31 May 2012

100 children, 2 network meetings and a give-away

Well I knew today was going to be busy - and I was correct.

Started with accompanying the new Mayor of Ashby Woulds - the lovely Mrs Sue McKendrick - to Albert Village Primary School for her to give to each child a coin and flag to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Every child had dressed in red, white and blue and the room was a riot of colour. A very uplifting and lovely event - so glad I got the chance to capture it. When I saw the children enjoying their flags so much I got Sue to stand in amongst them with their flags waving. Brilliant. It has been sent to the Ashby Times so let's hope they use it.

Mayor of Ashby Woulds Town Council - Mrs Sue McKendrick
and the children of Albert Village School

WIBN Burton meeting went down very well and I had a lot of very positive feedback about my work and the way I work with others. I also received two more commissions and am very excited about those. We had two new members join this month and a visitor who is very excited about being at the Burton Group. Networking really works for me and in more ways than one.

Thought I had time to download the School images when I returned home but time was running away with me and I needed to be at Stephenson College to photograph an event my Friday morning network was holding. A chance for local businesses to meet up and chat and to hear what the plans for the economic future and growth for Leicestershire are going to be and how we can get involved.

 I got to see my new banner, which formed a bank of banners, behind the speaker. I donated a prize for the business card raffle and offered a Business Portrait. The gentleman that won was over the moon and very keen to get in touch to claim his prize. Might be that I can encourage him to use me for other work within his company - I shall see what I can do.

A lovely, busy, rewarding, challenging, encouraging week. Makes me realise just how lucky I am and how I have made the correct decisions every step of the way.

Love my life. Am going to give myself a couple of days off before I start my epic street party time-lapse on Monday!

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Two Shoots - One Day

The sun was up, the day was hot, but I had so much fun. Started by capturing a class of 45 4 year olds. What a delight. I really enjoyed that and it was lovely to see Ashley again - who now refers to me as Play-doh Jo!

Home to download the images and create an image where each child was looking up, had their eyes open and not pulling a silly face. Didn't take as long as I thought. I really enjoyed doing this and am hoping it will lead to future work. Delightful.

Prepared for my WIBN meeting tomorrow. Tidied up a time-lapse movie to show, wrote my monthly minute, put together items to show off and wrapped a present for my special friend in case I don't see her on her birthday. Oh and organised a lift.

Then to finish off the afternoon I went and spent an hour with Elaine and Winnie. Winnie was very entertaining when charging around the garden and digging. Managed to get a couple of shots of her panting after her exertions.

Love capturing images of people's pets. So much love.

Got some lovely shots of Elaine for her social media profiles too. A very easy subject to work with and I love some of the images I have captured for her.

Home to download images and prepare them ready for tomorrow along with purchase orders and invoices. Am also sorting prints and business cards for a client. Also tomorrow I am looking forward to seeing my new banner. Busy day ahead tomorrow so will take pics and report on that too. A very satisfying day. And an interesting one ahead on Thursday.

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30 May 2012

Exhibition Showreel

Have decided to put some of my time-lapse movies onto the Exhibition Showreel along with still images. The Showreel will run the whole week. I have a few I would be happy to show but I think they need a little tweak to make sure the story is understood. There is one that needs finishing off with some original music. I will finalise the Eden Project time-lapse and add some of the interviews captured last year with visitors and staff.

I have cleared 5 days over the next week to complete this. Really looking forward to spending time with After Effects again.

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Exhibition decisions being made

My exhibition at Burton Town Hall for the week of 18th June is looming large. Have been deciding which of my images to exhibit, how big and what type of frame. I like three different types of frame and have set myself a generous budget.

Have been in touch with Hayman Graphics to ask for a quote on the three types of finish - batterned foamex, foamex with thin frame or floating frame. The cost will be the determining factor. Spent the afternoon checking what size the images need to be and which will work best together. I have decided on the planes and gulls triptych (spelling?) - the large colour image in the middle will be A1 and the two black and white ones at the side will be A2.

I am also getting a quote for other images from my small world project which I may exhibit at Melbourne Arts Festival in September. Plan A and Plan B sorted.

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29 May 2012

Buzzing ears and vibrating trousers

Nasty headache on Sunday was not going to be improved by going to a gig at the Rescue Rooms.

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Lighting kit a go-go

Been and got it and what a wonderful surprise - a shop with staff that know there stuff and are happy to chat with you about what you are after. It was a pleasure to hand over a large sum of money to them. Would recommend you check out Morris Photography for any camera accessories.

It all came in so many boxes - it was like Christmas
I was so excited about fetching this kit, pathetically so. The final piece of kit that I need. Everything else will be about improvements, replacements or development. Here I go then - out into the big bad world out there - but you know what it wont be bad and if it's big then that means there will be plenty of work to go around.
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24 May 2012

London - A Gig and A Gallery

Off to London to a gig at the Royal Albert Hall. Cannot believe going to the hottest, stickiest place on a hot day. Bad planning. But you cant plan the weather. Decided that galleries will be a cool dark place to be.

Treat on the drive into London - went in via M40/A40 route for a change (actually it was just so I could drive past the Hoover Building). As we drove past I managed to capture a few shots out of the passenger window and have put together a very crude panorama.

What is not to love about this building
Art Deco-tastic. I am going to try and get the opportunity to go in and photograph it one day. Next we drove past the Television Centre - again a lovely building.

BBC Television Centre
Going to see the Ed Burtynsky work at the Photographer's Gallery. Haven't been there since it re-opened so it will be nice to see what changes they have made. Wow the new building is something else - very pleasant.

The Camera Obscura can be seen poking out of the building near the 'P'

It was great to get up close and personal with Ed's work and I also got the chance to investigate some options for mounting/framing my work ready for the exhibition in 3 weeks. Must get on with that this week.

A wander around London in the heat was not a good idea but did get to see Regent Street. The flags are going up and it is starting to get all jubileed and olympicd up!

Regent Street, London

Too hot so then sat in a pub the other side of Hyde Park and discovered that my phone is actually quite cool.

Cool Phone

Then it was too the gig. Seats right at the back, in the highest heights of the Royal Albert Hall - so far away performers were but 10mm dots on the stage. The revolving song book was huge and I took this image with my little point and shoot on maximum zoom.

Songbook Wheel

He was in fine voice and I would say his voice gets better with age. Will be listening to the back catalogue over the summer. Also heard some songs I have never heard him do (or heard he has done) live before - particularly Tramp the Dirt Down. Brilliant.

Home about 2am - hot and done in.

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21 May 2012

Over 10,000

In the greater scheme of things getting over 10,000 hits in a year and half on my blog is not really any sort of achievement. However I am proud of it and I do rather enjoy blogging about my work and the ocassional quote and personal trials and tribulations. So, my tiny but perfectly formed little auidence, I shall continue.

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Nigella Damascena
Six Decades
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15 May 2012

Successful Journey

Well it could have been a disaster of missed trains, delays and cancellations. But thanks to all the delightful station staff at the far too numerous changes I needed to do I safely got to Glasgow. I have never changed trains so many times in a journey and I have been to stations I've never been to before.

My unrealistic romantic ideas of train travel have been a little dinted today, but I am thankful for all the help in finding platforms and coaches. And now I can relax with 5 days with little planned ahead of me.

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13 May 2012

Why can I not get Customer Service

I understand, appreciate and actually support the striking train drivers on East Midlands Trains. However the customer services, urgent emails and website information is not helping me with my travelling anxieties.

East Midlands Parkway

The train they have booked me on does not seem to exist anymore so I cannot determine if I will be travelling the Nottingham to Manchester leg of the journey by train or bus. I actually don't care which it is as long as I get to Glasgow. But they have raised my anxiety by sending me an URGENT ATTENTION email in red asking me to find out more.

I have phoned them only to be told I can find out at the station on the day whether it is bus or train. Well that is no help at all - I already know that. I was on hold for more than 5 min on a premium rate phoneline to be told that!

Oh and the best bit they offered to let me travel on a different day on their trains. However the rest of the journey, which isn't on East Mids trains, I cannot change the day! ha ha ha ha Is it me or does this not make sense at all?

The result:
  • I know less than I did before I was made aware of the strike
  • My phone bill will be higher
  • I am slightly annoyed

Have just worked out it is 5 hours in the car (6 hours on train). 
I have to change trains 4 times on the way up and 3 times on the way back.
It is 285 miles - so petrol would only cost about £10 more than the cheap train ticket I managed to get. 

Guess what?

Next time I am driving up. I wont have to worrying about how much kit I'm taking. I can visit cousins on the way. I can be in charge of it all.

I got swayed by the romance of train travel only to find out it is no better than one of the sheep you see crammed into a trailer on their way to a slaughter house - but let's hope I don't get pissed on - rain is fine, there's going to be plenty of that. 

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10 May 2012

Scary Portrait

You may recall this challenge I set myself back in January - (Bloomfeld and Sherlock). I've been a little busy so I hadn't quite completed this. However this evening there was weird lovely sunlight streaming through the windows as a storm rolled across the Moira sky. I grabbed my camera, the floor covering and a victim and captured some images.

After a bit of cropping and processing I think I have captured sinister and pleading - these two are my favourites:



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09 May 2012

The End is Nigh

Very soon I will no longer have to go into College. No longer will I have to sit in the cafe or gallery space and overhear conversations of children.

They know everything, but really they know nothing. They think they are grown up, but still snort like a child at something risqué. They have no manners, no sense of style and no grace.

I hope they are learning, but most of them talk about how they haven't done work. This seems to be greated by the rest of the group like a badge of honour. I hope they succeed. I hope they get through this awkward phase to become brilliant adults. I hope they get jobs but most of all - I hope they grow up.

However, this all leads me to the conclusion that what I am most grateful for, apart from a happy, content and peaceful life, is that I never had children. Don't get me wrong - I do like children - what I am saying is that I'm glad I don't have my own.

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08 May 2012

Peter Cushing Whitstable song

"Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable,
You can see him on his bicycle,
He goes shopping for his vegetables,
Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable.

If you watch QI you will have heard Alan Davis sing this song by the Jellybottys. You will never again be able to hear the name Whitstable without singing this song. Sorry

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2 Cathedrals, 2 Days, 1 Birthday

Our little trip to Kent has been interesting.

Arrived Rochester - well actually Strood. Had to cross the Medway on foot over one of the three bridges that span the water all very close together. Then we were in historic Rochester.

Many fine and frankly ancient buildings along the medieval High Street. Unique shops, very few chains, weirdly named alleys, cobbled streets and most buildings had a plaque or memorial stone to some event or some one. Over the years, clearly it has all happened in Rochester.

The connection, however tenuous, with Charles Dickens, is squeezed out at every available way. And why not I say.

The castle and cathedral are almost side by side - so they were both photographed. We had slight confusion of where to have lunch. Our desire to find pubs put of the good pub guide has more recently had disastrous results. (only disastrous for our tummies) and once again we found a pub that didn't serve food. The Coopers Arms (no relation) did however serve a lovely ale which we consumed with glee.
Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral has had many changes and additions over the centuries. Its facade is built of gorgeous honey coloured stone with delightful carvings. Clearly there has been some restoration but it does look lovely. The war memorial mosaics in the nave were very interesting. The interior is full of the different styles connected with cathedrals Norman arches, Gothic windows, Victorian screens, Pugin tiles. The over riding memory of the place is that, like Rochester itself, every available spot is dedicated to, or in memory of, someone.

Visited the 'largest second-hand book shop in England'. Obviously lots of books. Time and money spent in joy.

The Crypt at Rochester - wonderful space

Headed to Whitstable, the home of Peter Cushing. We sang the Peter Cushing song. (See here). We had tea in the Peter Cushing Weatherspoons. A sumptuous former art deco cinema - what a lovely place lovingly refurbished. Then onto the beach to try some long exposures of the seascape at twilight. We saw fireworks off in the distance and wondered if they were to celebrate Boris's win as Lord Mayor of London? But a little unsure of the geography so didn't really know.

Whitstable Beach

Back to hotel which is in a place called 'Bobbing' much mirth and merriment was to be had with the sat nav - childish I know but we are on holiday and it is nearly my birthday. Downloaded all images captured today. There are some with potential. I particularly like mine of the huge crypt. Whilst we were downloading we watched a documentary on BBC Four about Fleetwood Mac. Music and Photography. Brilliant.

Set off the Canterbury Cathedral. Wow what a space. We paid £9.50 to get in - quite steep but I say again wow. Spent all day in the Cathedral with a quick walk around the city centre to find lunch. Beautiful city with tremendously old buildings. I'll let the images do the talking:

Oh yes it was my birthday too - I got a splendid present - Oblique Strategies, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. This will be so helpful when I get stuck with a project or a business idea. Cant wait to show them off.

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04 May 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's off to Kent we go ...

Not a county I am familiar with - usually a county I travel through to get to somewhere more interesting. Or get stuck on Euro Star in! That's a long story of fun and disappointment, another time perhaps.

Having a 'Cathedrals' trip with my tog group and to celebrate my birthday. I fancy pushing the envelope a little and seeing if we can't get over to the new Tate at Ramsgate - or is it Margate? I have always wanted to go to Dungeness too - sounds like it should be in Scotland but no - it sits there quietly down on the south coast.

But before I go off and enjoy myself I need to go and give my 10 min presentation with the reward of a full English breakfast.

Hi Ho

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03 May 2012

Clever Car

Look at what my car did the other day...

from this ...

to this ...

... nearly half way to the moon.

The camera on my phone really is appalling.

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10 minute presentation

As part of networking - those of you that network know this to be the case - you occasionally have to give a 10 minute presentation about yourself or your work. Something that will help your audience better understand your work, your offer, or the type of customers you are seeking.

Today at WIBN meeting it is my 10 minutes. I have made a power point presentation showing everyone what they should look for when they are thinking of using a photographer, a little about photoshop, things people say to photographers and a bit of fun at the end a competition to see if my audience has been listening.

It also seems that I might be giving this presentation at my Friday morning network meeting (NLB) as this weeks chap cannot be there.

I will be talking about the number of different skills you need in order to be successful as a photographer and liken myself to someone who has schizophrenia as I need more than one head and more than one discipline.

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Piano Restoration time-lapse movie

Successful capture of the piano being serviced and then the keys replaced and put back together. Had something like 2000 images to handle for this movie and the result is a 2 min movie showing just how much hard work Doug puts into looking after these keyboards for his clients.

Yesterday I go the chance to show it to people who would give me constructive criticism. I have taken on board their suggestions and ideas and I will give the movie a final polish before I post it on here - I might also add some originally composed music as well.

In the meantime here is a still from the movie and I need to get back to the software and do those final tweaks - watch this space.

Doug playing to the camera - hmmmmm

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02 May 2012


For the very first time I went to a watch a 3D film at the cinema. I have never wanted to do this but a ticket had been purchased and it seemed rude to say no. Next I find out that the film is about Pina Bausch - a dancer and choreographer. Again not something I have ever been interested - but it would seem rude to say no.

Quick google revealed Pina as a contemporary dancer/choreographer who died in 2009 before they finished the film directed by Wim Wender (he of Paris, Texas). I was still not sure what to expect. A quick look at the trailers didn't really help convenience me this was going to be a good thing - but it seemed rude to say no.

Made our way to the Electric (actually holding hands!), were given our 3D glasses and we sat down to see what this was going to be all about.

Oooooo the 3D effect is something else when seen for the first time. But as the film settled down and got going it didn't really give me anything a beautifully presented 2D film would have done. However what a 2D film would give me is high definition and clarity and no headache.

The 3D glasses are very heavy and for a 2 hour film were digging a groove in my nose. I think my eyes and brain got a bit tired and confused - towards the end of the film I was seeing ghosts of the dancers and no amount of head repositioning would get them back properly into focus. This is what created the headache - I hate not being able to get everything in focus.

And the film - well that was really sweet - I am no lover of contemporary dance - but this was - well - great. Some bits I did not understand, but some bits were tremendously sweet, tender, aggressive, powerful. I loved that the dancers, in some cases, had been with Pina for upwards of 30 years. They were all ages and from all parts of the world. Men and women alike were gifted, athletic, slightly bonkers and, although I know nothing, extraordinarily good dancers. Beautifully filmed and I actually think I would like to see it on a big screen in 2D.

Although the Electric has unique 3D glasses which are obviously not cheap I still don't think the 3D technology has advanced enough to make watching a 3D film entirely comfortable.

Glad I went - because one should always experience things before spouting on about it. And the bonus was that I had a delightful tea cooked for me - homemade paella and homemade bread. Yum

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