1 Jan 2016

My 2015 in Photographs

I didn't managed to focus on my photography as much as I'd have liked in 2015 (had to get a day-job half way through) and didn't managed to fit in many trips (two to Iceland, a long weekend in Bruges, a 12-day beer tour to Japan in the rainy season and a couple of long, grey weekends in the UK). I did buy some lighting equipment and taught myself how to use off-camera flash, so that was some progress on the photography front! As per last year I thought I'd collate some of my favourite shots of the year. Here are some of my highlights from each month.

I spent a couple of days at my parents' house in late January, and wandered down to the Chess Valley on a couple of mornings. The English landscape can be so stunning and serene, and looks particularly lovely covered in frost (something we're missing right now!).

The wonderful Chess Valley near Chenies

Hoar frost on rose hips on an incredible January morning in the Chess Valley
I went to Iceland a little earlier than usual this year, in mid-February - to see if it would be any different from late March. It wasn't really - quite a bit of snow, some dreadful weather de-railing a few plans, but a far more sociable sunrise time (so much more sleep). I had some pretty good weather and northern lights, and all in all it was a successful trip. The kind people at Tiffen had given me a few filters to try out, which is always nice.

A patch of sun lights up a tourist on Jökulsárlón Beach

Jökulsárlón Lagoon

Iceberg still-life on Jökulsárlón Beach

When the sun comes out over Jökulsárlón lagoon it can be quite spectacular

Northern Lights over Hali, south-east Iceland

A beautiful, peaceful morning at Jökulsárlón Beach
My favourite tree in Iceland. Yes, I have a favourite tree...

Icelandic horses are just so pretty!

Another moody scene in Iceland, taken near Hvalnes with my Tiffen Apex 10-stop filter

Teddy bear face in the ice at Hvalnes beach

Imposing mountains at Hvalnes in rather nasty weather, using the Apex filter again

Waves falling over the rocks at Hvalnes Beach on a horrid day

Seaweed on Hvalnes Beach

Using the Apex 10-stop filter again over the dunes at Stokksnes
One of my favourite shots of the year - water trails over pebbles at Stokksnes (made National Geographic Photo of the Day on their website!)

Waves at Jökulsárlón Beach; another favourite

There are reindeer in south-east Iceland. Funny looking chaps. The 100-400mm lens I hired helped to get a little closer

Sunrise at Reynisfjara beach. It was so cold I actually thought my fingers were going to fall off when I got back to the car

In March we revisited Bruges and its surrounds. Some nice beer, a lovely cycle along the canal to Damme again and some more nice beer.

Trees reflected in the canal near Damme - just love those canals and cycling along them

Tasty beer at De Garre in Bruges

Canal at dusk in Bruges
Delicious sugar pancakes at Damme in the sunshine overlooking the canal. Nom nom nom...

A woman cycles along the cobbled streets of Bruges - pretty timeless shot!

No travel, but played around with a few macro shots of fruit and smoke, before heading out to the countryside to capture the bluebells.

A macro shot of a slice of lime, backlit

My first attempt at photographing incense smoke
A carpet of bluebells in Philipshill Woods, near Chorleywood, where I grew up - how did I miss that in my childhood?
I made another trip to the bluebells of Philipshill Woods for a photoshoot with my friend Alli and her baby Stella.
Stella in the bluebells of Philipshill Woods
Bluebell blur and new leaves in Philipshill Woods, Chorleywood

The other highlight of the month was getting my first ever magazine cover printed! It was for the Beverage Journal (a booze-industry publication in Maryland, US), via a brief on Imagebrief. Here's a screenshot:

My first-ever magazine cover. Hopefully more next year!
We took at last-minute trip to Japan, in the rainy season, just before I started a new (proper) job. We'd been before together, and it was a wonderful trip back there, enjoying many of the local beers, as well as the incredible sights and sites. The weather was generally dreadful, but fortunately there's loads to do (and eat, and drink) even when it's raining and grey.

Miyajima, near Hiroshima, helped to stave off the jetlag

On a miserable day, but still striking - Kinkaku-ji temple, Kyoto (the crowds are behind me - it's a lot less peaceful than it looks here) 
The big bamboo walk at Arashiyama, Kyoto - not quite as impressive in the flesh with hundreds of other people

My favourite temple complex in Kyoto - Fushimi-Inari - worth heading up the hill and waiting until the crowds die out
The "snow monkeys" at Jigokudani, near Nagano - so human!

The "snow monkeys" at Jigokudani, near Nagano - good time to see the babies
The "snow monkeys" at Jigokudani, near Nagano - just chillin' out in the hot spring, even in summer

Difficult to visit (you have to be up very very early) but worth the effort - the tuna market at Tsukiji in Tokyo

Frozen tuna whisked off on a cart at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Salarymen on their way home in Tokyo. I thought Londoners were a hard-drinking lot  - appears the Japanese are too
The view from our room at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo (a one-night splurge) - probably the nicest hotel I've ever stayed in (er, definitely)

Shibuya crossing, Tokyo - didn't get the best vantage point - a reason to return...

Buildings and trees, near the Imperial palace in Tokyo - loved the juxtaposition
I started my new job at the beginning of July, so from then on the photography took a back seat. I occasionally take my 5Diii to work in the City with me, but not very often.

I love the mish-mash of old and new in the City of London. In 2016 I plan to do a bit more on my "mish-mash" project

Who says you can't take photos in harsh light? Sometimes I think it works...
No trips, but a couple of photo-shoots in the City, again.

I do love the Lloyds Building. It's rather over-shadowed by its neighbours now...

Guys with pints and the Shard on a lovely summer's night (English salarymen...)
Not my favourite new building, at all, but actually can look quite good from certain angles: the Walkie Talkie

The City of London skyline has become a bit of a strange mish-mash of old and new and weird
The highlight of September was probably the blood moon (lunar eclipse) - another one! The previous year was a bit of a disaster, but I was a little better prepared for this one (it was also much easier, taking the shot from my front path). I played around with the results and made lots of silly patterns (I still think they're quite cool).

Totality of the lunar eclipse, taken from my front path on a luckily clear night in London

The stages of the lunar eclipse, patched together. I went back to bed before the moon returned
We had a weekend in the Peak District at the beginning of October to celebrate out wedding anniversary, but the weather and light was terrible, so no highlights there! I did a few more shoots in London, including a 'sunset' at Richmond Park (awful flat light too) and a time-lapse day for Trigger Trap again (global this time - have a look here - some of the clips along the River Thames are mine!).

A little kissing action in Richmond Park (I saw more action, but who wants to see deer having sex!)

At the end of the month I returned to my beloved Iceland for another 10-day trip.

Steamy river at Nesjavellir, in the Golden Circle area of Iceland (brilliant road to get there!)

A serene scene at the southern end of Þingvallavatn

My favourite rocks in Iceland. Yes, as well as a favourite mountain and tree I have favourite rocks in Iceland too. 
The rest of my Iceland trip. And there were some magical moments, most of them on Jökulsárlón beach.

Photo time at Jökulsárlón lagoon at sunset

Sunrise at Jökulsárlón Beach, my favourite place in the world

Sunrise at Jökulsárlón Beach (I love the wave patterns in this shot!)

Sunrise at Jökulsárlón Beach
A patch of sun over the icebergs in Jökulsárlón lagoon

A touch of northern lights over Jökulsárlón lagoon

A lovely sunrise over the loveliest of beaches - Jökulsárlón
Another of my year's real favourites - the pebbles on Jökulsárlón beach and their shadows - out of this world!

Pink iceberg in the morning light of Jökulsárlón beach

Pretty damned impressive northern lights show at Hali

Sunrise on my favourite beach, Jökulsárlón

Trees between Jökulsárlón lagoon and Höfn

Even in crappy weather Iceland is still stunning

Stokksnes looks better in amazing light, but it's still pretty impressive

Another of the year's real favourites - I took a few hundred shots of the yellow cabin at Stafafell and joined them together to get some awesome star trail shots. The northern lights came out to play too. 
A wet day that may have permanently left my Canon 5Diii with water damage. It was gorgeous though and beat sitting in the cabin (again)...
I just LOVE driving in Iceland!
Finally a patch of decent light at Stokksnes... just before I have to leave

Always so moody at Vík beach 
Great light driving near Hali

Visible rain (my favourite kind of rain) in the distance, over Reynisfjara beach (it soon came and hit me so I dashed back to the car - didn't want to damage my 60D too...)

Another of the year's favourite shots - the wrecked DC3 near Vík, with Pétursey in the distance bathed in light

Essence of Skógafoss

I love this waterfall - Urriðafoss
It wasn't just Iceland in November; at work I did some portrait photography sessions for people at my company, and they donated money to charity (Seeing is Believing) in return. I won't show any here, as they might not want them on my blog, but it was a great experience and a great way to make some new friends at work outside of my own department (as well as getting more experience with studio lighting and set-up).

At the end of the month we headed to Hay-on-Wye to celebrate Thanksgiving with some American friends. Rubbish weather - again! - but we did have the occasional glimpse of loveliness...

The view from our cottage near Hay-on-Wye - not too shabby (when the sun came out)

A glimpse of distant sun again in the Brecon Beacons

The photography in December was predominantly about my 30 day photo challenge, which like last year wasn't brilliant as I was quite lacking in inspiration. One subject keeps coming up again and again - my lovely cocker spaniel, Henry.

Henry looking adorable, as usual (I'm biased)
And that was 2015!