Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Moments

Today was just going to be a follow on to the holiday stories, but an email waiting for me when I logged on has changed that. One of my favourite blogs has gone “invitation only” and that has re awakened an internal debate over the nature of blogging.

I started blogging as a challenge and as a way of getting my photos to a larger audience, I ended up being able to spell audience right first try (really not bad for me as I’m Dyslexic and before starting this hardly strung 3 words together) and finding myself interacting with people all over the world (my first thought when hearing of an earthquake or Tsunami is “I hope no one I know is hurt”). Unintended benefits of doing the blog are that people I know now read it, which is great, but it does have the drawback that some things which I could talk about, if it was an anonymous blog, have to stay secret for fear that they could damage friendships, family harmony or job prospects.

A number of blogs that I have read over the years have gone private, they all started out anonymously and then people recognised them or people they had told, told others that were not so welcome and they had to make the tuff decision to go invitation only or curb what they write. I had no option when I started this as it hard to sell photos when no one knows who you are, but this does mean that I edit what I say and try to keep a balanced tone.

What is interesting is that the blogs I love (see blog of the week) when they are written blogs, rather than just photo blogs, are all quite out spoken and at time controversial, while still being inoffensive (mostly, you known who you are). But they are all anonymous and use that freedom well. I’m sure that one day I’ll write this with one too many glasses of wine inside me and let slip more than I mean too, but even knowing that I don’t think I could ever stop.

The blog that started this post was also the next blog on my list for blog of the week, I had only held off doing it earlier as I had picked so many of my long standing blogging friends and thought it was looking a bit unbalanced.

The picture today is of the Cuillin hill on Skye, this was the view we had driving towards them on our way to walk amongst them, but not to climb them this time.



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Monday, September 28, 2009

Blog of the week - Glimpses through the mashrabeya

Blog of the week time, after a break for the holiday, this one is a blog close to my own heart, a daily photo blog. When I start this blog I had no idea what a commitment it would be and having kept it up for the full year now understand what it takes to keep producing good, interesting photos day after day, while also trying to have a life. Lisa from Glimpses through the mashrabeya manages to keep giving us interesting and inspiring photos day after day, so inspiring that they have influenced the way I both take and look at pictures, so go and be inspired at Glimpses through the mashrabeya.

On a similar note I have just posted the next part of my photo course at Brett Trafford photography blog, all about how to improve your technique.

Today I have just been declared fit to return to the land of the living by my doctor, it has been nearly 6 months but I can now sustain long enough periods at the computer to return to work, although on a limited basis at the moment. This is great news, if a little daunting, as for so long I have had just Caz and Kep for company and have seen only a few people at a time, so spending hours with loads of people is quite intimidating. Also after so long away from my job I have forgotten most of what I knew so I have a long hard struggle to re learn it all again.

The image for today is taken from the side of the Pap of Glen Coe looking down on to the village and the loch.



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Friday, September 25, 2009

Glen Coe and the Pap

Our first adventure into big Scottish mountains started off with a bit of a navigational error on my part, I took the wrong turn, the very first turn off the road and then followed the wrong path too the middle of a wood, where it ran out and left us a bit bemused as to what to do next. Being as it was a hot day and we really did not have the time to back track our steps, we, once having found where we were, headed through the trees to the side of a little loch which had a lovely walk around it called the Lochan trail. This is the spot today’s picture was taken from, a very lucky accident had lead us to a most wonderful spot and far from it being a day wasted it became a day to treasure.

The mountain in the picture was our target for the day, the Pap of Glen Coe and we managed to clime it the following day with much less trouble. The mountain is only small by Scottish standards but still a fair climb with enough height to make me shake a bit on the last clamber to the summit.

We left Glen Coe with much regret the following day to continue our journey north, stopping off to climb a small hill called Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis for those of you not in the known is the UK largest mountain and for all its height is very easy to climb, in that the path is wide and well trod, but it does go straight up from the word go and seems only to get steeper the higher you go. The weather on the mountain is famous for being bad, over 300 days a year with cloud on the summit, so to spend a whole day in fine sunshine and clear sky’s was such a treat and one I would not have missed, but it did make the final run to Skye, after 9 hours walking, a bit of a pain.



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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Chas n Dave (see foot note)

One of the things putting us off a trip to Scotland was the distance involved just to get any where; it takes us 3 hours just to reach the boarder and another hour to get past Glasgow and into the wilder countryside. When you think that our normal drive to the Lake District takes only 3 hours to get right to the centre, we both faced the longer run with some trepidation, who wants to spend so long in a car when you pass such great walking only a couple of hours into the journey?

The answer was to brake up the drive with a stop for a walk on route and for the run up we chose Moffat or a hill just out side of there. When the walk was done we headed back to the town for a meal before carrying on to our over night stop, that’s when I fell in love with Moffat. It is just a lovely little town, peopled with great folk and just enough shops to make it interesting without over whelming you, we eat in a lovely hotel where the staff were perfect and the meal was eaten, to the accompaniment of a harpist, in a faded but plush dinning room and us straight of the hill in our walking gear. So if you find yourself in Moffat I can recommend the Buccleuch hotel on Bank Square.

The next day found us heading up country to Glen Coe, the sun was out and the sky was blue as we ran up the side of Loch Lomond just enjoying all the new sights that appeared as the miles rolled by. The final run into Glen Coe was fantastic as you start at the top of the Glen and run down to the Loch, slowly being enveloped by the mountains which tower all around. The B&B was right by the loch and had one of the best views we have ever seen from our room’s window. The picture was taken down by Loch Leven the next morning, just before breakfast and only a few feet from the B&B.



Sad news Chas n Dave have called it a day so no more Rock-ney
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Monday, September 21, 2009

There can be only one

Holiday time again, I’ve just got back from touring Scotland over the last week and am now back trying to catch up on all the jobs I’ve been putting off till after the holiday (it seemed such a long time away and now its here).

It has been years since I visited Scotland and now I remember why I love it so much, it’s not the views, the countryside, the buildings or the weather (which was warm and sunny for nearly the whole week) it’s the people. From the moment we stepped out of the car in Moffat we came across loads of warm friendly people, who all proceeded to talk to us about the places we were at and the places we should see, the locals all spoke with a pride you just don’t seem to find in England and the tourists spoke with a touch of awe over what they had seen.

So while I catch up here on all my jobs here is a shot of Eilean Donan castle and if it looks familiar here is a list of films it has been in, The Master of Ballantrae (1953), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Highlander (1985), Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987), Loch Ness (1996), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Kandukondain Kandukondain (2000), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Made of Honor (2007) and in BBC mini series Oliver's Travels.



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Friday, September 18, 2009

Challenged

Challenges, we face these every day, rude people, crap drivers (women in 4x4 in supermarket car parks) or just trying to write a post while listening to you tube (KT Tunsall doing Teenage kicks!) but some challenges are ones we put ourselves through and may plan them for years before having to face them.

For me the greatest challenges so far have been unplanned whims, building a VW beetle from scratch (no prior experience!) hitch hiking the length of the country and doing a daily blog for a year.

Other challenges are ahead in my future like walking the Pennine way, a long way in the future as well as in distance; this picture is of the Pennine way or at least a small part as it heads over Pen-y-Ghent in Yorkshire.

Closer in time is the challenge to change the direction of my life as now I’m well on the road to full fitness I feel I have less time to waste and want to make a bigger impact on the world and have more control over my life, just the simple stuff then!



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Monday, September 14, 2009

Blog of the week - Faces in places

After last weeks blog of the week, this weeks is again all about a face, or the impression of a face. Faces in places is a photographic collection of faces found in everyday places, but not real faces. Pop over to the site to see as it would take longer to sum up such a great idea, but be warned you will start seeing faces every where.

Today’s picture is of a money tree, again not quite what the name brings to mind but a great subject for a photo, this tree is on the waterfall walk just out side Ingleton.




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Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you?

Kennedy, Lennon and 9/11; no it is not a list of bad things that have happened in America, but a list of time defining moments, you could add to this princess Diana and going back in time there are probable a lot more you could use. They all have one thing in common; you will know where you were when you heard about them, it’s like a time stamp in your life.

John Lennon I heard about, fittingly enough, in a music room at school, I had no real idea who he was (not a big Beatles fan) and still cannot see the point in all the acclaim for his music, but the event stuck in my mind as one of the clearest memories from my school days.

Princess Diana I heard about off the news one morning as I was getting ready for work, it had a feeling of unreality about the whole thing. Driving work on the day of her funeral I remember how empty every where looked, like the whole country was in morning.

9/11 stands out because once it had become clear what had happened you just knew the world had changed. I was working in a building society branch in Ashborne at the time, a very local place where most of the customers were known to the staff and gossip was as much a part of the transaction as the cash. Customers started to come in with these fantastic tails which sounded more like a Hollywood epic than a news story, but as time went on the picture became very real and phone calls home and too other work mates quick started to spread the word. I had the chance to leave the branch and walk down to the local bank past the TV shop which was showing footage on all the screens, truly a time defining moment.

When London was attacked I have no problem remembering every moment of that whole morning, as Caz was down there, travelling across the city by tube. She had rung me to say the tube was closed for some reason and that she was just getting on to a bus. I put on the TV after she had gone and heard that a bus had been blown up, I then spent the morning trying to get in touch with her, only succeeding around lunch time, she not having a clue that I had thought the worst.

So, where were you in these life defining moment?

The photo is of the Ribble head viaduct in Yorkshire.



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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nile sunset

I see the light, after a few days of cloud and rain this morning dawns with a cloud inversion and a bright blue sky. It’s the first morning that I have wanted to grab my camera and head to the hills in a very long time; it just shows what a difference a bit of sun can do.

So that’s what I did, I stopped writing this post and went out for 3 hours onto the hills above Leek, just the way to start the day.

Another picture from our trip to Egypt, a sunset over the Nile.



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Monday, September 7, 2009

Blog of the week - The Adaption to My Generation

Blog of the week this week is less of a blog and more a daily photo site, but I like it and feel you will too. It’s called The Adaption to My Generation and is a photo a day of the photographers face from 1998, the whole set are shown as a video that runs for just short of 2 mins and is fascinating to watch, it is such a cool idea.

The new web site, bretttrafford.com now shows on Google, it took only 2 days; the last site took 6 months to appear in the search engines so I’m very happy at that and will be tweaking the site over the coming weeks so any feed back would be appreciated.

Photo today was taken back in 2004 on our holiday to Egypt, not knowing what to expect I only took a digital compact camera , next time I’m taking my full kit as the place is just fantastic.



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Friday, September 4, 2009

Bretttrafford.com

Some times fate forces your hand and this is one of the prime examples, as I mentioned earlier I have had some problems with my web site host and now because of their change in policy I have had to rethink my whole web strategy. For nearly a year I have been unhappy with my main web site but have been unable, because of time or fitness, to do anything about it, but now I have had to make the changes that have been in mind for so long. So meet the new site,


So what’s new, well the layout is all new and is based on my excellent business cards designed exclusively for me by Trevor Bass. The navigation is always on screen so hoping around the site should be a lot faster. The links at the moment are quite limited as I have had to do all of this in quite a rush and am not really a web site designer, but it is built so I can add to it very easily. The sales link goes straight to my Red bubble site and gives you the chance to buy the images in a number of formats and preview what they look like on screen.

The biggest change is the address Bretttrafford.com, yes I’m now a dot com!!!! This has left me with one little problem, even though I have had a web site for year’s it now does not show up on Google so I need some help if any of you can find the time or space, can you drop a link to the site in your post or on your site, as this will increase the chances of Google and the like of finding me. Also if you visit the site I would love so feed back either on here or using the contact me link on Bretttrafford.com, (the more I link it in this post the better).

The picture today is again from the waterfall walk, enjoy.


Bless my cotton socks I'm in the news
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yorkshire

Yorkshire, the name for me conjures up images of grim northern towns or bleak farm covered hills, rain and darkness predominate and the people gruff and taciturn. So I was looking forward to our camping trip in the middle of the wettest summer I’ve ever known.

We pitched the tent on a little site just outside of the village of Austwick, in between rain showers and in high wind. The site was nice and flat with about ¾ of the field filled by the time the sun set and very little noise from the site on the first night.

Sunday was spent doing touristy visits to the local villages and ended with me having to change a tyre on a supermarket car park after hitting a kerb at high speed.

Back at the camp site the numbers had dropped considerably and we all settled down to a quite night, until the disco started. Site rules stated that all noise should stop at 11:00, so at 10:45 at the other end of the field, from within a complex of tents and gazebos came the very loud sound of a 70’s disco. Not being someone who likes to spoil people fun I was happy to let this go on for a short time but by 12:00 I had had it with Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, Chic, and The Jackson’s and set out in to the dark to confront the party animals. Now this is very un me, I hate confrontation and being quite small very rarely stand up to people let alone a group of drunks, in the dark, and in the middle of no where. My only consideration was that I would not have even have gotten out of my tent if they had been playing hard core rap or heavy metal, but 70’s disco! On reaching the tents I found that it really was a disco complete with lights and everything, the only people in view were a couple smooching on the dance floor and after prising them apart they were quite happy to turn the music off.

The next day saw us doing a short walk from Ingleton that worked its way up river past a staggering 17 waterfalls, the picture today is from this walk. Following on from this we tackled the Yorkshire 3 peaks (but not in one day as its about 25 miles) and also took one of the great train journeys from Settle to Carlisle, along what must be the most scenic line in the country.

All of the above was less than ½ an hour away from the camp site and all of it was fantastic. The weather did not interfere with our plans and for the most part we stayed dry, the light was fantastic and the countryside far lovelier than I expected, the people were great and very happy and bright. All in all a great week and I would go back in an instant.




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