The end of December is always crowded by 'year in review' articles where newspapers, magazines, blogs and everyone else struggle to fill in the blank space whilst all their best writers are on Christmas break. Since we at IJWTGP have no decent writers we don't usually have this problem, but we have had such an interesting year in 2014 that we felt it deserved one last look back before we charge lens-first into 2015.
A Quick Rewind
As this is our first annual review it makes sense to bring everyone up to speed with the history of the group, so here is a quick summary of where it started and why it has such a daft name.
This group has been going since the beginning of 2012 and spent most of its first few years in the form of a Facebook group. The Facebook group was started as a way to finally organise a bunch of people who had been promising to meet up to take photos 'one weekend' but had hitherto failed to manage to do so. Our first meeting was in February 2012 at the Sherwood Forest Country Park in Nottinghamshire and we had a very cold walk around the Major Oak. From there we organised monthly trips and had a fair few nice outings, picking up new members and making new friends along the way.
The idea of the website came about when searching for a post that had revolved around a discussion about tripods and had culminated in the recommendation of a particular tripod. The nature of the Facebook timeline means that as posts get older they disappear further and further down into the history until they become almost un-recoverable. From there it became apparent that a forum would be much more suitable - jump to March 2013 and tekgudphotos.co.uk was officially unveiled as our new home.
What's with the name?
As you have just discovered, this group was originally meant to be a small collection of friends who just wanted to take photos; a group name had not been considered until we came to setting up the group on Facebook and were presented with the 'Group Name' box, so in went the first thing that popped into our heads on the basis that we would think of something better later.
The name has come to represent our group's relaxed nature and has set us apart from the more formal photography societies and clubs out there. No matter how large the group becomes we will always be a group of friends who just wanna tek gud photos.
Anyway, now that you're up to date, let's get started with the point of this story...
2014 Year In Review - A Reyt Gud Year Fer Tekkin Photos
We held our first exhibition
We always talked about holding exhibitions but when we started 2014 we as a group had never actually managed to get our photos on a wall anywhere.
That changed in April this year when we held Our First Exhibition at Eten Cafe in Sheffield City Centre. Thanks mostly to the help and expertise of Sue from The IDMA, nine members from our group got to see their prints take a prominent position on the wall of a busy Sheffield cafe for two months, we even made a few sales. This was a great achievement for us as a group and a proud moment for the exhibitors.
We had our first charity photo walk
In September we tried our hand at fundraising and held our first ever charity photo walk in aid of the Children's Hospital Charity which we called the Tekathon, because at this point there's no point trying to come up with decent names for things. The photo walk was on an unseasonably sunny day in September and we had a lovely day walking around Sheffield City Centre taking photos and enjoying the sights.
Our walk made the local papers and our best snaps are currently on the walls of Eten Cafe where they will stay until the end of January 2015, or until they are all sold, whichever comes first.
We took (tuk?) photos where others couldn't
There's no point being a photo group if we can't organise tours and get people into places that your average Joe Snapper isn't able to poke his lens into. Since the start we have been firing emails every which way trying to organise special access tours of interesting buildings around our region and this year we got some really interesting replies.
Did you know that in 2014 we were allowed exclusive access to the Sheffield Central Library, St Mary's Church in Chesterfield (the crooked spire), Wortley Top Forge, the Mosque on Wolseley Road, and the Sheffield Motorpoint Arena.
Oh, and did we mention that we were given a private tour of the factory where they make the Sheffield legend that is Henderson's Relish? For anyone who has ever lived in Sheffield, Hendos is the condiment of choice for almost any dish. We got to look around their brand new factory and see how they make it, even getting a glimpse at the secret ingredient! As an added bonus we all got to spend the rest of the day smelling like the inside of a Hendos bottle which had people's mouths (and eyes) watering everywhere we went.
We travelled all around Yorkshire
When we started planning for our January outing in late 2013 we were keen to follow up on our successful trek to Cleethorpes in November 2013 where we all woke up early and drove to the east coast to watch the sunrise over the beach. We came home with some amazing photos from that outing so we tried to build on that by incorporating the Humber Bridge into our sunrise over the sea photos. As it happened the weather had other ideas and we got very wet, but on the positive side we managed to get some spectacular photos of the bridge disappearing into the fog
Other memorable 2014 walks closer to home include February's walk around Langsett Reservoir, a well deserved revisit of Sutton Scarsdale Hall in June and a very interesting and slightly more challenging walk through Wyming Brook in July. We had a go at trying to find Little John's Pool in September but a slight misinterpretation of the directions meant we ended up down a creak somewhere, so we decided to do some long exposures instead.
The weather plays a big part in whether an outdoor outing is successful or not and we thought that our plans to walk around Chatsworth House in October this year were on the ropes when we arrived in very dense fog, but things worked out in the end. The atmospheric (and photogenic) fog lifted as we walked and by the end of the afternoon we were basking in glorious sunshine and took some amazing photos!
We saw Sheffield in the dark
Light is a photographer's best friend so it makes sense that some of our most popular outings have been at night when there is none. In April 2014 we finally made it to one of the no-brainer photo spots in Sheffield, the amphitheatre behind the train station in the centre of town. From there you get a spectacular view of the city so we met at the top just before the blue hour and set up our tripods. It made a nice change for us all to stay in one place and chat whilst we took our photos and we had a lovely evening, we did say we would do again soon but as these things go we never did. One for next year perhaps.
We did end up having a more active session in Sheffield at night time in September where we met in front of the train station and walked (slowly) towards the peace gardens with some stunning results, another to repeat next year for sure.
We met Steampunk Freddy!
Towards the end of the year we did our first ever photo shoot that involved a model, but since our group ethos prevents us from doing anything that the Yorkshire Photographic Society would have done our model was a murderous burn victim with razor blades attached to his gloves.
Steampunk Freddy came to us after having seen our photos from Whitby (did we mention that we went to Whitby?), so we arranged a shoot in Sheffield on a cold dark winter evening, found some dodgy alleys and whipped out our cameras. The end results actually turned out well and we had an enjoyable evening which will hopefully open a few doors for future model-based photo shoots.
We have a pretty full outings calendar which should keep us busy, plenty of places we have never been before which should be very interesting.
What is more interesting though are some of the special tours and visits we have in the pipeline. We are in talks currently with E.ON about getting us a tour of the new bio plant which is almost ready to go online on the site of the old cooling towers. In spring we will get back in touch with the owners of the crane yard to get our postponed visit planned plus Sheffield Theatres have promised us a tour of a few of their venues once the busy season is out of the way, so keep an eye on the forums to keep up to date on those.
As always this is a group run by its members so please keep suggesting outings and if you fancy taking some photos somewhere drop a comment on the Facebook group to see if anyone else wants to join you.
This group wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for the enthusiasm of everyone involved so thanks for a great 2014 and here's to a fantastic 2015.
What was your favourite outing in 2014? Leave your memories in the comments below.
23rd July 2014 - Normally on the fourth Wednesday of the month we have our social meeting in Sheffield, but since the Grand Prix was rolling through town at the same time we just had to make our way down there instead. Here are a few of our best shots.