Updated: Jan 1
We really went through it this year, didn’t we? 2020, the year that gave us new terms like social distancing, self-isolation and lockdown. The country has been split into tiers and for most of us, socialising, work meetings and seeing our families has moved onto Zoom. But for me, there have also been positives this year, like my newly renewed connection with the ocean, some personal projects and some great new photography partnerships. So here it is, my 2020 Round Up.
I started the year with my favourite awards ceremony with the Guild of Photographers. What a way to start hey, its always a pleasure being involved with the photographic community and a bunch of wonderful people I now call friends. I even got to present to my peers, showing them a selection of my images and talking about what I do and how much I love what I do. Straight after that, we flew out to Gran Canaria for a bit of rest and exploration. Staying at a yoga retreat and eco village in the mountains meant that it was a perfect getaway to be able to explore new places, revisit spots I had been before and join the yoga sessions each morning. Just as the sun rose over the mountain, we would begin our session. Perfect.
On our return, things were only just beginning to get weird, with a new virus hitting the headlines; Covid-19. It was early days and we were carrying on as normal. Then suddenly one day in March, we were told to work from home and that was that - been home ever since! Everyone knows how the rest went there, so I don't want to dwell on the negatives, but a 2020 roundup can't really ignore what the whole world has experienced, right? It brought us all together whilst also keeping us apart. Its been a strange old time.... at least I've had my beautiful wife by my side throughout. Not forgetting Buster and Ady too of course!
Looking at the positives from the spring/summer lockdown, I have this time to thank for a number of achievements. Firstly I got out on my bike more than ever. Keeping local and cycling everywhere with my camera gear on my back meant that I revisited scenes I had photographed so many times before, but it felt like it was with fresh eyes. I really fell in love with my local area all over again. The weather was absolutely stunning and living right by the beach meant I would cycle to the sea almost every single morning. I invested in a macro lens to make the most of seeing the tiny world. The bugs and newly formed flower buds were very obliging! Around early April I started taking a dip in the sea and this became such a wonderful habit, its something I am still continuing to this day. We are in the depths of winter and I am still in my swimming costume. Fully embracing the cold and loving it. I would never have expected to still be doing it over winter, but I am determined to see this through! I've made so many new friends and found a wonderful community of like minded dippers from the Cold Water Collective to the Bournemouth Sea Dippers. People from all walks of life, coming together with the same joy and love for the ocean. Its a pretty special community and one I feel honoured to be a part of. There's nothing quite like watching the sunrise from the depths of the water. Which brings me on to something else which expanded by horizons photographically - I purchased a Go Pro Hero 8 to be able to capture my experiences and document seascapes from within. It has been so much fun! I then decided I wanted to also be able to use my Fujifilm XT3 from the water too so invested in a Aquapac housing. I'd like to go for something more robust but these things cost a fair amount of money and its hard to justify when my income from photography had really taken a hit. No weddings, family shoots or landscape workshops... so a budget housing it was! Actually its done me really well so far. Rather than underwater photography, its great for shooting from the surface, the ripples on the water at sunrise, or the surfing community riding the waves. For anything underwater, I'll stick with the Go Pro for now!
A personal project which was more popular that I could have hope for was the Two Metre Movement // People in Quarantine. During the national lockdown (you know, the first one, the good one!) I spent my lunchbreaks walking the streets of Southbourne capturing people in quarantine - on their doorsteps. How often does a photographer get to document the times we live in, in such a monumental way? It kept me busy and kept me inspired. I got to combine it with Busters daily walk too! Everyone was a winner. You can view the full blog and all images here.
I've been lucky enough to squeeze in a couple of trips out of the county inbetween lockdowns. One day in Devon for some autumn goodness along the river and a week in Cornwall for my birthday back in October. I always find the weather is really nice around my birthday. Made it perfect for exploring the coves of Cornwall. We even managed some snorkeling too!
With camera clubs being unable to meet in person it meant most have moved to Zoom for their presentations, which has been great for me. I've been able to visit and present to a few from the comfort of my home. Its taken me international, with a virtual trip over to Cork in Ireland!
I've had the time to write a couple of articles which have been published in Dorset Life (January issue out now!) and 64 Magazine (Issue 2 coming soon!) which has been absolutely amazing. Nothing quite like seeing your work in print to be shared with the masses! I've also done a few online interviews, including one for Wilkinson Cameras which you might find an interesting read by clicking here!
With everything being online now, I embarked on a college course and started my certification in new business start up. I am about half way through and I really hope by the time I finish it will give me the skill set to push my photography business forward!
Back in October I discovered my results from a couple of competition entries. My London image, Rushing By, was shortlisted in Landscape Photographer of the Year! I also had success with Fotoholics, whereby I had won Landscape Photographer of the Year and the runner up award also! I couldn't believe my luck!
Even more exciting than the LPOTY shortlisting was being invited onto the 2021 judging panel. I'm over the moon that Charlie Waite and the team value my images in such a regard that I will have such an input next year. A new challenge - one I am very excited by!
November saw a beautiful day on a really personal level, Carol & I decided to upgrade our civil partnership to a full blown marriage certificate. We even had a photoshoot in the sea... I mean, where else would we do it really? Back in 2011 the law decided we weren't allowed to officially get married - seems crazy right? To us though, it made no difference. Love is love, after all!
After using the Fujifilm system for the last couple of years and having regular contact with the team, I have embarked on a new partnership. I have been testing a new lens and spent the day with Fuji and a videographer in order to create footage that is coming out in the New Year sometime. Once this is released I'll be sure to share this with you. The Fuji team are just like a family and feels so great to be working with a team I value in such high regard. I'll even be speaking for them at the 2021 Photography Show so that's something I need to get working on.... so watch this space!
Also, having been keeping up the swimming all year, its meant we have just completed our first Christmas day swim! Which was the most beautiful morning. Filled with warmth and sunshine - despite being actually pretty cold! hahaa. Here's my fave shot of that morning... one to treasure forever...
Well, if you made it this far then massive thanks for reading! This blog has been extremely therapeutic for me and really helped me feel a sense of gratitude for all that 2020 has shown me. From the sea to my photography projects, its been a very different year and one that has shown me new directions and opportunities. I am massively grateful to every person who has bought a calendar or a print, or shown me some love online by saying hey, or leaving me nice comments on my posts. You are all wonderful people!
Here's to something good for everyone in 2021 - take care all and I wish you a very happy new year.