I published more photography blog posts in 2010 than in all the years before, making it extremely difficult to pick out just 10 photographs that I thought were the best. In the end, my choices reflect mostly the shift in my photography; the way I’ve deliberately tried to move from the documentary style of the Merthyr Road project to the more artistic style that I’m seeking for my Desktop Wallpaper project.

The Photos

Outside The Core

For myself, I still think that this is the single best photo that I published in 2010, and is the one of the very best photos I’ve ever taken. I only matched the quality here one other time all year, and that photo has yet to be published.

I love the colours, the framing, the focus, the depth of field … it’s a moment of simple beauty, and just like my shot of Calanais back in 2007, it was a photo that I put no effort into at all … just a random shot towards the end of a long and tiring day’s photography. There’s probably a lesson in there for me.

We Will Exterminate You

Coming a close second is this fun shot of miniature Daleks on a shelf in the Doctor Who Exhibition shop down in Cardiff Bay. Not for the first time, I’d gone round the exhibition itself getting more and more frustrated at just how dark, out of date, and difficult to shoot the exhibition contents are, and if the truth be told, I’d almost given up hope of coming away with any pictures to share with you on Flickr and here on my blog. Spotting these little fellows in the full glare of a spotlight on the shelf was a real lifting of the spirits – not an emotion any Dalek would approve of! – and I was very relieved to pull off this shot.

Wet Lights

I’m the first to admit that this shot didn’t do so well when I published it back in June as my desktop wallpaper for the day, but it still does something for me. This was taken with the Canon IXUS 200 that Mrs H bought me for my birthday, and I don’t believe that my Nikon rig with all its lenses could have done a better job. This photo looks fantastic on a 24″ monitor. Give it a go; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Merthyr Road In Mist

There were other photos I took of the snow in December that were more popular on Flickr, but this is one of those rare moments when I managed to take the exact photo I set out to capture. In November, when the first of the winter snow had arrived, I drove along here on the way up to Ludlow for the day. There wasn’t as much snow at the time, and it was a lot sunnier, but it was still an enchanting scene … and yet I never stopped to take the shot. This time around, I knew exactly what I wanted, and made sure I went out to the end of our street to get it.

I’m sure this one will return in 2011 as a 25×9 framing at some point.

Enjoying The Beautiful Mawddach

This is another photo where I managed to bag exactly the shot I’d planned in my head … and it also looks stunning on a 24″ monitor. We’d spent the day hiking up from Barmouth on a tourist path, and had finally broken out of the tree canopy to be greeted by this beautiful view of the Mawddach Estuary. I wanted a photo that conveyed the pleasure of this scene, and spotting the bench, decided that the best way to do this was to show people enjoying the view for themselves. It didn’t take long before the bench was occupied, and I really dropped lucky that the woman was wearing such an eye-catching coloured top. I think they make the ideal focal point for this shot.

Public Telephone At Heath Low Level Station

How on earth do you explore a 100-year old railway line, documenting station after station, and come away with something a little different? When I was growing up, the railways were full of character and local charm, but today’s world is the world of the sterile (even puerile) identikit station with the same lack of seating and the same style of CCTV tower compensating for the total lack of station staff. This dirty public telephone and the red wall that owned it was a godsend, and I made sure to take my time and take full advantage of the D300s’s live view feature to get the phone perfectly in focus.

Manchester Alleyway

You can be sure that if I don’t have my Nikon with me, I’ll go past a scene like this and say: I’ll come back for that … only I never do. This is one of the times when I did, and despite its many technical imperfections, I’m pleased that I did. There was just something about this alleyway that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and I feel that I captured that mood accurately with this shot. I don’t think I could have done that a year ago.

Millennium Stadium Supports

This is one of the last shots I took with my Nikon 70-300mm lens before the 80-200mm f/2.8 usurped it in my camera bag (actually, I ended up changing camera bags specifically so that the 80-200mm lens could be my default lens …), and I think it’s probably the most underrated shot I took all year. This shot was a happy accident, as although it can be found right in the heart of Cardiff, it’s also very well tucked away down a side street that few people go down. If I’d gone down the street the other way, I would never have spotted it either.

Cathays Station Sign Behind Grilled Fence

I didn’t think much of this when I first took it, and if it hadn’t been very popular on Flickr thanks to being featured on the Guardian Cardiff website, I don’t think I would have given it a second glance. Looking at it again, though, it’s one of those one-in-a-hundred shots, a happy accident that I couldn’t reproduce if I tried, and the unusual (kooky?) choice of the fence as the focal point combined with the beautiful May light really makes the whole scene pop.

LR66

Finally, I want to share with you once more this shot of the beached trawler in Morecambe Bay, taken back in January. I’d only had the Canon IXUS 200 a week, and was fumbling with it out on a cold and inhospitable winter’s morning when the light offered up this marvellous scene. I wasn’t there for photography, but it’s one of those photos that makes a trip worthwhile just in of itself.

Looking Ahead To 2011

There were many other photos I published in 2010 that I really liked, and many more that were popular with my readers. There isn’t room to feature any more of them here, sadly; I must move on to a new year with new photos to share with you.

In 2010, the standard I’ve set myself to go forward is to create (or dig up out of my archives!) some 250 photos to publish … and that’s just for my Desktop Wallpaper project alone. There’ll be more travel photography too, I’m sure, and also more Merthyr Road articles to complete and share.

I’m in danger of being better remembered for my photography than my skills as an engineer, and I’m currently not sure how I feel about that. With photography, there’s just me and the camera, and thanks to the digital age, there’s also near instant results. (It would be instant results if Apple ever fixed Aperture’s appalling performance). I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being able to complete things quickly, and from being able to publish new works so regularly and in volume. With software, that satisfaction doesn’t come so quickly.

I don’t want to be a professional photographer; I just wish I was a bit better at it.

So, for 2011, I’ve decided to set myself three challenges.

  1. I’m going to humiliate myself by taking part in the prestigious Amateur Photographer Of The Year competition. In such a rich field, there’s no possibility of me doing well, but it will give me a benchmark of where others see my photography in comparison with other photographers in a way that you just can’t get on Flickr.
  2. I’m going to join the Royal Photographic Society, and work towards achieving an Associateship Distinction, with my eventual goal to see if I can reach their Fellowship Distinction standard one day.
  3. I want to reach an average of 500 views a day on Flickr by the end of the year, with my eventual aim being to reach 1,000 views a day on average. I see it requiring a mixture of improving the average quality of my published photos combined with publishing my photos a little smarter and doing a better job of finding an audience for my hobby. The best advice I was given in 2010 was to learn to be utterly ruthless in choosing photos to publish. Looking back at my stats for the year, I can see that if I was publishing more topical photos much more of the time, I could probably pull it off … but the real challenge is to do this whilst still taking the photos that move me first and foremost.

Oh, and it would be nice to get more people commenting on my photos, either here or on Flickr 🙂

What are you going to do with your photography in 2011?

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering November and December.

Stu’s Reflections

November I remember mostly as a quiet month for my photography. The event that sticks strongest in my memory was an evening shoot in the beautiful city of Bath, where I work. I’ve promised myself a whole day in Bath with my full camera rig in 2011 when the light improves, and I’ve promised my colleagues in the office (several of whom are excellent photographers) that we’ll organise a group shoot too. I also had a fun day in Cardiff when our mad Canadian friend Naomi came to visit for a weekend from the States, sneaking shots whilst showing her around Cardiff Bay and its collection of Daleks, and this year I took the camera with me during my annual trip up to Gregynog as a visiting industrialist. Sadly the light didn’t co-operate as I would have liked, and there wasn’t really the time to relax and get into the mood.

The odd thing for me was that, despite publishing less photos now that the Merthyr Road series had stopped, my photography increased in popularity on Flickr.

And then finally came December. I spent most of December working or sleeping, but still managed to end the year on a high, with a very popular collection of photos of the unseasonable snow that arrived mid-month. A mad-cap trip to Manchester on business earlier in the month also gave me a great opportunity to try something different. I’m not sure the resulting shots are to everyone’s taste, but I came away with several in particular that I enjoyed.

The Best Of The Photos

Three Swings

Aerial Photography by the Abbey

Staircases

Side Of The Millennium Centre

Girders For Wales Rally 2010

Ribs Of A Ship Sculpture

We Will Exterminate You

Gregynog Hall

The Library At Gregynog

Gate In The Hay

Duddo Five Stones

Poor Driving Conditions

Merthyr Road In Mist

Big Wheel And Arndale Centre

175 Years

Manchester Alleyway

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering September and October.

Stu’s Reflections

Mrs H and I spent the first half of September on holiday in Northumberland, exploring the beautiful coastline around Berwick-upon-Tweed. It was strange to be offline so much of the time! We had a very relaxing time, and I came back with enough photos to keep my Desktop Wallpaper project in business for the next 12 months. As I have been finding, the challenge now is figuring out how to publish it all … just because I already have enough photos doesn’t mean I’ve stopped using my camera since we got back!

Whilst we were gone, I’d queued up plenty of wallpapers and Merthyr Road articles for my readers, mostly a mixture of Summer Holiday 2009 shots and more railway stations … but also the first of the shots I’d taken with my latest favourite lens. Having already picked up a 24mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/1.8 lens to go with the 50mm f/1.4 lens, I’d finally completed my lens collection by getting a second-hand 80-200mm f/2.8 lens from eBay. It was less than a third of the cost of a brand-new 70-200mm lens, optically close enough for my needs, and oh yes, did I mention it was an f/2.8 lens?

I’ve fallen in love with this lens, and now do most of my photography at f/2.8 aperture. I got into fast glass to solve my problem of needing to shoot in low light, but now I love the creative freedom it offers … the ability to use depth of field to make my photo’s subject stand out. It really suits my enforced switch from landscape to more urban photography, and it has encouraged me to move further away from the photo journalistic attempts of the Merthyr Road project and more towards trying to make images that stand without narrative. Sadly, I’ve a long way to go before I achieve that, but at least I know without doubt that my kit is not the problem when I can’t pull it off.

September also saw the start of a new and so far occasional photography project: 25×9. Whilst on holiday, we’d ended up stumbling across a photography exhibition just outside Jedburgh. I can’t remember who the photographer was, sadly. Every single shot was just stunning, and part of his exhibition included prints taken by a Hasselblad XPAN camera. They were a wide-aspect chemical camera that fell foul of improvements to environmental legislation. I’d seen pictures taken by them in Amateur Photographer in the past, but seeing them up close and on the wall got me thinking. With no practical internet access, I started playing about with the photos I’d taken on holiday, trying to emulate the XPAN’s expansive feel, and ended up settling on a cropping ratio of 25×9.

October was, from my perspective, dominated by two main events: the PHPNW10 conference, and the first Wales Blog Awards.

Unsure about my knee injury, I hadn’t submitted any talks to PHPNW10 at all, and for the second year running was attending as a normal punter. I’d been very impressed by Rob Allen’s conference photography over the years, and decided that PHPNW10 would be where I took the plunge and gave it a go myself. I came away having learned two things: the Nikon D3s is the body to go for if you’re serious about trying to take decent photos in dark conference rooms, and that shooting people is something I need a lot more practice at. Oh, and the 35mm lens might be the cheapest I own, but it’s a surprisingly good walkabout portrait lens if you’re trying to take candids.

The Wales Blog Awards were a different beast altogether. Every blog that was nominated (I nominated my own blog; I don’t think anyone else nominated it) made the published long-list, and then … it got a bit weird. From my perspective, I’m afraid I didn’t understand the choices for most of the short-lists across the various categories. Looking through the short-listed blogs, I couldn’t see how they met the published awards criteria, which I’m sorry to say meant that the Wales Blog Awards lost all credibility to me at that point. (From conversations I’ve had since with other regulars on the Cardiff bloggers scene, I was in good company with my conclusions). I couldn’t tell you who won; the awards ceremony was held in private, and if the awards were announced on Twitter afterwards, I’m afraid that I missed the announcement completely.

I’ve held my tongue until now, but looking back for this review, I wish I’d spoken out at the time. I also think that, next year, the Wales blogging community should run the awards ourselves. I’m confident that, between us, we can run a much more credible and objective selection process than we saw happen this year.

Sadly, October saw the end of regular Merthyr Road articles. I still have a substantial archive of photos dating back several years to publish and blog about, but things have been so hectic at work since returning from holiday that something had to give. I’ve also come to realise that my mobility issues are compromising my original aims for the project, and I missed the long walks, the follow-up research and the longer publishing process of yesteryear. I plan on eventually working through my current archive to get it all published in time, but I don’t think I’ll be doing many more Merthyr Road photo shoots going forward.

To end on a positive note, I hit 300,000 views on Flickr towards the end of October.

The Best Of The Photos

Heath Low Level Railway Station

Criccieth Castle

Crew Of The Cambrian

Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Parking Suspended For Pope Visit

Under The Eaves, St Matthews Church

James Bond's Enemy's Lair

Crossing To Holy Island

The Footpath Over Barmouth Bridge

Last Look At Barmouth Bridge

Fence And Yellow

Millennium Stadium Supports

Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart

Sunset Over Northumberland

Boer War Statue & City Hall Clock

Bass Rock

Search and Rescue Helicopter

Street Art, Pont y Werin

Conference Audience

PHPNW10 Friday Social

Derick Rethans & Rob Allen

Ian Barber

Rob Allen

Jeremy Coates

300,000 Views

Green Ivy

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering July and August.

Stu’s Reflections

If truth be told, I don’t really remember much about July and August.

After several years of hiatus, the always-enchanting Beyond The Border storytelling festival returned to life. We’ve been regulars for a few years now, and photos from previous visits all the way back to my Nikon D100 days have featured on this blog before. It was weird not camping (we decided it was better for my knee to sleep in a proper bed every night), that’s for sure. In post-processing these photos, I started to find my feet with the subtle but important nudges in Aperture that were to define my look for the rest of the year.

I also tried my hand at something I normally go out of my way to avoid … topical photography. Although a lot of my Merthyr Road photography is more photo-journalism than photo-art, my natural instinct is to actively avoid trying to photography anything that is current news. In general, such photos date very badly, and everyone loses interest in them within a couple of days. Besides, there are many thousands of people doing that already. There’s much fewer of us out there taking photos of what once was; it’s a gap I’d rather focus on most of the time.

But the controversy over the draining of the Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs in Cardiff seemed too important to avoid. They’re historical reservoirs, and so fitted in well with the remit I’ve set myself for my Merthyr Road project, and they were disappearing as the current site owners appear determined to drain them dry and replace them with a housing estate. On reflection, it wasn’t a great success. The photos are hardly inspiring, and by the time I published them, there wasn’t much interest left in the story.

August started with a tribute to my departed Nikon D200. I’d finally grown comfortable enough with the Nikon D300s to part with the D200, a camera I’d had since January 2006. (I’d have had one even earlier if my employer at the time hadn’t screwed me over to make a point to other members of staff. Needless to say, I don’t work there any more!)

Other than that, August was mostly about being in the groove, steadily publishing the photos that had built up from earlier in the year. I had a long-running series covering the Coryton Line from Coryton itself down to the station at Heath Low Level. There were few truly outstanding photos from the set, but as a record of the line in 2010, I’m confident it will pass the test of time, and be a fine example of what my Merthyr Road project is really about.

Towards the end of August, I finally started to process and publish the photos from our summer 2009 holiday, the holiday where we’d been hurt in the car accident. I hadn’t been expecting much from the photos we’d taken; it was a pleasant surprise at just how many I was happy to publish.

Oh, and I managed to find and post my oldest surviving digital photograph, which is still one of the best I’ve taken so far of my cat 🙂

The Best Of The Photos

Cactus

It's Been A Hard Life

The Trees Behind The Fence

Whispy Clouds Above Cathays

The Canvas Of The Pavilion

Public Telephone At Heath Low Level Station

Grass On The Clifftop

Cathays Station Sign Behind Grilled Fence

Dirty Life Buoy At Lisvane Reservoir

2008 Review: Janet's Foss

The Cenotaph

Cadw Shop, Harlech Castle

Rhiwbina Railway Station

Spray-Painted Sign

Trees In Bute Park

Cats Rule! - My Oldest Surviving Digital Photo

The Lane Through The Trees

Enjoying The Beautiful Mawddach

Bench Under The Trees In Bute Park

Dry Stone Wall

The House Nestled In Nicely

House And Dry Stone Walls

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering July and August.

Stu’s Reflections

If truth be told, I don’t really remember much about July and August.

After several years of hiatus, the always-enchanting Beyond The Border storytelling festival returned to life. We’ve been regulars for a few years now, and photos from previous visits all the way back to my Nikon D100 days have featured on this blog before. It was weird not camping (we decided it was better for my knee to sleep in a proper bed every night), that’s for sure. In post-processing these photos, I started to find my feet with the subtle but important nudges in Aperture that were to define my look for the rest of the year.

I also tried my hand at something I normally go out of my way to avoid … topical photography. Although a lot of my Merthyr Road photography is more photo-journalism than photo-art, my natural instinct is to actively avoid trying to photography anything that is current news. In general, such photos date very badly, and everyone loses interest in them within a couple of days. Besides, there are many thousands of people doing that already. There’s much fewer of us out there taking photos of what once was; it’s a gap I’d rather focus on most of the time.

But the controversy over the draining of the Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs in Cardiff seemed too important to avoid. They’re historical reservoirs, and so fitted in well with the remit I’ve set myself for my Merthyr Road project, and they were disappearing as the current site owners appear determined to drain them dry and replace them with a housing estate. On reflection, it wasn’t a great success. The photos are hardly inspiring, and by the time I published them, there wasn’t much interest left in the story.

August started with a tribute to my departed Nikon D200. I’d finally grown comfortable enough with the Nikon D300s to part with the D200, a camera I’d had since January 2006. (I’d have had one even earlier if my employer at the time hadn’t screwed me over to make a point to other members of staff. Needless to say, I don’t work there any more!)

Other than that, August was mostly about being in the groove, steadily publishing the photos that had built up from earlier in the year. I had a long-running series covering the Coryton Line from Coryton itself down to the station at Heath Low Level. There were few truly outstanding photos from the set, but as a record of the line in 2010, I’m confident it will pass the test of time, and be a fine example of what my Merthyr Road project is really about.

Towards the end of August, I finally started to process and publish the photos from our summer 2009 holiday, the holiday where we’d been hurt in the car accident. I hadn’t been expecting much from the photos we’d taken; it was a pleasant surprise at just how many I was happy to publish.

Oh, and I managed to find and post my oldest surviving digital photograph, which is still one of the best I’ve taken so far of my cat 🙂

The Best Of The Photos

Cactus

It's Been A Hard Life

The Trees Behind The Fence

Whispy Clouds Above Cathays

The Canvas Of The Pavilion

Public Telephone At Heath Low Level Station

Grass On The Clifftop

Cathays Station Sign Behind Grilled Fence

Dirty Life Buoy At Lisvane Reservoir

2008 Review: Janet's Foss

The Cenotaph

Cadw Shop, Harlech Castle

Rhiwbina Railway Station

Spray-Painted Sign

Trees In Bute Park

Cats Rule! - My Oldest Surviving Digital Photo

The Lane Through The Trees

Enjoying The Beautiful Mawddach

Bench Under The Trees In Bute Park

Dry Stone Wall

The House Nestled In Nicely

House And Dry Stone Walls

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering May and June.

Stu’s Reflections

Ah, May, and a parting of the ways. After many years of faithful service, my Nikon D200 was finally retired, and replaced by the excellent Nikon D300s. By now, I had a growing collection of prime lenses, and was finding out the hard way that shooting with manual focus through the viewfinder was a bit of a lottery. The D300s featured Live View, a feature Mrs H had taken great delight in showing off on her Canon EOS 500D, and which I realised my photography would really benefit from. There was also the added advantage that the D300s captures reds a lot better than the D200, although sadly it turns out that comes at the expense of its ability to see green properly.

The other good news was a breakthrough with my knee injury at the end of April, thanks to an osteopath who listened to me where my consultant had ignored the symptoms I’d reported. I still couldn’t get far, which forced me to switch my Merthyr Road photography from long walks through the countryside to short bursts in urban areas where the density of opportunity was much greater … but at least I could get out with the new camera.

The highlight for publishing in May was our first return to the Eden Project in several years. On arrival, I was both stunned and secretly very pleased to find that they still use one of my photos for their guidebook. It was a beautiful day, and an inspiring one, but one that left me with a dilemma for much of the year, after I snagged what I felt was far and away the single best photo I’d ever taken.

June saw a shift with my photography, with me starting to publish more new photos and a reduction in me featuring older photos that had already been published on Flickr. I was starting to enjoy the challenge of taking enough new photos to keep the desktop wallpaper project going, inspired largely by the monthly competitions that the Guardian Cardiff folks started to run via their Twitter group. I felt that I was learning to find more and more photos in smaller areas, making the most of the limited mobility I had. And the light was proving to be surprisingly excellent too, which helped enormously!

The highlight in June was our trip up to the Pont yr Daf bridge, which had been uncovered from its watery grave by the hot weather and drought. Being able to walk around the bed of the reservoir was one thing, but being able to make our way along the retaining wall and peer into the sluice gates left high and dry was quite another.

All in all, May and June proved to be two thoroughly enjoyable months out and about with the camera, resulting in many more photos than I was able to publish at the time.

The Best Of The Photos

Junction 32

The Greenway

Bluebells

Past, Present and Future in Cardiff: Part 2

Lost TVR Route To The Docks

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

Ribblehead Viaduct

2008 Review: Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Weee Man of Waste

Dock Office and Rope, Rainforest Biodome

Core Roof

Carvings in the Rainforest Biodome

Your Journey Continues This Way

Rope Fence In The Rainforest Biodome

Outside The Core

Log and Swamp

Steetley Magnesite

Steetley Magnesite

Steetley Magnesite

Railings On The Taff

Wet Lights

Keep Clear

Traffic Control On The New Bridge

Open Monday at 1pm

Pont yr Daf Revealed By Drought

Maltsters Arms

The Beach at Llwyn Onn

Llwyn Onn Reservoir

Cardiff Clock Tower and Trees

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering May and June.

Stu’s Reflections

Ah, May, and a parting of the ways. After many years of faithful service, my Nikon D200 was finally retired, and replaced by the excellent Nikon D300s. By now, I had a growing collection of prime lenses, and was finding out the hard way that shooting with manual focus through the viewfinder was a bit of a lottery. The D300s featured Live View, a feature Mrs H had taken great delight in showing off on her Canon EOS 500D, and which I realised my photography would really benefit from. There was also the added advantage that the D300s captures reds a lot better than the D200, although sadly it turns out that comes at the expense of its ability to see green properly.

The other good news was a breakthrough with my knee injury at the end of April, thanks to an osteopath who listened to me where my consultant had ignored the symptoms I’d reported. I still couldn’t get far, which forced me to switch my Merthyr Road photography from long walks through the countryside to short bursts in urban areas where the density of opportunity was much greater … but at least I could get out with the new camera.

The highlight for publishing in May was our first return to the Eden Project in several years. On arrival, I was both stunned and secretly very pleased to find that they still use one of my photos for their guidebook. It was a beautiful day, and an inspiring one, but one that left me with a dilemma for much of the year, after I snagged what I felt was far and away the single best photo I’d ever taken.

June saw a shift with my photography, with me starting to publish more new photos and a reduction in me featuring older photos that had already been published on Flickr. I was starting to enjoy the challenge of taking enough new photos to keep the desktop wallpaper project going, inspired largely by the monthly competitions that the Guardian Cardiff folks started to run via their Twitter group. I felt that I was learning to find more and more photos in smaller areas, making the most of the limited mobility I had. And the light was proving to be surprisingly excellent too, which helped enormously!

The highlight in June was our trip up to the Pont yr Daf bridge, which had been uncovered from its watery grave by the hot weather and drought. Being able to walk around the bed of the reservoir was one thing, but being able to make our way along the retaining wall and peer into the sluice gates left high and dry was quite another.

All in all, May and June proved to be two thoroughly enjoyable months out and about with the camera, resulting in many more photos than I was able to publish at the time.

The Best Of The Photos

Junction 32

The Greenway

Bluebells

Past, Present and Future in Cardiff: Part 2

Lost TVR Route To The Docks

The Fountains Of Callaghan Square

Water Feature In Callaghan Square

Ribblehead Viaduct

2008 Review: Glamorgan Heritage Coast

Weee Man of Waste

Dock Office and Rope, Rainforest Biodome

Core Roof

Carvings in the Rainforest Biodome

Your Journey Continues This Way

Rope Fence In The Rainforest Biodome

Outside The Core

Log and Swamp

Steetley Magnesite

Steetley Magnesite

Steetley Magnesite

Railings On The Taff

Wet Lights

Keep Clear

Traffic Control On The New Bridge

Open Monday at 1pm

Pont yr Daf Revealed By Drought

Maltsters Arms

The Beach at Llwyn Onn

Llwyn Onn Reservoir

Cardiff Clock Tower and Trees

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It’s that time of year again, when I look back at 2010 through the lens of my camera … covering March and April.

Stu’s Reflections

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 …

The Best Of The Photos

Anthropogenic Crap

The Magic Roundabout

The Line Of Light

Morning Across The Taff

Penarth Pier (alternate version)

The Stone

Unity - The Pontypridd Sculpture

Pontypridd From The Common

The Largest Glass Floor In Europe

Graffiti Inside The Treforest Tin Works

Unity

Yellow Quarry Tipper Lorry

Bridge Over The Glamorganshire Canal At Pont-y-dderwen

We Are Not Amused Either

King Penguin In All Its Glory

Copyright (c) Stuart Herbert. Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Photography: Merthyr Road | Daily Desktop Wallpaper | 25×9 | Twitter.

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