Photographic ambitions for 2012

With the year drawing to a close and a new year looming ominously on the horizon rather than reflecting on the year past I’m going to look forward to the new year and the new photographic challenges I’m going to set myself, some of these I might achieve, others will be dependent on the full co-operation of Mother Nature but if I tick all these off I’ll be a happy man come this time next year.

1. To capture the Aurora

The night sky has become quite a fascination in recent months, the increased hours of darkness seem to make you more aware of what’s “up there” and without a doubt the Aurora must be one of the most magical of these night-time phenomenons. If I lived in Iceland I suppose I’d be quite blasé about photographing natures greatest light show but it’s not something you get in Central Scotland a lot. Now I’m a bit more up on how to make an educated guess on when it might happen this year will be my first attempt at really giving it a go. Locations might prove difficult near Edinburgh but I’m intending on a scouting mission to see where further North I could reasonably get to from Edinburgh at short notice and even North Berwick/Dunbar area seems possible so who knows, all I need now is a decent magnetic storm!

2. The Milky Way

Sticking with the night sky, this is one I’m looking to tick off the list sooner rather than later. Having had a few goes at capturing the Milky Way from up in the Pentlands with minor success a trip to the dark skies area of Galloway Forest Park will be on in the not too distant future. The Milky Way is visible to the naked eye in the dark of Galloway so it should easy with the camera, shouldn’t it?

Stars over Harlaw
Best attempt at the Milky Way from the still too light Pentland Hills

3. More attempts at star trails

Despite knowing the theory behind star trail shots for a long time I’d never actually tried it until a couple of weeks ago and there is a massive sense of satisfaction when you start to blend those stacks of images and see the pic grow in front of you. Aim for the year though is to try and “star trail” as many of the Edinburgh landmarks as I can, obviously some are easier then others due to light pollution but it’ll be an interesting project if nothing else.

Forth Bridges Pano Star Trails
Star trails at the Forth Bridges

4. Lightning

This has to be the year I get the lightning shot. We had some cracking storms this year but every time I was caught out without the camera or my storm chasing skills took me in the wrong direction. The nearest I got was capturing the huge anvil cloud that hammered Edinburgh in the summer causing widespread local flooding. My aim though, has never been to capture lightning from the garden or anywhere mundane, oh no. I want it in a classic Edinburgh shot so you might we see me heading to Calton Hill if the skies start to rumble.

Edinburgh Storm 8 July 2011
The storm that hammered Edinburgh retreating over the Pentland Hills

5. Better Fireworks

I really enjoy fireworks photography, it’s just a pity there’s only really a few brief chances a year to have a go at it, the only chance I really had to experiment was the 30 minutes of the Festival Fireworks. Despite some decent results I still feel it’s all a bit hit and miss so this year I’m going to try and step up a gear and put all the experience of the last few years together and see what I can come up with!

Festival Fireworks 1
Edinburgh Festival Fireworks 2011

6. Extreme Macro

As the summer arrives and the insects become plentiful my attention generally turns to macro photography. I really learned a lot last year with regards to using flash in macro and the results showed but what I really hanker for is to get REALLY close in. The Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro is a great lens but 1:1 is no longer enough, I want magnification and it seems reversing/coupling rings are the way to go along with focus stacking. Fiddly and frustrating but my god, the results when you get it right!

Ready to Launch
One of my better macro attempts over last summer

7. More Street Photography

I’ve really enjoyed my Real Edinburgh photo project this year. Wandering the streets of the city capturing everyday life has both been enjoyable and eye opening and despite the dark nights doing their best to slow the project down I intend to keep it moving through the year, it’s been too enjoyable not to.

So that’s mine, some things I’ve never done, others I want to improve at. Why not leave a comment and let us know what you want to get from your photography in 2012?

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4 responses

  1. Hi Grant just like to say I have enjoyed looking at your photographs and hope you achieve as many if not all your challenges in 2012. One of mine is to actually get some of my clients to buy into some of your images on future design assignments as I think they show off Edinburgh in a totally different light! All the very best Grant and look forward to more fantastic images of Edinburgh in 2012

    December 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

  2. Oooohhh…i can’t wait to see your take on the first two items you mention! Happy New Year!!!

    December 29, 2011 at 6:45 am

  3. Pingback: In search of the Aurora Borealis « Photosofedinburgh's Blog

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