Here we go. This is the big one, the 1,000th entry on my photoblog. There are now 1,000 individual entries here, and over 1,000 photos on the site. I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved here. I’ve been running the site for 3 and a half years, it will be 4 in August. That in itself is an achievement, putting new work here and over a year ago making the decision to go daily. Every day, a new photo. Its been great. Its forced me to go out to more events, to document more things around Liverpool. As the site has become more popular I do feel a certain level of pressure now because of that. Often people have commented that they’ll look forward to seeing the event on my site because they know I’ll be out there. If something big happens in Liverpool people will be expecting to see it here the next day. So the pressure is there, but thats just a reflection of how well the site is doing. The stats reflect this too. Each year they doubled. There are now over 300 people subscribing to the RSS feed. Thats over 300 people wanting to see the next daily image. How nice is that as a compliment? Over 5 million hits a month. The site transfers over 100gb of data a month too. Thats quite an insane amount. Most days its just me taking photos, putting them online and moving on. Its easy to forget that theres a lot of people out there looking at them. So here we are at 1,000. Let me just thank everyone for commenting, subscribing and stopping by.
For the 1,000th entry I wanted something special. Something that represented a lot of things and I think this image is fitting. Its the 1,000 entry so it had to be a bit explosive so I was very lucky to get fireworks. Its an image that shows where I am in my career. I’ve got to the point where someone has asked me to take this photo. Its great. Someone wanted to put me in a unique position and capture this. Its also representative of what the site is about, Liverpool. This is Liverpool at its best. Amazing architecture, fantastic fireworks (quick plug there), music, culture, and people having a great time. Its all right there in that photo. That’s the Capital of Culture. Say what you will about the politics, the issues we’ve had along the way, and so on but its all right there. So the photo has fireworks for 1,000, shows how far I’ve come since the site started and speaks volumes about Liverpool. I’m happy, and I’m proud.
Lastly I want to talk about the job, this image. I was hired by the company doing the fireworks to take the photo. Ok, excellent I thought. It was a shame I couldn’t get a press pass to the event but when they told me their plan I was happy… and scared. “You’ll be *on top* of the Radio City Tower. You’re ok with heights?” I said I wasn’t, but that the photo was worth it. Its a sort of personal motto, ethic of mine. The photo is always worth it, do what it takes and get the shot. Once the moment has gone, its gone. So for this shot I was told there would be fireworks off 4 buildings. How would I do that, and do it well? I was tempted to take 4 photos and put them together in Photoshop. I figured that if I screw up 1 image, its only 1. So I was nervous about that, but also nervous about heights. I get a little dizzy looking down 2 flights of stairs. Being 440 feet off the ground, in the dark, on top of a tower wasn’t exactly a good Friday night out in my book. But I reminded myself that the photo was worth it. 5pm arrived and I went up the tower, surprisingly quickly too. The view, just wow. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Liverpool looked. My fear of heights literally went out the window because that view was incredible. This image was taken at 24mm, and I have 1 at 10mm with about 5 times the amount of city in it. You’ll get the idea of what I saw tomorrow. The technicians had trouble getting onto the roof. One way involved climbing a ladder and wandering around in a dark room hoping you didn’t stumble out and off the roof. The other way was lifting a heavy metal trapdoor up and climbing out into total darkness. I was incredibly lucky and the kind BBC camera operator let me use his open window. It saved a lot of hassle as it was quite windy up there and that would have ruined all the photos. The show started at about 8:05 according to my clock, not 20:08. No time like the present. I had to get the shot. I had no idea when it was going to happen. I set the camera on a 15 second exposure and hoped. About half way through a building exploding in fireworks and I hit the button to start the exposure. Another building went off, then another and finally all 4 buildings had fireworks going off. “Please let it be in focus. Be the right settings.” Thats what I was thinking through those long 15 seconds. *click* The shutter went back, exposure was done. The photo appeared and there it was. I did it. I was so happy, and I still am whenever I look at this image. I faced my fear of heights. I crushed my fear of failure. I got such a photo. Ok, you can argue that the fireworks are a little blown out and the image could be better on a shorter exposure, but when you have no idea what to expect its a job well done imho.
So there we are. 1,000 entries. You can see where it all started back in August 2004. I know the site has entries in March 2003, but that was me trying to bury some desktop images. Ignore them. Thank you again, here’s to the next 1,000. Oh and if you want to see this image larger you’ll have to visit my exhibition in Feb / March. More details on that later.