Eleven photos from ’11

In the midst of all my end of year best of the blog malarky, I seem to have left off one of most important year-end wrap ups: my photography.

So today — a few days late, and in no particular order — I bring you the eleven photos (of mine) that I like most from 2011:

The miniatures

As regular readers of the Big Bad Blog will know, roleplaying is a hobby of mine, and I play D&D on a semi-regular basis. I often take my camera along, to take photos of the minis in action.

Here’s an example of minis in action:


Two friends of mine got engaged (to each other) early in 2011, and so I took the opportunity to have an “engagement photo shoot”. A number of the photos resulting from this can be found at this post in April.

My favourite photo from the shoot is this one. The epic feel just feels right.

Greenwich foot tunnel

For most of 2010, Karen and I lived in Greenwich. There’s a tunnel there, that crosses the Thames to the Isle of Dogs. We didn’t use it at all.

When we moved back to Wapping, however, it started to get regular use — we would walk or jog to Greenwich, to spend time in the park or one of their many lovely pubs. The tunnel is quite picturesque, but usually the pedestrian traffic is too heavy to make for a good photo opportunity.

One day in March, however, I found myself in an uncrowded tunnel with my camera. I like the result.


Summer, a visit to a friend’s, bubbles in the garden. A beautiful day.


The Maggie-a-day project is an endeavour in which your blogger attempts to add a photo of his daughter to his Flickr stream every single day.

The project has met with partial success — I certainly do not take a photo every day, and I seem to miss posting a photo approximately one day in four (she’s about 450 days old, and there are about 350 photos in the stream). But with so much of my energy spent on photos of Maggie, it should be no surprise that they make up a significant portion of my top eleven.

Reflections on a nephew

All that practice taking photos of children comes in handy when I get to take photos of other people’s children. These stand out to me, as they are different from the Maggie photos I take daily.

My favourite of these is this photo of my nephew, taken while in Canada:

The green wood

I don’t get out hiking or walking much — while London has a fair bit of green space, none of it is “wild”. And it’s tough to drag a child who isn’t up to walking along with you.

Exceptions are made, however, and one such exception led me to find this little green gem:

The road to the sea

This summer featured our first family holiday — we went down to the French seaside. It was gorgeous, and filled with a dozen photos which would all be featured were this “the top 25 of 2011”, and I did not have an aversion to filling such a list with a group of photos taken in the same short timespan, in the same place.

Out of these photos, two made the cut to the top 11. The first is the final photo in the Maggie sequence above. The second is a black and white photo I took of a pier jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. There’s something special about photos of water in black and white.

All photos are CC licensed by Mr. Topp, and can be found in my Flickr stream. Alternatively, just click on the photo to go to it on Flickr.

The morning coffee and the world of science

Are you one of those people who feels that they have to learn something new every day?

If so, you can probably go back to sleep after this:

In 1978, Russian scientist Anatoli Petrovich Bugorski accidentally stuck his head into a running particle accelerator. So we now know what happens when people do this. Or, at least, we have a single data point.

1. You see a very bright light.
2. You don’t feel any pain.
3. Your intellectual capacity remains undiminished.
4. Your skin peels off.
5. Your face becomes paralyzed.
6. You get seizures.

The Big Bad Blog does not recommend placing your head into a running particle accelerator. Results may vary.

Photo is of a bubble house, actually for sale from Bubble Tree. Found at Homedit.
Webcomic is Mr. Lovenstein, by J. L. Westover.

The first coffee of 2011

Welcome to your New Year’s Day coffee. We’ll try to make it extra-strong for you.

This has to be the greatest career move ever made:
This guy quit his job, and started a business suing spammers.
Here is the New York Times, on why you should find it worrying that banks are shutting down payments to Wikileaks.
No matter your personal opinions on Wikileaks or Assange, you ought to find it troubling.
I’m not sure why I find this surprising — probably because, like everybody else, I just bought into the political rhetoric and media spin. In retrospect, it seems obvious. So, this just in:
Suicide bombers are not religious fanatics. They are just suicidal, and looking for an acceptable means (according to their religion and culture) by which to end their life.
Tennessee, where suggesting a preference for “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” can put you on a terrorist watch list.
During recent protest marches in London, with the exception of a handful of incidences, I have been rather sympathetic with the police. A significant portion of those marching have been destructive and violent, and while I disagree with kettling, it is easy to be sympathetic with the desire to avoid the violence and property destruction that accompanied the first march.
But suggesting that marches be banned? We live in a democracy, sirs. The freedom to engage in such demonstrations is more than worth the “disorder” they cause.
All hail the singing mouse! I hope it wins the next X Factor.
Have goats?
Want more milk?
Then you need some Mariah Carey.
Banks in America have been illegally foreclosing on customers who are up to date on mortgage payments, and even on non-customers who do not have a mortgage at all.
There is a word for this — theft. And it’s nice to see an article that features people actually standing up to the banks for a change, rather than just being victimized by them.