2015 in Review

Its fair to say that I have neglected this website a little during the second half of 2015. The main reason for this has been my switch of focus. Up until August I had only two outlets for my photography. Flickr being one and this website being the other. In August I added facebook to that number; which explains part of the reason for the lack of posts here. However I am getting ahead of myself a little, since it is that time of the year when we reflect on the events of the previous 12 months and look forward to a brighter future I thought I would keep the blog alive with a somewhat self indulgent missive about how my photography fared during 2015.

This time last year I made a new years resolution to get out and about with the camera more regularly than I did in 2014 – In other words exactly the same resolution as I made the previous year. So I started in earnest with visit to Saltburn by the Sea on a chilly January afternoon clad in my new cold weather gear; complete with flask and portable radio for company. I have always been faintly embarrassed by the shot I came home with that day simply because it is massively out of focus – thanks in no small part to the stiff breeze which must have moved the tripod during the long exposure. However this image was my first to be explored in flickr, something I had secretly hoped for but never really thought would happen!

It was another two weeks before I ventured out again, this time to Staithes. This was a location I had seen shot a thousand times on flickr, but I had never been there myself. I actually spent the full day there; arriving for sunrise and staying until sunset. A remarkable feat considering how small Staithes is; however the days are short at this time of year so maybe I’m not as committed as I am making out. At the end of the day; with both the sunrise and the sunset being uneventful I stuck around into the blue hour; little realising that in this case blue was to be the colour of my extremities by the time I returned to the car. Yes it was another cold one.

A week later and it was apparent that January was developing a theme of extremely cold coastal locations at outlandish hours when I rounded of the month with a trip to Steetley Pier in Hartlepool. Its true to say that I didn’t have much luck with spectacular sunsets during the month. This one was no exception so I opted instead to push the processing of the images as far as I could in Lightroom. The result was quite interesting, but I didn’t post it here until well into February.

February was the month in which I met Trey Ratcliff. Ratcliff is one of the photographers you either love or hate. I love him – and its thanks to him that I make the style of photographs I do today, so when he announced on Social Media that he was planning a photowalk around London on Valentines day I couldn’t resist quickly booking a Premier Inn and informing the wife that we wouldn’t be spending this Valentines Day in front of the TV with a Marks & Spencer meal deal. Amazingly, I got away with it (love you Di, if you are reading this 🙂 ), we had a great time even if the weather was a bit dull. So much so that we may be headed back there this Valentines day too….

Things began to tail off in March. Work commitments as ever weighed heavily on the resolution to get out with the camera more often, but I could only find time for a visit to Fountains Abbey with the Family using the English Heritage membership we had acquired on a trip to York the previous Summer.

April was a different story altogether. Bolstered by the return of the lighter evenings as the clocks went forward into British Summertime I began to take advantage of the available time after work. I took some of my most popular images of the year during the month of April including (but not limited to) Whitby Steps, Force of Nature, and Sunset at Low Force. April was one of my Favourite Months last year and I hope for another good one in 2016.

As strong as April was for me I don’t think I truly appreciated it then and I subsequently took my eye off the ball. Not really sure what happened in May to be honest (what was the weather like?), but I only took one shot and that was fairly uninspired. I do know that I discovered the vlogger Casey Neistat and through his recommendation I purchased a Canon G7X as a more portable alternative to my then Canon 1100d. I also fully intended to shoot video with it – not sure what I was thinking to be honest, cos that’s obviously not going to happen. Good little camera though and I am starting to to make more use of it and will hopefully continue to do so into 2016.

Now this is where things start to move up a notch. The year so far has unfolded against the backdrop of rumours about the imminent release of the new Sony A7R2. I was always torn between upgrading to this and the already on the market (and much cheaper) Canon 6d. With the announcement of the Sony Camera it became apparent that I could never justify the cost; especially not after factoring in the cost new lenses to go with it. So, with the help of an interest free credit card, I bought the Canon 6D and 2 Lenses (16-35mm & 24-70mm) instead and so far I have no regrets. This kick started the photography again and I revisited the very first location I went to with my Canon 1100d back in 2013 to take some pictures of the Infinity Bridge as well as a trip to Redcar to shoot the controversial Vertical Pier

The main reason I wanted to upgrade my camera in June was because of a planned trip to Lake District in July. We stayed a few days in Coniston Water, but it is at this stage that the posts on the blog begin to dry up. I had intended to post a little album of delightful lake district images here, but to be honest I didn’t get as many great shots as I was hoping for; the sunsets didn’t materialise and I was just too lazy to get up for the sunrises. And therein lies the crux of the matter you can spend as much as you like on camera equipment, but at the end of the day if you aren’t out there in the field you can’t take the picture. This is an area where I need far more discipline. I hope for better next year….

Flickr is a great tool for a photographer to showcase their images, indeed that is what it is designed for, but if you want to use it to connect with a specific audience or receive genuine heartfelt feedback then it is more miss than hit. For this reason I set up a Stephen Tierney Photography Facebook Page designed specifically to place my work in front of local people who are familiar with and have an emotional connection to the images I make. The response was swift and overwhelming. Within weeks of setting up the page it had accumulated over 100 likes, which had been my notional end-of-year target, and I had numerous queries about print sales. I have to admit to being a little bit caught out, and in fact I am still working out the details even now, but I found an online printing lab and started offering simple 9×6 prints mounted and framed.

October came around and I found a new urgency. I had been drip feeding my back catalogue of images onto the facebook page, but I was starting to run out so I needed to get out and take advantage of the burgeoning Autumn Colour and the more accessible sunrise times.

Now it is remiss of me to suggest that growth in 2015 has been entirely down to myself because that is simply not true. Without my gorgeous wife Diane I probably wouldn’t have sold a single print this year and thanks to her endevour, and her connections to the local community I suddenly found myself with a stall at a local craft fair in November as well as a display at the local library, and prints for sale in Simply flowers fairfield. Behind every successful man there stands a great woman, and that is certainly true of my missus 🙂

In true Hollywood fashion you might expect me to end this blog post with the news that December took off like Major Tim heading to the international space station and consequently I’ve quit my day job and am now a full time photographer, traveling business class around Teesside photographing sunrises and sunsets where they happen. Sadly this is not the case. I was always aware that my offering was somewhat one dimensional, not everyone wants a 9×6 print, framed or not. A great many people advised that I should do a Calendar, and I will, but that is for next year. This December was a period where the photographs were out here – I’d marketed then as much as I could but also noted that I need more variety and an easier method of ordering than simply sending a FB message. I’m working on that, so watch this space.

Wow, that’s quite a lot of words in this 140 character twage we live. If you’ve read this far than thankyou for staying with me! Overall 2015 has been an amazing year for Stephen Tierney Photography but I would not have been the case without the support of everyone who has believed in me over the year and to those people I want to say a deep, heartfelt thank you and I look forward to occasionally brightening your days with dome nice images in 2016!

Happy New Year

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