A new year – looking back on 2015

Happy New Year!

2015 is now history, so it’s time to post a few comments on my photography during last 12 months, and think about 2016.

I don’t want to dwell on it, but 2015 was not all that great for me, as I’ve been quite restricted due to heart problems. At least that may serve as an excuse for my rather feeble photos! I had an enjoyable day in January at Slimbridge with FotoBuzz and Andy Rouse.

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But since then I’ve only managed one significant photographic workshop during the year, which was at LPH (Lakeland Photographic Holidays), where I have enjoyed so many holidays in the last 10 years plus – actually, I’ve now lost track of how many times I’ve been there! My 2015 visit was early in the year, in March, and it was the day after the heart problem was first diagnosed, so apologies to LPH and those who were there if I seemed a bit stressed – when they diagnosed the problem they didn’t really want me to go on holiday, but I persuaded them that it would do me good, and waiting a week longer before I started on the medication would not make much difference!

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With only the one major photographic holiday, and restricted mobility for various reasons, not to mention visits to hospitals, my photographs have mainly been local. Even visits to the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Zoo, both barely a mile from home, have been much less frequent than in the past.

 

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Above: BCLM

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Above and below: Dudley Zoo

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I’ve taken a lot more photographs of flowers this year, as they are more accessible in the garden and the park.

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Birds in the garden were also a photographic subject several times, though they are very reluctant to come to feeders nearer the house, and even with the 810mm equivalent lens on the Nikon 1 V3 they are really too far away to get a decent picture.

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I did manage a few visits to Ashwood Nurseries, Highgate Common and Himley Plantation, though at times I’ve had to rely on friends for transport.

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Hellebores are a speciality at Ashwood Nurseries

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Quite creative grafitti on a wall in Himley Plantation

Once again we put together a calendar for the local church, St Edmund’s, and they managed to sell some copies to members of the congregation to make a small contribution to funds.

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Father Andrew, 100 years old, was the priest at least once during the year

What of the photographic gear – cameras, lenses etc? Well, the most used single camera was the original Olympus E-M5, though later in the year it was largely replaced by the mark 2 version. The E-M1 was also used quite frequently.

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The E-M5ii had a difficult first 2 weeks, sliding off the tripod for a 5 foot fall onto a road at the BCLM. Olympus repaired it remarkably quickly, so I was without it and the equally new 12-40mm lens for less than 2 weeks. It didn’t take an Olympus to the Lake District for my one photographic holiday though, and it is the Fujifilm XT1 and Nikon 1 V3 which made that trip which were the other most used cameras during the year.

At one stage I was expecting to spend some time in hospital, and so I bought a Microsoft Surface 3 Pro to give me maximum portability while still providing access to Lightroom and Photoshop. The anticipated stay in hospital didn’t happen, but I’ve found the Surface very useful and quite capable of running anything I need, albeit rather slowly – iPads are OK, but of course you can’t run standard Windows/OSX software on them, which makes them fine for consuming existing content, but not for photo editing etc.

I’m afraid I didn’t manage to do much with this blog during 2015, but I did manage to post on the Photo Diary section most days, and I’ve also been using Blipfoto every day – even when I was in hospital for a few days. Today, 2nd January 2016, is the day I should achieve 4 years’ worth of photos (if only I can find a subject on a very dark, wet and miserable day!) – I’m afraid that I’ve accidentally missed 3 or 4 days during the 4 years. I certainly hope Blipfoto is going to survive – they need more funding at the moment – and it has helped to keep me active thinking of subjects each day. Even if it does fold, I’ll try to keep posting in my Photo Diary each day, despite the difficulty of finding subjects at present.

Best wishes to anyone who reads this blog, and I’ll try to post a bit more often in the future.

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About Mike Hessey

I'm a BOF (Boring Old Fellow) and MOS (Miserable Old Soul) whose main interests are photography, cycling, walking and computers. Regrettably recent problems with my legs, back and heart have reduced the cycling and walking.
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