2011 was a momentous year. I created opportunities to cover a wide variety of topics for an increasing number of media outlets as a freelance journalist/photojournalist, quit watching free to air TV (turned off my TiVo) and switched my reading habits almost exclusively from print books to Kindle/Kobo ebooks.
During the year I travelled for photography/journalism work to many places. You can view 2011 The Year In Photos: Frequent Travelling, Street Art and Photojournalism at my Road Less Travelled website
I was a part-time NSW Greens campaign staffer for 6 months until the NSW State election in late March 2011, in charge of the Balmain electorate Greens website, social media, photography and video. The Greens won Balmain by a narrow margin and Jamie Parker became the first Greens candidate ever to get elected to the NSW lower house of parliament.
After the election I returned to my usual work as a Freelance Journalist, Travel/Events Photographer, Professional Blogger and Research Helpdesk Librarian at UTS.
In April I represented GEARE magazine (which I write a lot of articles for) at the 2011 Lizzies IT Journalist Awards and also went on road trip through the Canterbury and Wanaka regions of New Zealand’s South Island to report on progress for plans to rebuild and repair Christchurch after the late 2010/2011 earthquakes.
In May I was asked by Adventure Wild – Kimberleys, Western Australia outback tour operators and Tourism WA to take photos and videos for them of the Northern remote Kimberleys area. I also wrote articles for YHA Backpacker Essentials magazine, GEARE magazine and ABC Technology website.
In June I attended XMediaLab Sydney: Global Media Ideas 2011 where I listened to many insightful talks by local and international speakers.
In August I visited the Rockdale Hacker/Maker space and saw a Makerbot in action as part of my research into 3D Printers – this will be a big area in 2012/2013.
In September I visited Osaka and Tokyo in Japan for a tour of Panasonic Toughbook factories and the Eastern Cape region of South Africa to write an article for GEARE magazine and take photos for South African Tourism.
In November I travelled to Canberra to report on President Obama’s trip, review Telstra 4G for Technology Spectator as well as visiting visit to the NASA Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex for a 2012 issue of GEARE magazine.
My Favourite Freelance Stories/Work
These are my favourite stories for each publication I wrote for this year:
Chief Security Officer (CSO) – By far the toughest story to plan and execute in 2011 involved jumping through countless security clearance hoops to get accreditation as a photojournalist 5 metres away from Barack Obama at the US Embassy event during his visit to Canberra. From this I wrote Barack Obama’s security circus arrives in Oz: In Pictures.
YHA Backpacker Essentials magazine – 10 photos and article New Zealand South Island – Beyond Christchurch.
ABC Drum Unleashed – I only had spare time to write a few stories for them this year: Oceans are the key to avoiding a Soylent Green future, A low rate world is not in everyone’s interest and Busting interest rates myths. However I don’t get to cover topics like banking, finance and the environment elsewhere so these were great opportunities.
The OLYMPUS XZ-1 gets my vote for best digital camera released in 2011. The F1.8 lens combined with a great imaging sensor make it by far the best compact camera for enthusiast/professional photographers who want a backup for their larger SLR digital camera.
My prize for best eink ebook reader released in 2011 goes to the Kobo Touch which I reviewed for Technology Spectator. The ideal eReader does its job so well that the device becomes invisible to your mind, which can then concentrate purely on reading. In my opinion the Kobo Touch is the closest device to achieving this to date. Amazon could have competed for this but they chose not to release the Kindle Touch in Australia until 2012.
It’s not a new product launched in 2011 but the Epoz Aktimate Mini Active Stereo HiFi iPod/MP3 Player Speaker set I purchased this year was a favourite because I listen to a lot of radio news, podcasts and music while working. The Aktimate Mini’s provide marvellous quality audio with a compact good looking design.
Similarly the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b QuietPoint Active Noise-cancelling Headphones were launched 2 years ago but I first used them in 2011 during flights to and from Japan and reviewed them for Technology Spectator. They are the best choice for frequent travellers who want to listen to audio while travelling to block a lot of the noise around you.