2018: The Year in Review

Having just read, and thoroughly enjoyed reading 2018: A photographic-retrospective, written by our Maltese friend Johann, I write this, my very own retrospective for the year. It has been a cracking year for photography to be honest, especially that I am finding a good pace with it currently.

We haven’t travelled all that far with Rome being our main trip back in September but we have pulled together some great images over the course of the year. However picking highlights is never easy because I find I start getting drawn in to the process too much, so I have had a flick through both the WordPress Media Library and my catalogue of Lightroom images, to see what I can come up with.

One thing I will say is that the year started late, in the photography sense of the word at least and I took a break from blogging for quite awhile, resuming the process in the Summer. I had my reasons for this and at times it is hard to maintain a level of good quality output. 

It all started with the purchase of a shiny new toy…

I have for many years been an ardent fan of Nikon but decided to switch to Sony and purchased my A7RIII, a full-frame, mirrorless camera. If truth be told, I was going to have to switch to full-frame from the APS-C format anyway, but after watching many reviews online, it became apparent that Sony were leading the way with cameras that packed a serious punch both for stills and video.

I don’t regret the switch although I am still using just one lens at the time of writing this article and deciding which ones to get next as and when I’ve got the funds for them. Macro and 50mm prime lenses are high on the list, especially with some wedding work to consider in March. That is another story, for another time.

I digress, slightly, anyway back to the story of 2018…

Light and shadow

May 2018: My camera had just arrived in the post that week, courtesy of Wex Photographic who are my favourite online retailer for camera kit. I had played with it at home a little bit but needed to take it for a walk! So one day after work had finished, I hopped in the car and headed for the South Coast. I took a load of photos whilst playing with the options, working out the various focussing modes, fiddling with the vibration reduction features, shooting through the electronic viewfinder and getting excited about the big plus points of mirrorless. Yes you can see the DOF change with the aperture as you change it and my mind was blown.

The photo was one of many I took on this trip but I like it’s elements, the light and the shadow. If it had been a flat lighted day or perhaps a different hour, it would have been fairly lacklustre. Funny how a bit of great light can transform a photo.

The experimental shot

On my way home that night, the twilight sky was crystal clear and indeed our weather at this point was on the up, it was at the start of the amazing Summer we had here in the UK. I decided I wanted to capture something a bit different, so I pulled over into a lay-by, kept my headlights on and voila! I captured this shot and was impressed by how the cameras meter nailed it exactly as I saw the image at that moment.

Shiny Jaguar XE R-Sport

June 2018: I love my car and lease it through my company directly from Jaguar. I had just been to the hat Fair in Winchester and I can remember the temperatures were in the 30’s this day. I had gone back to the carpark to pick up my tripod to shoot some video. I was distracted by the reflections on the bodywork of my car. I had cleaned it that day! So with the tripod to aid me, I captured a few images.

This photo caused quite a conversation over on my Facebook Page with some people suggesting I adjust the colours, to desaturate the greys and accentuate the reds and crop it more heavily. I took their advice and they were right. I am getting a new pro printer soon and eager to put this one up on the wall at home.

Take creative risks

August 2018: RHS Wisley is one of our favourite places to visit and we are members, have been for many years as it happens. In the case of this image I deliberately de-focussed (if such a word exists?) to create this soft abstract image of an Agapanthus flower. It was also taken from below the flower for added quirkiness. So break the rules. I found the hinged LCD screen on my camera useful for this sort of approach and then started playing with it quite a lot. I would share some of the other images I took that day but I took too many of them and I am trying to be selective for this article!

 Exbury House

August 2018: Exbury Gardens, wow, what a place, first time we’ve been and I’ve already earmarked it for Spring 2019, so that we get to see the Azaleas and Rhododendrons in full-bloom but in high Summer it still was glorious! The setting on the banks of the Beaulieu River with plenty of paths to walk and ornamental ponds to enjoy. 

Once again I had a few good photos from this trip and some others that weren’t that pleasing to me. I struggle with high summer, for the light is way too harsh for most of the day. It is nice to just chill out in and do other things to be honest. I could have jumped in the river that day or one of the ponds. Problem was, a lot of them had dried out with the drought!

The Priests enjoying an ice-cream break

September 2018: We went to Rome – We did visit some of the most famous places and when you go to the Vatican, you take photos of Priests outside McDonald’s don’t you? I did also take photos of The Vatican City, of course but for me photography is more about the way you as a person see things. I love street photography and in fact could happily dedicate myself to it but I am terrified of over specialising. I also love Black & White together with the process I go through to convert images to this format. A touch of the Cartier-Bresson perhaps and “The Decisive moment”.

Film Noir: Winchester

October 2018: I stick with the black and white theme and the whole idea of seeing something different in well known locations. Just behind me was Winchester Cathedral, I took a nice photo of it indeed but instead I chose this one as a highlight from that day. I like it, it conveys the coldness of the day, the onset of Winter and something of an old fashioned Victorian feel. I almost feel compelled to overlay some Hitchcock style film titles here! All it needs perhaps is a Raven perched on the light!

Not quite Autumn

Let’s inject some colour back into the page! I loved this lane, yet looking back on it, this was taken on the last day of October and Autumn was slow to arrive this year (in some places around Hampshire). It was a location I had earmarked for the Autumn colours but somehow they eluded me. Never mind, shall try again next year but I still like the photo nonetheless, since roads leading off into the distance make for great subjects.


November 2018: Autumn did arrive and it looked fabulous, especially at Stourhead this year. I posted some of these on Instagram and lo and behold, so did a million other people. It is clearly a popular place, perhaps you could call it an insta-hotspot? Joking aside, we will definitely go back and do some of the other walks that are on offer there. We did a lap of the lake via the Grottos which are well worth a visit if you haven’t done so before.

Tina in action

Tina has joined the photography party this year and has been taking some great photos. We do that thing where if one of us is taking a photo of something, you avoid taking the same photo which is very funny! I was told off when we visited Stourhead for forgetting to pack both cameras in my bag. I felt terrible! Husband failure indeed. 

The above photo was taken on Hayling Island quite recently and we re-discovered a glorious little corner called The Kench, spotting Avocet, Egret and other wonderful birds. The sunset was spectacular in the end and it’s on the list for a re-visit at some point in time.

Hayling Island: Boats, I love boats don’t you?

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little collection of photos in this article? I have had fun going back through these and look forward to sharing more in the future as we explore more places around the UK and beyond….

4 thoughts on “2018: The Year in Review

  • Great set of photos Nick, looks like the Sony really kick-started your photography 😀. I particularly liked the Winchester photo, it’s so moody… Thanks for the mention, too!

    • Thank you David. Exbury is just on the edge of the New Forest and on the banks of the Beaulieu River. I think it is now closed until March and remains open until about October. I plan to go back in May if we can.

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