Review of My Year 2008

2008 has been a great year for getting out and doing things. Jo and I are off to England and Wales later this week for our Christmas and New Year holiday, the fourth international trip this year, so I thought I’d post my end of year review ahead of schedule. The year started off photographically with rioting in Bern, which was a challenging and exciting birthday when I was in the city taking photos of protesters and police. February saw us in the mountains above Kandersteg and I was also involved in behind-the-scenes photo shoot for t.v. Show Funky Kitchen Club, which included a helicopter trip up to the Jungfraujoch and this, one of my best photos of the year.

Challenging Photography, Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

My parents visited for the first time of the year during April and we headed south, over the snow-covered Simplon Pass to the border with Italy, taking us through massive mountain scenery and the awe-insipring Gondo Gorge in canton Wallis. After a “Strobist” day in April, when we coaxed a couple of friends down to our region from Zurich, we headed for our first “proper” summer holiday together in the gorgeous Amalfi region of Italy, with trips to Capri and Pompeii for good measure. It was a long-standing ambition to take Jo there and we’ll definitely be returning one day!

Travellers, Pompeii, Italy

Jo’s parents visited us just after we returned from Italy and we treated them with visits to the Cailler chocolate factory in Broc, as well as mountain trips to the Schynige Platte near Interlaken and the top of Pilatus near Lucerne, the latter of which gave me some great views of the city and us all a rare encounter with a wild ibex. More Strobism and visiting friends when Nick’s photo exhibition opened in Zurich, where we also bid farewell to our friend Ilona, who returned to Finland after several years living in Switzerland and who is now progressing with her career as a freelance concert and band photographer.

Farewell Drinks, Interlaken, Switzerland

July saw the end of an era and many farewells as I left Gossweiler Media to start a new job with Burson-Marsteller in Bern. We enjoyed British drinks at Buddy’s Pub in Interlaken with friends and work colleagues and received a gift voucher for a trip to the Alpen Tower above Meiringen… which we still have to cash in! I spent the day getting to know my new boss and his great “garage pop” band Choo Choo at the start of August, when I, Beat and Nick photographed them in a few locations around Bern. Later that month, I fulfilled a long-held desire to do live band photography when they invited us to take backstage shots for them at the Funk Am See festival in Lucerne.

Dan and Lili from Choo Choo, Funk am See festival, Lucerne, Switzerland

August also saw a visit to friends from the U.K., who were staying in their family chalet near Chateau d’Oex, and the return journey saw me take my most commercially successful photos to date: this one of the mountains near Zweisimmen. That same month (a busy one indeed!) we were at the Swiss Highland Games near Fribourg, enjoying semi-successful fish and chips along with highly dubious kiltwear, much of which was plainly home-made!

Once I’d proven my photographic credentials to my new employer by showing my portrait work, and as part of setting up the new website and blog in Bern, I took more portraits of my new work colleagues; a series of which I’m quite proud! Thanks to my new subscription to the national “GA” (public transport pass), we were able to make more use of my daily proximity to Zurich and so we’ve been several times in the past few months; for work as well as to join friends at the DigiFotoCH meals in the James Joyce pub. September saw the start of a new major photographic project, shooting all of the tram stops in the city of Bern, as well as an adventurous trip with my office colleagues for the annual “All Staff Event“, which took place on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel.

Rock and Roll

More “strobism” in Zurich during September, where Jo did a magnificent job of posing for a day of tutorials and tips with friends from Flickr, before we had another visit from a U.K. friend and headed off on the first of our autumn tours of the mountain passes. We returned to Scotland at the end of September for our first wedding anniversary and re-visited the hotel where we had our reception, the beach we visited when I first visited Jo in Scotland in October 2004, and the massive Forth Rail Bridge, which has attained a special place in our hearts through many happy memories. I also got to see Graham, a friend who I’d last seen when he took our wedding photos a year earlier, and we spent the day taking photos in the picturesque areas around Pitlochry.

Four years on

Once we were back from Scotland, my mum and dad made their second trip to Switzerland of the year and we headed up into the mountains again, showing them more dramatic parts of the accessible Swiss scenery. Mum was sadly taken ill during one day of their trip so we stayed local to show Dad the view of the lake from Aeschireid, a hitherto unknown valley just a short drive from home, and the forested lake at Blausee near Kandersteg.

Fungus in the woods

More photographic opportunities in October, when I supported a work project by photographing the Somesso Corporate Social Media conference in Zurich, before Jo and I headed to Milan to celebrate her birthday at the beginning of November. A great time – better than the previous trip, when the city was rammed full of festival-goers – and we made a second trip to the roof of the famous cathedral to get some great photos of the sunset and cathedral spires in “the blue hour” after the sun went down. October also saw me shooting for work projects again: more portraiture for a potential client poster campaign in 2009 in our office studio and on location in Emmental.

Penultimately, we head into winter with an early Christmas meal with office colleagues in Zurich and a great portrait session in Bern with an online acquaintance and his wife, after they donated generously to a charity which our office has supported this year. Penultimately, Jo and I headed for our last trip of the year to Bern to see the Christmas lights in December too, before we had the first heavy snowfall of the season.

Red and Low Sun, Bern, Switzerland

Next stop: the U.K. for Christmas, so stay tuned for photos from our trip. A very merry Christmas and happy New Year!