Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog of the week - Eating Olives with My Dog

The Blog of the week this week will either be a classic that will run and run, or a flop that peters out after only a few short posts, I think that it will be the former and one day you might even see a book of the blog! So for a chance to be in almost at the start pop over to Eating Olives with My Dog, sounds like a great title for a book, and catch up with what I hope will be the start of a great adventure and a great blog.

My blog posts of late have been rather short and sometimes nearly none existent and I think its time for an explanation. I work part time and in April went off sick with an injured shoulder and neck, about the only thing it stopped me doing was using a PC for any length of time (blog post at this time were written over a large number of hours and even days), but by September I was well on the mend and started back to work. While off work I had made the momentous decision to become a full time photographer at some point in the near future and had started to raise my profile and try to get some paid work, this was all going great until I started back to my old job when time started to become a factor in all that I did. Although my heart lies with the photographer, my head likes the regular income from the part time job and things started to be put on the back burner, both blogs have taken the brunt of the cuts as you will know just how time consuming they can be.

Normally this would be fine as I have managed to do the blogs for nearly 2 years and hold down the job, but add in the attempts to get photographic work and it had all become a bit much and life has started to slip a bit. Now this could be a good point to say that I was going to quit blogging and to be honest I have just sat here for a while thinking that I had written a fine ending to the blog without realising it, but I would miss it too much, getting comments, reading blogs and posting pictures all have become such a part of my life I could not imagine going on without them. So I will try to be a better Blogger and if anyone needs a photographer you know where I am.

Photo today is of the colours of autumn that we had here just a few weeks ago.



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Friday, November 27, 2009

Real?

What do you think?


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Manchester.

No blog of the week this week as I missed Mondays post, due to the fact I was having such a good time away from my computer living it up in the big city, Manchester to be precise, getting all the Christmas shopping done.

In fact the whole weekend has been a break from the normal, although not as much fun as Monday, with 4 whole days off work we were able to do just what we wanted and on Sunday I came up with the great idea to decorate the kitchen.

What was I thinking, I thought we could do the whole thing in a day, wrong, I still have loads to do and the weekend is a distant memory, still it will look good once it is finished.

Manchester was great, we got the train from Macclesfield and by 10 am we were in the centre of the city with the whole day to our selves. The plan was to shop, grab a good meal at lunch time, see the Christmas market and have a ride on the big wheel and unusually for me it all worked out wonderfully, we even missed getting soaked by the heavy rain.. Caz got most of the things she was looking for and I came away with 2 new books and more importantly an idea what she wants for Christmas.

To finish off the day is style we stopped off at our favourite Mexican restaurant in Macclesfield El Rio’s where the food and welcome was as good as ever.

Picture today is one of a set taken around the site of Leeks newest supermarket, at the moment it is still an industrial estate but soon work will start to remove the old buildings to build houses and the supermarket. This building is to remain though, it a water mill built by James Brindley in 1752. If you could look right through this building you would be looking at the spot the poppy photo was taken from the last post.



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Friday, November 20, 2009

Bees to honey

Today a shot taken during our very short summer, I’d gone out just to photograph this patch of wild flowers that had been planted on waste ground near my local pub and as I was composing a shot this Bee just happened to fly by. One of those great little moment’s that happen far too infrequently, but are all the better for their rarity.

Still on the subject of Bees, like Bees around honey is a very good description of some of the young lads at work when they realised that one of the more eligible girls was newly single. It’s great fun looking on from outside at how cool they are trying to be, while to every one else it so obvious what’s going on, it makes me cringe to think just how bad I looked back in the day as I’m sure I was no where as confident as the lads are today.



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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's a blank page!!!

I write my blog posts on a word document and then copy and past them over to the Blogger page; I do this because with my dyslexia it helps to see the words in a familiar style and word also helps with the spelling and layout much better than Blogger. Each time I sit down to write a post I still feel intimidated by the blank page, even though the document now runs to 153 pages and 95,500 words, more often recently I also find I struggle to get across what I want to say, again intimidated by having to fill a page.

One of the things that keeps me going is the great posts written by the many bloggers I read, although I sometimes spend too long reading them and end up having no time to do my own, so it comes as a shock when one you love vanishes from the world. Take ‘won’t let life define me’ I loved this blog but all of a sudden I can not get to see it, I known that its not the first to go and it won’t be the last, but it still feels like losing an old friend without having had time to say good bye.

I must admit that when I reached day 366 I was tempted to finish the blog, it is a big commitment to keep posting and photographing, but on the plus side it does keep me writing and taking pictures and practice in both is never time wasted. Also with out the blog I would not have experimented with my picture to the extent that I have done, after 20 years of taking pictures my range of skills have increased more in the last 18 month than ever before. Today’s picture is testimony to that, it’s a shot taken last winter for this blog, but it never made the cut until I HDR’ed it earlier this week and fell in love with it. The shot is of the Great ridge in the Peak district.



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Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog of the week - Pixel darkroom photography

No post on Friday last week as I had nothing but negative thought and did not want to bring anyone else down at the start of the week end. Now I have had a few days off I’m all smiles again and getting on with life, two complaint emails sent off to my two most trust on line photo suppliers, results in a few days I hope.

Blog of the week is a new one to me and a fairly new one to the web as well with only 30 posts so far, so a chance to get in at the start before every one else is following him. Pixel Darkroom photography is a 365 day photo blog, just like this one used to be 460 post ago and shows a great range of skill even with so few post already done. The best bit for me, apart from being grateful I am not starting one again, is that he shows how some of the photos were taken, lighting set up and camera positions, great if you want to try the shots yourself. So pop over and have a look, I’ve noticed that he gets very few comments and I well know how much encouragement I got from a few kind words.

Photo to day is a shot of Loch Lomond taken during our week on Scotland, the building is a power station I think.



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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remember

It was the silence that first struck me and then the lack of movement. On Leek’s busiest street the total absence of movement was beyond strange, more so given that there were more people in view than I had ever seen here before, in fact the only things moving were the flags on the monument.

The monument, one of the reasons that we were here, a great clock tower made of Portland stone, engraved around the top with the names Hooge, Loos, Ypres, Somme, Bellenglise, Ramicourt, Bohain, Lens and Gommecourt some foreign fields that are forever England, names that used to stir strong emotions in previous generations, although now names that are nearly forgotten in the minds of most.

Still the silence holds sway over the crowd, not a voice can be heard, not a car, not even a bird, nothing seems to dare to disturb the moment, as 100’s of people stand and honour our fallen. Then the bugle sounds, shoulders relax, heads raise and a few tears are swiftly wiped away, people start to move and a wave of sound builds as the crowd slowly comes back to life.

The 2 minutes silence for remembrance Sunday 2009 has finished, but for me my work has just begun, I have made my way here to try and photograph the event for my leek blog.
Sundays for me are normally family days but I really wanted to capture this, as the Monument is the real centre of the town and this is its big day, but as I walked towards the crowd the last post sounded and all noise stopped and not just all noise but all movement as well. So I too stood still, head bowed and gave thanks for all our brave men and women, who’s number continues to grow, who gave their lives so that we can live ours in peace and comfort.

Once the silence was over I walked around the crowd, photographing the sights and marvelling at the number of people that had turned out on a cold Sunday and also at the great age range as it was not just the old, but people from all generations, all I think aware of this ceremonies new found relevance as more of our troops are sent into harms way.

What started out as a normal photo shoot left me very moved, far more than in other years, I think because its not all history any more.



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Monday, November 9, 2009

Blog of the week - the DawnTreader Picturebook

When surfing the net I come across loads of great blogs, the ones I find the most interesting or entertaining I bookmark in a folder entitled blog of the week and when Monday comes round I open the file and see what I’ve got. For a few weeks one name as kept drawing my eye but has lost out to more recent finds, until I clicked on it today. At first I was unsure why it had made it in to the folder in the first place, although the name alone would make it stand out as I think it is just so cool, the DawnTreader Picturebook is really just a collection of everyday pictures, so why is it in the blog of the week folder?

Well for a start as I have said the name is so cool and the pictures are far from ordinary, they just look it until you start to notice that there are slight differences to what I would expect to see. These are the sorts of pictures I take for my Leek blog and although they look familiar there are differences in the buildings and street furniture that remind me that this is a totally different country, but it looks so like home. The next thing that I found on rereading the blog is that it is just the tip of the Dawn Treader iceberg with 3 other blogs, each well worth a visit and one of which is on the list for blog of the week. So although this is blog of the week it could also be Blogger of the week.

Now for an ordinary picture from Leek, this is a shot of the local scrap yard taken last winter in a snow storm, I have HDR’ed it and boosted the colour a bit, I just love the feel of the shot and all the detail.



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Friday, November 6, 2009

Stuck for words

Been out and had a nice meal and a drink and am now stuck for words, so here's a picture and wishes for a great weekend.


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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Heros

Watching the late night news a couple of days ago I was struck by the big difference between the two main head line stories, first was a story about the death of a solider in Afghanistan, next, given nearly equal billing, was a story about the birth of a footballers child. What on earth were they thinking of letting these 2 stories share the head lines, it devalues the first and gives way too much weight to the second, it really makes me wonder what this country has come to when second rate star managing to give birth rates as a major news story.

As for the first story, yet another very brave man loses his life in Afghanistan, while fully supporting our troops, I cannot see us winning there and the main reason for that is that I don’t think the people of that country really care. From the refuges sitting on the French coast trying to get to here, to the presidential candidate that throws in the towel and a president that can not even win out right, a rigged election (and I think we are going to the dogs). Why are we wasting our best over there is beyond me.

I think that a lot of it has to do with our fearless leaders spending too much time trying to fiddle their expenses and not enough time doing their jobs. Still this will all be a thing of the past when we sign over the running of the country to Europe, probably some time in the next few years.




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Monday, November 2, 2009

Blog of the week - Writing to reach you

Another girly blog of the week this week and about all it has in common with last weeks is that it is very well written, which is very appt as it is called Writing to reach you.

This blog is the ramblings of an American grad student living in southern California, its intelligent, funny and never afraid to try something new, check out the video blog done over a week, it gives an insight into a different way of life far removed from my own, one of the reasons I love reading other peoples blogs.

Had a great weekend mostly down to the fact we had friends staying and on Saturday went for a 13 mile bike ride, only the second ride of the year, and I’m now feeling the results as I stand here writing this. I have just been to my osteopath who has given me a clean bill of health, as long as I keep up the exercises and won’t need to see me for 6 months.

Picture today is of the main bridge at Chatsworth house.



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