2012 in review: volcanoes, photos and a few personal firsts


So that was 2012: work was good, travel was good and life was good. That's 2013 jinxed then. Here's what went on in 2012 in the form of a quick(ish) roundup…


New Year opened with me standing agog at my first sight of a horse and hound (non-fox) hunt in the North Cotswolds. Two weeks later, I was on a train headed to the Cantal in France to snowshoe Europe's largest volcano. The month ended with the inaugural Friday School – my invention of a weekly freelance training programme involving a moveable cake-fuelled feast of learning.


Took Matt & Pete's Photo School course in street photography, in which I learnt a lot through my failures. A similar learning experience was had for my 40something birthday trip to the Tower Ballroom roller disco. Drinking on wheels to disco classics – not easy.


A spiritual month in which I mourned the passing of Monkee Davy Jones and spent time with my camera 'finding God in the landscapes of Birmingham'. Stop laughing.


April was awesome. Fierce Festival put on the Dachshund UN, featuring 50 or so doggy delegates. Then Pete and I spent a long weekend in Brussels in which we got to tour the city on a Segway – my first time on one of those Amazing Gyroscope Machines of Tilt-related Velocity is on video here. The month ended with a Moselele uke gig at Acorns Children's Hospice, which was particularly meaningful for me thanks to a family connection.


Things got a bit abstract in part three of Matt & Pete's Photographing the City course. But the big news was putting on my first-ever workshop: a 'digital summer school' for freelance subs. For a shy gal like me, this involved overcoming a huge bundle of nerves and confidence – mainly motivated by wanting to bring more sub-editors into the online publishing environment.


A week with friends in Lanzarote, my second volcanic destination of the year, surprised me with its blend of One Million Years BC landscape mixed with 1960s futurism, thanks to its artistic son, Cesar Manrique. I was also interviewed this month by Andy Bull, who is writing a book on Brand Journalism, about my role working as a journalist with brands. An MA student writing a thesis on brand journalism then got in touch for research purposes, followed by a panel request to talk on the subject at the BBC. Brand journalism = 2012 buzzword ≠ not my ideal choice of job title.


…was mainly wet. The wettest summer on record led me to desperate photo projects, such as documenting the snails and slugs in my garden, and 'travels around my garden'. Photo School introduced me to photo narratives – I particularly liked producing this parallel world of Birmingham reflections.


Attended a six-hour Stockhausen opera in a warehouse at the back end of Digbeth, featuring a helicopter quartet and actual camels. New experiences at my age are to be welcomed (and documented naturally).


We spent two weeks in La Gomera for my third volcano-related break of 2012 (see also January and June). But this one was the most scenic of all, with a rainforest in the crater and candy-coloured towns with hippyish vibes.


… was notable for creating my first animated gif (of a glitch). Behind the scenes, work changes were coming to a head, resulting in a blog content audit for Grant Thornton UK and a promotion to whatever one-up from a web editor is: I'm calling it digital content strategist (for now). See Blogs for more info on work goings-on.


…saw me return to the World Travel Market – an epic annual expo of tourism and travel-related industry goings-on. I spent much of my time filming the cultural music and dance shows (from Kazakh folk dance to Mexican mariachi), and collecting 105 tourism marketing slogans from around the world. Another first this year was speaking at a conference at the NUJs 'New Ways to Make Journalism Pay II' to point out 'brand journalism' as an area of opportunity. There was also fun – an invitation to a Victorian steam punk wedding on board a Severn Valley Railway steam train.


Bonus time! Bought myself an iPad Mini, which I can't put down, and finally succeeded in NOT being ill for Christmas. Also had fun photographing a dog training school, playing a raucous Christmas singalong uke pub gig for 100+ people and planning a sabbatical via New Zealand and other non-wintry countries in 2014.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!


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