image quality and handling characteristics of her aging Nikon D70s, and over the coming months, the massive improvement in quality from her new Canon rig made me realise that it was time to make some changes of my own.
I’d finished 2010 with an excellent range of Nikon zoom lenses, but hadn’t solved a key problem. My rig worked well in bright conditions, but wasn’t well suited to photography in darker conditions without a tripod. My tripod had been destroyed in the car accident in 2009, and needed replacing. I’d looked at Nikon bodies that did well in low light, the D700 especially, but none of my lenses would have worked with the FX sensor in the D700, ruling that out for now.
The answer was to invest in fast glass, and that meant prime lenses. They’re much lighter than fast zooms, and much much cheaper. I started with Nikon’s excellent 50mm f/1.4D lens. It was to be the start of a transformation …
March also saw the start of what was to become the major photography project of 2010, my Desktop Wallpaper project. It all started out as a way of me enjoying the photos I’d taken, which I then started sharing with colleages and friends via Twitter, and then eventually via this blog. And Apple finally added support for the Panasonic G1, allowing me to publish a very belated review
But the highlight was perhaps our fortunate trip up to Hadrian’s Wall to see it illuminated by beacons for the first time in 1600 years. We’d actually gone up to photograph Steetley Magnasite, an old abandoned factory on the coast at Hartlepool. (Along the way, we stopped off to visit Twycross Zoo – photos I have yet to publish). But once we arrived up North, we heard about the event at the Wall, and changed our plans to spend Saturday as part of this amazing event.
By April, I still wasn’t able to get out with the camera like I used to in years gone by, but I was definitely back publishing, and by writing up blog posts each weekend in advance, managing to keep up a Desktop Wallpaper publishing schedule that would last most of the year. Most of the photos were older photos finally seeing the light of day, as I was still struggling with the knee injury and not able to get out as much as I wished.
The highlight for April came at the start, when we took part in the early morning 4am Project, which I’d come across on Twitter. A close second can be seen in the photos of Birdland, and its amazing collection of penguins. And then there was the publishing of my photos of Unity, a piece of urban art that was erected just outside Pontypridd by the Rhondda Cynon Taff council. Those photos helped me find a new local audience, because of the ongoing controversy over its costs and alleged cost overruns … but for myself, it just seemed like a really daft place to plonk it down, right where no-one passing by had any chance of seeing it …