This is the end of my first year of Pbase PaD. I can quite proudly state that I didn't miss a single day in all that time. I have decided to take a break for a while, although I may continue posting here more or less regularly. We'll see. Anyway, this is what I wrote on my Pbase blog.

Phew! That was a blast. I started this exactly one year ago tomorrow, with a picture of the sodium street lights lighting up the North Sea haar. I was using my old Fuji M603 - a point and shoot that I got in the January sales, and only my second digital camera (my first one was a Fuji A202 that got sand and Atlantic Ocean in it when I took it on the beach north of Nazaré in Portugal in 2003).

I often wonder now what I did during the six months that I had no camera. By the end of April the photography bug had bit, and I persuaded Linda and Liam to get me the Fuji S7000Z. I had to learn it all from scratch, and the S7000 was a good camera to learn it on. It became my substitute cigarettes, and the camera always came with me wherever I was going.

Through photography I discovered many things that I would previously have simply walked past without noticing. I learned the names of some trees and flowers, I clambered over dry stone walls and barbed wire fences to get to ruined castles, I got to know the countryside around Dundee like the back of my hand. More importantly, however, I got to spend lots of quality time with my family as we toured Scotland looking for photo opportunities - or even just when going for walks with no clear idea of where we would end up.

Now I have a DSLR and a reasonable selection of lenses and an expanding collection of filters and magnifiers, and I think that I am capable of producing reasonably good images. To the extent that I have improved (and, let's face it - it would have been difficult to get any worse - just have a look at last April's images!), well, that is largely down to the Pad community and your constant words of encouragement. Now that my year is up, I want to take a break for a while and get working on some other projects (book, home renovations, get my leg better, etc.).

Before I sign off, though, I want to say a big thank you to every single one of you who have left messages or who have simply looked at my images. Cheers, take care and see you soon, Stu.


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