It's tradition to make a New Years Resolution, you can share mine if you like :-)

01st January 2016

3am EDIT: I've just watched the Jules Holland Hootenanny and realized how many of the artists on the show I've been lucky to photograph.... then I got hooked by the BBC coverage of Glastonbury 2015..... MASSIVE & MAGNIFICENT... and I want to photograph it :-0

So to the Blog>.................

I warn you, this is going to ramble.

It's New Years eve and inevitably, like so many of my previous Blogs, it'll be late by the time I manage to upload this update. Also, as is often the case, I've partaken in a couple of pints of Real Ale and a few glasses of red wine. (3am EDIT.... add a couple of Whisky's to that list too). What could possibly go wrong!

I'm sitting here at years end (I guess like many others) thinking both about the year that is about to become history together with the future... 2016, here we come.

These moments of contemplation will always be individual and personal. But allow me to share my own thoughts.

Inevitably my mind goes back through the previous busy year of photography. Once again I have enjoyed almost every moment of my 2015 photographic year.

But things could always have been done differently... and certainly there is always room to improve and change. So that begs the question 'What could I have done differently and where did I go wrong?'

So I will allow myself to expose (nice little photographic reference there!) some of my photographic failings to you, just as long as you promise not to tell anyone else!

So where did I fail?

Well, just yesterday, I was updating a picture gallery for one of my favorite local bands... Thee Jenerators. THIS IS A LINK TO THE GALLERY

The latest gig I photographed them at was a photographers nightmare. When you combine a band that will not stand still for a moment together with light levels akin to candlelight it will always be a challenge.

I'm pleased to say that I ended up with quite a few keepers (33 out of the 49 pics taken), but could I have done better?

My personal 'style' of photography encompasses taking as few pics as I possibly can (born lazy, eh). I try and limit the shutter presses to the peak moments of action. My belief is that you give yourself a massive editing workload by being 'trigger happy'.

This was highlighted for me during 2015 when I shot an indoor sporting event alongside an ambitious young local 'photog'. He was using his camera in machine gun mode and must have gone home with 1000+ pics. I took 251 and had 170 keepers after the cull.

I have also had this experience whilst working off-island alongside top pro motorsport and festival 'togs. Some, but by no means all, fire off endless pics - seemingly with the idea that 'One of 'em has to be a keeper'! So maybe it's me who is completely wrong on this but one thing I'm sure about is that my editing time is a lot shorter than theirs!

But back to my point. I still think that restraint is a good thing. I believe that I should consider the timing and composition of each image before I press the shutter release button.

Even after taking this stance the final part of the photographic process is still to come... the edit. This is the time extra discipline and ruthlessness is needed and I think I'm failing in this area and could complete most assignments to a better standard by taking a less 'precious' view of my pics during the edit.

Although I attempt to restrain myself at the capture stage I then go on to 'fail' when it comes to the edit. I think I'm not ruthless enough when deleting the rubbish.

So let me take one step back, I mentioned that I've just updated the Thee Jenerators Gallery. This led me to be distracted by looking through some of the old pics in the Thee Jenerators gallery. Some going back five years. This was quite enlightening.

Remember that I said that Thee Jenerators were one of my favorite bands. This is because they take 'performance' beyond simply standing behind a microphone.

This then is where my lessons started and my current 'mantra' of trying to be vicious with my picture editing revels itself as still needing a bit (OK a lot) of work!

There are quite a few pics in the gallery which, I think, capture the full character and performance of this energetic band... but too many pics have crept in that are nothing more than average... or worse. These should never have seen the light of day... or the Internet! Thankfully most of them are from several years ago, including the 5 year old example below. Maybe this proves that I am getting a bit better at what I'm doing ;-)

It's clear that I still have loads to learn but take this New Years tip from me and short-cut your own scholarship. You can borrow my own New Years resolution that 'In 2016 I will try and make my picture edits more ruthless'. The delete button on the keyboard is there for a good reason..... to help us improve the quality of our work.

I'm resisting the urge to delete my 'fails' from the Thee Jenerators gallery to give you the chance to see what I am talking about here. I'd love to know which pics you think are the 'fails'. Please let me know what you think and we can compare notes.... This is my e-mail CLICK HERE TO E-MAIL ME.

You can be as ruthless with me as I like... I need the help ;-)

Oh, and one final tip from me (for FREE).... and it's one that I use myself sometimes.

I still have some old 1GB cards that only hold 36 pictures. It really focuses your mind when you shoot with one of those - just like it did when I started taking pics on real film and it cost money with every click!!

3.15am EDIT: Time for bed I think ;-)