Hi Everybody, can’t really believe we are actually here at the end of the year and that I managed to post a picture every day (well actually two pictures) – more on that in a minute.  But first let me tell you about today’s posting.

I wanted to finish on a nice picture that I captured today, but as usual family stuff got in the way (quite right too) and we went to the movies instead.  This was I guess a pity as it was a beautiful afternoon and would have been perfect for a nice landscape.  But such is life, no spectacular sunset today. After the movies we went out for dinner and when we got home it was dark.

Next I actually thought (for about 1 minute) about driving to Seattle and getting a great shot of the fireworks over the Space Needle at midnight, but by the time I would have posted the picture it would have been “tomorrow” and wouldn’t have officially counted.  So instead I made Lisa and Abi put on their coats and follow me into the garden.  I took the picture below and then we got out some sparklers and light painted “Happy New Year” in the air and I put that into the picture too.  I would have asked James to join us but it’s too much work to get him to participate in pictures – he’s far too cool.  So tonight just my special ladies, with a very big HAPPY NEW YEAR from the Seeley’s.  Hope you like my last image.

So, back to the picture a day thing.  Firstly WHAT WAS I THINKING!  I must have been totally mad, no matter what anyone tells you NEVER DO THIS yourself.  People will tell you that the best way to become a better photographer is to take lots of pictures.  This I firmly believe is true.  But you don’t have to post every day.  That said (now that this is over) I can say this year has been a blast.   I had some great moments capturing some pictures I really love, there was also panic and stress on those days I couldn’t think of what to shoot.  And then there was that one day in September when I was in Las Vegas trying to post from 11pm and my last submit was accepted on facebook at 12:05 (huge failure).  But I was really trying to post, the hotel just had crappy internet.  Plus this year was a leap year so I figured you get an extra day anyway so what the heck.

The Halo pictures was a really stupid thing to do.  I have no idea why I decided to do this and had more pain coming up with Halo pictures than anything else.  Family at home and people at work are totally sick of me asking what I should shoot, so they are all very exited that this is over as well.

Wanting to be really clear (just in case some people didn’t read my very first postings of the year), I didn’t necessarily take the shot on the day I posted the picture.  It started out that way but as I work for a living (yes I do Lisa), it’s very hard finding time to capture an image I really liked.  So after around 5 days I changed the resolutions (and the rules) stating that the picture had to be taken in 2012.  That said, many of my pictures were taken on the day or very near the day (nearly all the Halo pictures were on the day) and it was a huge undertaking.

So what now?  Do I carry on? (No bloody way) or stop? (Not completely).  I really love photography and want to still improve and continue to capture interesting pictures, I’m just not planing on posting every day.  As a result I’m going to post once a week (maybe more sometimes but I’m only committing to weekly).  This will allow me to shoot when I want, rather than when I have to.  It also takes the pressure off having to post daily.  Oh and definitely no more Halo pictures – those guys are no longer “with me”.

I really hope you liked the pictures, I like most but even I posted some that I now look at and go “nah”.

Finally, I should point out that I started my website (with all the serious and halo pictures) back on January 1st and have received over 55,000 visitors.  So thank you all for stopping by, keep coming back and I’ll keep adding new images.

The final demise of Master Chief was captured tonight, yes another fatality and it appears that Carter was behind it!  I have to say I won’t miss these guys, 366 pictures are 365 too many, what started out as a funny idea became a nightmare as the year rolled on.  Still we got through the year with a picture a day of our Halo hero’s.  Hope you enjoyed the images.

For the last week or so Lisa has been asking me to take some pictures of the kids for a family Christmas card.  In fairness I tried last week when we went out to get our tree, it was perfect, blue sky, pretty trees near by etc.  So what was the problem I hear you ask?  How is it possible you didn’t get a great picture of the kids?  Well I’m in a good mood now and don’t want to unnecessarily go over my frustration, but lets just say that James didn’t want his picture taken!

OK, so here we are a week later and we are 9 days into December and still don’t have a card.  Lisa had already found somewhere online where she was going to order the cards, she just needed pictures.  So today had to be the day.  There was a problem though (obviously – there’s always a problem).  I wanted to take the pictures outside (they tend to look a little boring indoors, always in front of a white or black background) but it was raining again (shocker!)

So we got the kids to get dressed with clean faces and brushed hair etc., I got the camera gear out and we went on weather watch.  At around 3pm, the rain slowed down, it didn’t stop completely but became more of a light drizzle.  I called the kids and grabbed some lights and ran outside.  Lisa wanted three pictures on the Christmas card, one of each of the kids and one of them both together.  So I got some of Abi on her own, then some of James and finally a very rare couple of pictures of them both together and OH MY GOD they were both smiling! (You have no idea just how rare this is).

Both Abi and James were great, quite happy to do this, Lisa was happy as she got her pictures for the card (which incidentally she has already ordered), and I got a picture for the day.  This one isn’t on the card but it’s one I liked.

I kind’a like taking pictures outside, we have a lot of trees behind our house and they provide a nice backdrop when they are just out of focus.  I really wanted the kids to be brighter than the trees so I used a single speedlight flash in a 24″ softbox.  I dialed down the exposure until I caught some of the background in the image (it’s a little dark but you can kind of see it’s trees) and used the light to make the kids faces pop.  The end result was pretty good and even James liked them and he’s hard to please.  In fact he’s asked me to take some pictures of him and his girlfriend Alex, so all in all a major success.

We are now 9 days into December so you shouldn’t really be surprised that the Halo guys found some Christmas decorations.  I’m betting you see a few more pictures like this. Ho Ho Ho!

I have to say I am truly amazed with what the human body can do.  I watch Abi train for her gymnastic meets and the way her body bends is just unbelievable.  She works really hard at it too bless her, she puts hours and hours into practice and comes home bruised and cut up with ridiculous calluses all over her hands.

I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite events to watch her in is the floor.  The flips and jumps and cartwheels are so alien to me, if I tried any of them I’d be spending the week in hospital.  When Abi trains and does the splits her legs go beyond straight out.  She will sit up on the floor with one leg out in front of her and the other one back behind with her foot raised up on a couple of mats.  My eyes water just watching.  But this level of flexibility is necessary on the floor to allow her to achieve moves like tonight’s split leap picture.

She runs across the floor and leaps up and it’s very impressive.  I tried to catch that perfect moment when her legs are straight in front and behind and while she achieved it, I missed the shot.  She works very hard as well to maintain perfectly straight toes and hold her hands in that “special” gymnast way and you can see she achieved that in the image.  Unfortunately she only gets one chance to show me doing this at a meet and I’m not allowed into the gym to shoot her when she practices.

She was moving pretty quickly and in truth there is a little motion blur in her face in this shot.  Her feet have a lot more motion blur but I really liked this in the shot as it gave the image the feeling of movement and speed.  What I got right was the composition and am pleased with that.

I’ll keep trying to catch that perfect moment bit for the time being I’m happy with this one.

The guys have played with this horse before, only last time it was the “other end”.  This time they decided to ride on top.

So I know I take a lot of landscapes, in fact I post more landscapes than anything else, and I’ve stated in the past that I like to shoot vista’s more than portraits as you don’t have to talk to a sunset or interesting view.  I think (not sure) I’ve also stated that Abi is very into gymnastics, in fact she’s in a “Rec-Opt” (which I’m told stands for Recreational Optionals) program at her local gym.  She’s been learning all her routines for the last 6 months in preparation for the competition meets she’s now attending.  As a girl gymnast she obviously does her obligatory four events Beam, Uneven Bars, Vault and Floor.

Well today was her second meet.  This one was at her own gym too so we didn’t have to travel too far to see her in action.  This is a tough sport though, not only for the participants but also for the spectators.  Abi works out 3 times a week putting in many hours in the gym to get better, and today I had to sit through 6 hours of gymnastics to see my daughter for less than 3 minutes.  It was brutal!  But I have to say worth it as my little girl was amazing.

This is now dad bragging time so you are going to have to just put up with this (nope I’m not apologizing).  111 kids turned up today in her event, and 18 were in her age category and skill level.  Abi got 8.9 on the beam and came 6th, she got 9.25 on the floor and came 2nd, she got 8.8 in the vault and came 5th and 8.8 on the bars and came 3rd.  Overall she came 4th, and her team came 3rd.

She works really hard at this and I have to say I was very proud of her.  I like watching all the events but my favorites are the beam and floor.  They last the longest and to me look the hardest to do.  The trouble with taking pictures at these events is that the lighting is terrible and there are always people in the way.  Also the kids move very fast so that with low light means that getting focus and no motion blur is really hard.

For tonight’s picture I decided to post this one of her about to start her floor routine.  You can see the concentration in her face and she did REALLY well.  When I see her tumbling across the floor doing her cartwheels and round off back hand spring I’m just amazed and again very proud.

Tonight the guys found some “Glassy Baby” candle holders to play with.  Apparently these are very popular – I’ve never heard of them.

In a couple of weeks on October 13th, Scott Kelby set the date for his 5th annual World Wide Photo Walk.  Now some of you may be wondering what a photo walk is and what this has to do with today’s posting! Well read on, all will be reviled.

Firstly let me explain what a  photo walk is.  The premise is pretty simple, a number of people get together with cameras and follow a set walk and take photographs.  The walk ends at a restaurant or cafe and people share their pictures and discuss the walk.  It’s basically a social event and anyone can join – it’s also free.  You don’t have to be a professional or even have an expensive camera, you just join others for a couple of hours and capture some shots.  Scott ran one in his home town of Tampa in Florida and the had so much fun he set up a date for people to do it all over the world.  Right now there are 24,000 people taking part in 1200 cities around the world.

Anyway I really wanted to go on a walk and went online to find a local one.  There were two in Seattle but I really wanted to do something in my own city of Redmond but there weren’t any set up.  So I applied to be a leader and my application was accepted on Friday.  Now I had an idea of what walk I wanted to do, something with a bit of downtown shops and a little bit of park and even found a place to finish the walk, but still had some organizing to do.

I went to the restaurant I wanted to end up at and spoke to the manager there – now he’s really excited that we will turn up on a Saturday afternoon with hopefully a load of people.  I spoke to the Police and the security company who work in Redmond Town Center and got everything sorted there, and yesterday I walked the photo walk route and captured some shots.  I wanted to make sure the walk was long enough and there was enough interesting things to shoot.

My Walk is just over a mile long and if you’re taking pictures along the way will take around 2 hours to complete, and we end up at Redmond’s Bar and Grill at noon for lunch.  So I’m totally set.  So I published the walk online and people have started to sign up.  I’m allowed a total of 50 people, right now I have 4!  But I’m guessing it’s early days.

Yesterday Abi joined me on the walk helping me look for different things to shoot.  We found loads of subjects and I took tuns of images.  At one location we found this bright orange wall and she posed against if for a shot, and this is the image I’m posting for today.  We had a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to the real walk.  I’ll post what happens here on the 14th.

If you want learn more or join us on the walk here is the link to the site: Redmond Photo Walk.

Carter and Master Chief’s Girl Scout Badges finally arrived for all the cookies they sold (and ate), they couldn’t agree however who should have which badge!