Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The credit crunch is seriously hitting the UK. The pound is extremely weak against the Dollar and the Euro at the moment. Many Brits apparently are choosing not to holiday abroad but to stay at home. The TV news report today showed a group of young people who were holidaying in Dover. This came as a huge surprise to me - mainly because I had taken this picture today. This is prime location, directly opposite the 'marina' - a sorry closed down, boarded up hotel. Not my ideal holiday location.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I like the way the sun shines through the blinds, you really can't beat natural light. I did try a quick portrait but my model didn't have her 'lippy' on so the photo did not get the necessary model release.
My picture features an old Bakelite GPO 300 type telephone which I bought on eBay. Sadly it has some of it's internals missing so it doesn't work properly but looks good.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I can't believe I have resorted to taking pictures of eggs - it is beyond a yoke.
Cracking picture though .....
Monday, January 26, 2009
Another Monday slips by and I managed a quick shot just before the sun went down. I know I shouldn't wish my life away but I can't wait for the lighter evenings.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
My beautiful daughter Hannah, (fortunately she gets her looks from her mum) in a rare co-operative moment. Possibly because she needed the services of Dad's taxi. If I'd had more time I would have put the flash outside of the window which would have given a much nicer light. The only problem is I have mislaid my flash gels and Marley (the dog) attacks my light stand if it is outside.
This wasn't my intended picture for the day but once it was 'in the bag' it seemed a shame to take anything else.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Looking out of the window I could see the sun setting so I decided to dash out with the camera and try and get a picture. I am fairly disappointed with the result but it will have to do. Don't get me wrong I like sunsets but it's nice to have some sort of point of interest.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
When it gets to 21:30 and you haven't taken your daily photo it is not good. I don't really like still life so thought I would try moving-still life, or that was the idea. The simple plan was to set the camera to bulb, spin the coin and manually fire the off camera flash multiple times to capture the different angles of the spinning coin. Oh... and this had to happen in a darkened room. It quickly became apparent that two hands were not enough - one brain was struggling with the co-ordination too. First I enlisted the help of Hazel, then when it became obvious that neither of us could spin a coin so we had to request Hannah's assistance. The result is a work in progress - we will have another go when time is on our side.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I got the old trumpet out today, under the misconception that I might still be able to play it. I got a note out of it but it wasn't promising. The dogs, well Marley in particular was not impressed. I think he hates it - he howls, not sure if he is trying to sing along or is in pain. The saying in band circles was always - if you can't play it, clean it - or invest in a set of expensive mouthpieces. Well I am not going to do either of those because even more of the lacquer would come off and my problem goes way beyond mouthpiece choice. So, the only useful thing I could do was take a picture and to keep with the musical theme I laid it flat and kept the focus sharp...aaahhh - I need to get out more.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Like most other parents I seem to spend a large amount of time chauffeuring the kids. Tonight's picture, another self portrait was taken in between pick-ups.
I need to take more pictures of people but my reclusive lifestyle doesn't given me too much of an opportunity however I have a plan...
Monday, January 19, 2009
Walking the dogs has made me realise just how much littter there is around the village. If you walk up the road after the school run, there is a paper trail leading you wrapper by coke bottle by crisp packet to the school gate. My theory is they need this trail so they can find their way 'Hansel and Gretel' style, home. And dogs - or irresponsible dog owners really make me sick - your dog did it, pick it up! I may joke but sadly something as simple as dropping a sweet wrapper just shows a lack of any sort of pride and is sadly indicative of the state our country.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The dog alarm clock went off again at 05:15. bad enough any day but particularly unpleasant on a windy, wet Sunday morning. Fortunately the weather improved through the morning and we were able to get out of the house. We drove over to Sandwich, parked on the quayside and walked along the river bank towards Sandwich bay. The winter sun was spectacular lighting everything in a warm orange - today's picture is un-photoshopped and I think the colours look like a Turner painting.
Over our meal this evening we chatted about holidays and what we would like to do this year. Thomas is off to America so it just leaves the three of us. Hannah explained that she would like to go on one of those 'inconclusive' holidays - I can only guess that this is the credit crunch version of an all inclusive!!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
There is a fantastic vantage point on the White Cliffs of Dover giving superb views of the docks and across the English Channel to France. Having failed miserably to get a picture during daylight hours plan B was to get a long exposure shot of the docks. The Langdon Cliffs area has now been taken over by the National Trust which I am sure is excellent for preserving the environment but is rubbish when you just want to take a few pictures. Where you used to be able to park freely, the car park is now gated at night. There is room to squeeze your car in front of the gates but there is a polite message telling you not to park there as it blocks access for the emergency services. We decided to risk it and abandoned the car in the shadow of the no parking sign. Camera bag in one hand, tripod and torch in the other we clambered down the grassy bank to get a good view. My assistant tonight would prefer not to be named for legal reasons. She expressed her concern that we would fall over the cliff edge and the ambulance and search party would not be able to rescue us as some idiot had parked in front of the gates.
We made it to our vantage point with no drama. The Gateway to England, the busiest passenger port in Europe was not very busy tonight. I had anticipated hundreds of cars crawling around the dock roads painting their light streams on my picture - it wasn't to be. Also the huge 'street lights' give the whole area a virtual daylight effect meaning no long exposures. Whilst this was a bummer to my creativity my assistant reminded me (constantly) of the wind chill factor and how we could be at home in the warm.
Anyway the long and the short of it, a very average picture but I was thanked for taking out my 'assistant' on a Saturday night...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
A busy day at work, the car had to go to the body repair shop, we had a meeting at the school and the dogs went to their first obedience class (they didn't take part - just went to spectate). Sadly little time for a picture...
Fortunately, or not, children leave props all over the house so here we have a pair of shoes. Not mine!!
Not that anyone is likely to be interested but as part of this project I wanted to try and use off camera flash in attempt to make things more interesting. In this picture I used a gridded flash held above the subject - this is what gives the 'spotlight' effect.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Self portraits - I hate self portraits. Sadly though, if you are doing a picture a day inevitably you will will end up having to do one. I cheated slightly and enlisted the help of a carbon based tripod who was invaluable at getting the angle right. I promise something better tomorrow...
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I've noticed how differently we communicate with the kids. There are times when we phone them to turn down their music because it is easier than hollering up the stairs. On occasion we even chat on messenger whilst all in the same house. I even send them nagging emails now - see today's below.
Dear Child A number of things need to happen before you make any further plans..
1. Thank you letters, emails or calls need to be done ASAP - they cannot be put off any longer. Please advise when complete.
2. Bedrooms need sorting - and keeping tidy.
3. Dogs - you both need to walk one of the dogs at least once a week. If you don't they will hate you and think you are horrible nasty children and might eat you as well. No lifts or other niceties will be forthcoming from us (your parents) until you comply.
So today's picture is reluctant model Thomas having his hair cut - the picture has been processed with Poladroid as mentioned before
Monday, January 12, 2009
Paperwork is not one of my strong points.Anything online I am fine with but if it involves pieces of paper, stamps etc. it gets put it off to the last minute. I was however fairly proud of myself for preparing my latest travel claim, all the necessary receipts in order and in the special envelope ready to post. Now if I'd been super organised I would have photocopied everything ... but I didn't. I left the dogs for minutes - returning to find my carefully prepared returns shredded. I recovered what I could but suspect many VAT numbers are on their way to being digested. The next hour was spent with a reel of sellotape trying to piece together the puzzle. Another argument for the paperless office... or dog less house!!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Who could have predicted the proliferation of American style coffee shops - the likes of Starcrooks and Costa-lotta? They are everywhere you look, from motorway services to book shops. Perhaps I am old and grumpy but I don't really get it. You queue up to order and pay, then queue to get your drinks - if you are within five miles of home it would be quicker to pop back and make yourself a cuppa! And what do you get - frothy, yucky, overpriced muck. I mean why would you want syrup in you coffee for god's sake. Never fear though, you can have a calorific time bomb of a muffin or even a paninni. Give me a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich any day. Our culture is sliding out of control heading for globalised non-descript, faceless, characterless monotony. My picture reflects the eternal optimism of these coffee outlets. For the past few days the temperature has struggled to get passed freezing and these numpties have rows of chairs and tables outside - unbelievable.
You may have guessed that I have been shopping today - well I walked around behind the two ladies in my life, if that counts.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Friday, January 09, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Grim weather here today. The temperature made it just above freezing and the moisture from the melting ice and snow left us with a thick fog which lasted all day. I made it out for a quick walk at lunchtime with the dogs. The trees surrounding the recreation ground took on a haunting look - well not exactly but there was nothing else to photograph.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Very little time today, work and gym tonight. I can see this picture a day will be much harder than I thought!! I needed something quick and simple so I took a snap of a scene that is probably visible in most households at this time of year. Yes it is the obligatory Christmas tin of Quality Street - or what's left anyway. I processed the image through an application called Poladroid which attempts to recreate the old Polaroid look and feel. There seems to be a growing trend to make good pictures look 'retro' - it seems bizarre to take a good picture and degrade it in the name of art.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Yesterday was a significant day for me. I resigned from the Band I played with just before Christmas but yesterday was the first rehearsal I missed. I have played with the Band for about 30 years apart from a break when my son was born. I agonised over the decision although I still really enjoyed the playing, the commitment, two practices a week plus engagements was just too much. There are of course many other contributory factors, Band politics etc. etc ... but I won't go into those on a public blog. I still have to hand in my uniform and instrument so before before I do I thought I'd take a picture for old times sake. I will miss the fantastic instrument but not the ridiculous jacket....
Monday, January 05, 2009
I was really surprised when I looked out of the window this morning - we had a covering of snow. I don't know if it was forecast but it came as a shock to me. I took this picture quickly before it got light setting off a remote flash from a window to the right of the picture. I was hoping to get out and take a few more pictures but it is back to work today so sadly no time.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Another predictable day for us chores, gym, dog walk more chores. I took my camera on our walk. we went to Kearsney Abbey and I ended up with more dog photos. I really don't want to post a daily dog photo so needed something else. Fortunately for me we have been clearing away some of the Christmas debris which included a couple of cans of bitter which just needed drinking. Hazel of course assisted - not with the bitter but with the dregs of the Baileys. A rubbish photo but a nice pint! Back to work and school for everyone tomorrow :-(