and also close up; end of year 2

It’s the final theme of the year over at Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge, and also the end of the second year of the Challenge itself – and my first year as a contributor. It’s the challenge that spurred this blog into being and has been key in making me get out of the house in the evenings and at the weekends and Just Take Photos.

I bought my Trusty Canon (which should really have a name by now – all my other prized possessions do) at the end of 2014 and spent at least two months just learning what all the buttons meant. By this time last year, I was starting to experiment with aperture, thanks again to Leanne and some useful comment responses on her fabulously interactive and supportive blog. Now I’m fully manual and just starting to experiment with shooting in RAW.

The MMC challenge has made me get out at least once a month, often once a week, and concentrate on one, single theme idea.

I had to start viewing the world around me differently. I realised that I have a weird fascination with bridges; that I’m too shy for street photography, and that I really like nature photos, even fake flowers such as this week’s subject!

A pair of fakes

A pair of fakes

I discovered the joy of heading off to a new location, or a familiar but always fascinating one, and spending an afternoon just seeing what happened in front of my lens, or what would catch my eye. Happily I found other people who liked to do the same, so my Phrambles grew into a social occasion.

I started photo editing in Lightroom and went nuts, then dialled it back. I found out that – like with any skill – if I stop taking photos regularly I lose whatever paltry skills I’ve gained.

More recently, I’ve started to realise that holiday snapshots and good photos are not the same thing. A discriminating eye is starting to develop. I’m finding that if I don’t know an area well, I’m less likely to photograph it well. But also, if I start to look at a place for shots, I’m more likely to start to feel at home and like the place – or at least see some hidden beauty.

All in all, it’s been a fun year of discovery and development for me. I may not have come far, but I’ve learned a lot on the journey.

Below is a gallery of all the entries I’ve made to Year 2 of MMC, some of which I feel very proud of. For more great close-ups, and a lot of end-of-year round-ups, check out this week’s Madness at leannecolephotography.com. Maybe you’ll be tempted to join us for Year 3!

Happy snapping, folks.

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