2012 in review - can't complain!

30th December 2012
In: Blog
The end of 2012 is rapidly approaching, so a quick reflection of the year for me, what happened and what's just around the corner.

John on The Alliance, a Burbage South classic

Photographically I've made had a pretty decent set of images this year. I've found a few new favourite places near to home and I was lucky enough to have a few trips further afield:
  • Family holiday to Fuerteventura - a bit of an undiscovered gem for photography.
  • Family trip to Whitby - an old favourite.
  • A couple of days on Skye for climbing and photos - its been too long since I was last up there.
  • A few days in the Lakes on my own in high summer.

The art of combining family holiday with photography.....

As usual the bulk of my landscape work has been shot on 5x4" with the Ebony. I've changed my lenses around after dropping on a few bargains - faster 90mm, different 150mm, but other than that there's not been a lot of change in terms of equipment or approach, despite the slightly unnerving news about Velvia (I do sometimes feel like I'm the only person who hasn't sold up and bought a D800!). Over the summer I also tried to take a few more climbing shots, which is something that I'd totally lost interest in a couple of years ago, but I'm starting to get back into the zone a bit more now.

The only other thing of note on the equipment front is that I did finally sell my Mamiya 645 kit and my old D70, which was long overdue! The big question is can I make it through 2013 without buying an OM-D, a Chamonix or an Arca?

Raven Tor: the laboratory of movement

In terms of climbing its been a bit of a funny year. At the start of spring I was feeling pretty strong after a few months training over the winter, and climbing well. With a new car allowing me to carry a bigger pad it meant I managed to get a few projects ticked off early in the year. Namely Spring Voyage, Brad Pit, Blind Ali's Date, all in the 7c/+ bracket. I also cleaned up an unclimbed project with Clouded Judgement at Curbar, which seemed to have been somehow overlooked. The noises I'm hearing recently is that it's been well regarded and seems to be getting a fair bit of traffic, although the mono has claimed at least one victim - word reached me that Robin Barker has completely snapped a tendon on it. I feel a bit bad about that, hope you recover quickly Rob!

As limestone season began I felt good, got an early 7c knocked off at Anston, and I was so keen I even made a video at Rubicon. Then just as it warmed up and the limestone season seemed to be get started for real the weather had other ideas and seemed to soak many of my regular crags over the crucial early summer period. This really killed my psyche for limestone, so I just pottered around the grit soloing with Scouse Dave instead - and we had a lot of good fun sessions, but nothing like the training you usually get from a proper limestone season.

So coming into this autumn and winter I've been climbing OK but not finding any time in the evenings to get indoors much, and with the fickle British weather its been very much a case of just ticking over and get a few things done when I can. I managed to work out a new sequence on Famous Grouse this autumn, so with top bit finally wired (despite having done it years ago I could never repeat it with my old beta) it only took a couple more goes to get the sitting start done.

Scouse trying hard at Baslow

In my home life I've had a few changes which coincided in autumn, making the last few months of 2012 pretty hard work!
  • New baby at the end of October
  • Total career change at start of November, with one hell of a steep learning curve!

I'll not bore you with too much detail on the above two points, but suffice to say that when the 21st December arrived I was more than due a couple of weeks off - well earned if I do say so myself.

So to round this off, I would usually set myself some goals for the coming year, but this time I think work will keep me more than busy this year so I'll just be content if I can keep getting out climbing and taking photos and doing more of the same. I do have an idea for a bit of a photo project but I have to be realistic and admit this probably isn't the year for it. Other than that I'll just have to wait and see what 2013 throws at me.

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