30 April 2012

Reasonable Words

"One ought, every day at least,
to hear a little song,
read a good poem,
see a fine picture,
and if it were possible,
to speak a few reasonable words".


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Time-Lapse - Part Two

Tonight I am off to do a second shoot for a time-lapse movie. Yesterday I captured 1500 images of the start of a piano restoration. Tonight the keys should be going on and that will look fabulous. All appearing triumphantly.

The innards of a piano

The plan is that this restoration time-lapse movie will appear on my show-reel for selling this idea to small businesses. Once I have created the movie I will post - but for now it's off to work I go.

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...oh you've got green eyes,
oh you've got blue eyes,
oh you've got grey eyes...

Blooming brilliant. Love the light show - particularly when they materialised on stage.

OK this was Paris and not Birmingham

One of the movies shown whilst they played 'The Perfect Kiss' was part of a film by Amos Poe (Empire II). In its entirety Empire II is a 3 hour long film about New York and consists mostly of time-lapse photography. I am off to do some research.

Ooooo oooo oooo
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26 April 2012


It was suggested that I write this down as a way of dealing with how badly I feel I have been treated by a shop.

I went along on Saturday to spend (rather a large amount of) money on photography equipment. People that know me well know I do not do shopping at the best of times (and this was not a good time). I asked simple questions about complicated equipment trying to decide what the difference was between a seemingly similar item costing £399 and another costing £1075. The shop assistants did not know. I know I am asking about new technology but honestly "I don't know" from a Saturday shop assistant is really not good enough from a specialist camera shop.

I decided to give up on my quest for LED lighting kit and chose some off-the-shelf items that were on my list. One of them would have to be ordered in from their head office/warehouse in Milton Keynes. "Would you like that delivered?" "Yes please," I said, not realising this was adding £6 to the cost of the item - oh well it'll be there by Tuesday I thought.

Tuesday I was out. FedEx tried to deliver. I filled out the online tracking dealy. 'Please leave the item in my greehouse' I said. Wednesday they tried to deliver again. I was out. There was nothing in my greenhouse. Again I filled out the online thing and said 'please leave in the greehouse'.

Well today they haven't even bothered trying to deliver. FedEx will not leave it anywhere without a signature from a person. I can go and fetch it (a 40 mile round trip) but I have to go in person as I have to sign for it.

Grrrr ... I phoned the shop I purchased this little item from. "I don't know why they need a signature", they said. "Can I have my money back and I'll buy it from somewhere else?" I asked. "I don't know, call head office". There is a theme developing here! So I spoke to Head Office.

Head Office are asking FedEx to try and deliver again tomorrow. "Can a neighbour sign for it?" Hang on I thought I needed to be there in person if collecting so why can my neighbours suddenly sign for it - and if they can why didn't they do that the very first day. My neighbours are brilliant and we are always collecting and signing for post for each other.

So tomorrow I am going to try and be in - all day! If they fail to deliver again tomorrow the item goes back to the shop - at that point I will ask for my money back (including the delivery charge) and buy the item from somewhere else.

This might be end of this tale - but does anyone else feel that this is not good customer service?

Does anyone else feel that as customers we are all treated like imbeciles, thieves or the same as everyone else?

Companies say they have systems and procedures to deal with people - but they seem to have forgotten that it is people they are dealing with.

I am NEVER buying anything from that shop again. They have missed out on a great deal of customer from me - for this year definitely and for future years as my business takes off.

I would love to be able to treat my customers with the contempt and disregard I have been treated with over this. And do you know I stick by my opinion that shopping is horrid. I'm staying at home.

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Ashby Trade Show

Popped along to this local event on Tuesday and was greatly surprised to see how well attended it was and how many 'local' businesses were exhibiting there and the passion they have.

I left before Peter Shilton arrived but I went home with 2 very good quality leads which I shall follow up. I really like it when local businesses do business locally. It's where it all should be.

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London trip

Trip down to London to go to a talk, well a question and answer session, with Andrew Graham Dixon and David Bailey.

Went down a little early to take in the Whitechapel Gallery and the new Saatchi Gallery before heading of to the D&AD organised talk at Logan Hall.

I was really looking forward to the talk as it was going to be an 'in conversation with...' type. I love watching Andrew Graham Dixon discussing culture, art and food. An image of Andrew walking up the beach in his Caravaggio programme inspired my 'Small World' project. I decided to print off the image I captured that started all the work and take it along with me. If I got the opportunity I would ask him to sign it.

Not only did I get the opportunity to ask him but had a quick chat and he was delighted to sign the back of the image for me.

The talk was very interesting and some great advice and tall tales from Bailey. As this was a D&AD Presidents talk it will have been recorded and it will probably be on the website at some point in the future. Will put in a link when that happens.

Enjoyed the Saatchi Gallery - massive space beautifully converted and offering more than 15 galleries - all devoted to photography. I really liked work by Viktor Johanssen (I cant find a website for Viktor so have linked you to the BBC website with news about his win)

Viktor Johanssen
It was good to see work I have seen before by Chris Levine, Mitch Epstein, Hannah Starkey and Broomberg & Chanarin were the outstanding images for me. But like I have said before perhaps familiarity works.

Only downside to the day was the rain - oh boy did it rain. We thought we would be indoors all day, but it's surprising how much walking through puddles and being outside it all involved. I went to parts of London I have not been to before and they were actually quite pleasant.

I do not recommend Nandos. What a bewilderingly confusing menu when all they seem to offer is chicken and chips. Plergh. Will not be going again.

Good company - good time.

Received a text whilst I was in London asking if I did Wedding Photography. Hmmmm

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23 April 2012

Animal Portraiture

A few months ago I talked about the possibility of diversifying my offer and including pet photography into the mix of what I offer. I had been out and captured images of stallions at an open day at a local stud and was suggesting I could take this further. Of course I don't jump into things I have to do the research and get a portfolio of images together - this way I can see if it something I enjoy doing and what my competition might be doing. I researched styles, loveliness and pricing of other photographers offers and I think I might have something here. I already love being around and photographing horses. Next I need to try dogs.

Yesterday I finally got round to going to see my cousin who keeps pedigree, cup winning, record breaking, beautiful - Belgian Shepherds. I thought I would start with the most gorgeous animals to cut my teeth on. I spent a wonderful 6 hours drinking tea, catching up on 5 years of family gossip, putting the world to right, avoiding hail showers and playing with the two dogs that currently inhabit their world.

I have seen many images of the dogs in show condition, in show positions, showing off their best features. What I decided I wanted to capture was some of the fun and humour and beauty of the dogs at home and relaxing. Here are my favourites:



Conway waiting for his chance with the toy 



Thanks to Hazel and Dave for a fun afternoon and I will be coming with you to shows in the future. Long time since I have been around dogs this big. (Think it was Rottweilers in 1995!) so it was a real treat to get to know Cuba and a delight to play with Conway - who imho - is going to be a star.

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20 April 2012

Two Weeks

Is it really two weeks since my last blog. Deary me that is not good.

Well let's have a recap and I will expand on areas that I think have been interesting in a separate entry.

Well the first thing that I was working at the Eden Project near St Austell for 5 days after Easter. This was - once again - a great privilege. The briefs were interesting and challenging. I also had time to achieve some ideas I had in mind.

However I did suffer a couple of catastrophes:
  1. I broke the filter on the end of my 24-105mm lens (I say broke - more like shattered to smithereens). If you have read my top tips you will know that it is there to protect the lens and it did - so it did not die in vain! Just need to buy a replacement (£55) think it'll go onto the birthday list! The accident that caused that to break bent the pin/plug on the remote timer but I straightened it and it seems to be working! Fingers crossed. But might see if I can get my hands on spare cables.
  2. When I started the first time-lapse the battery in the transmitter had died. Get new batteries then - easy! Ha ha ha not so fast my friendly readers. To get to the battery you need the tiniest screwdriver in the world to remove three screws. So after a trip to a Cornish optician and a shop that sells CR2032 batteries I have now added CR2032s and a tiny screwdriver to my kit bag! The battery failure on that first day meant that I had to do the time-lapse 'old school' - ie pushing the shutter myself at irregular intervals - as a result I can see the camera movement and people are very random as they pass through the scene because I was not as good at consistency as the equipment is. The result at the end of the day was a  very achy arm!
One of the briefs was for some product shots - including some bird feed imaginatively called 'Peck and Mix' I decided to be adventurous, set myself up in the Mediterranean Biome (the lighting was lovely and I had seen quite a few birds in there) opened up the bag of feed and waited. A robin, blackbird and blue tit all obliged - but I loved this one of the blue tit sitting on the packaging.

This week I have - whilst suffering with a rather stinking cold - undertaken three photo shoots. An engineering company, a Health and Safety advisor and a Physiotherapist. more will follow about that work and images to share.

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06 April 2012

Good Friday, Good Week

A photo shoot started the week for the lovely Cheryl - Vibrant Life Aromatherapy. I was capturing her in action so that she can populate her website with unique images of her and not have to resort to stock shots like all her competitors. We had great fun.

After processing the images I can safely say there are some lovely images - they really capture her spirit and skills. I captured this lovely shot of her daughter whilst we were setting up and if you have been paying attention you might recognise Rehanne for a shoot I did back in October.

The weather caused me some issues on Wednesday. On my return from a network meeting at 'Derby Hub' I found that the wind had blown my recycling boxes and bins all the way around to the front of the house and the contents up and down the road. 20 minutes later I had rounded up all my litter - what a performance.

I had an enjoyable time at the lunchtime meeting, seeing a couple of people I have meet before, making new contacts and I also received an offer of a very interesting and exciting contract. Will tell more when it's in the bag.

Thursday saw me taking an obscure route to get to the Ferrers Centre via Breedon on the Hill (don't ask) but I was treated to the sight of Breedon Church, on top of its escarpment, with the snow capped Peak District in the background.

There is no need to show you a photograph of that, use your imagination and consider the beauty of the gorgeous little pockets around us. Caught up with my mate and got the chance to let off steam about a couple of ridiculous things that happened to me this week and returned home full of tea and happiness.

Friday morning I was at my network meeting where I was asked my opinion on the suitability of a new camera for their daughter (lucky girl I say). I also planned the nitty gritty of the half day shoot I am doing on my return on 16th.

After the meeting a few of us went of on a different type of shoot - in the woods. A little bit of field archery is what you need on a Good Friday morning. Decided to give myself the rest of the day off.

This weekend I am preparing camera equipment, ideas, battery chargers and clothes ready for 5 days working at Eden Project again. It is my intention to capture some time-lapse movies; interview and photograph the very talented, enthusiastic, motivated staff and respond to the brief the Eden Project Marketing Team give me during those 5 days. I will be with creative types so I am really looking forward to this.

A networking friend is also down in Cornwall, on a family holiday, next week and has said if there is a cold/rainy day they will all descend on the Eden Project and forewarn me with a text. I am hoping for a rainy day so I get to see them.

More later my friends - and this week has shown me once again just how important my friends are.

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