Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all my friends and visitors, I hope the holiday brings you all that you want.

Now playing: The Ramones - Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)
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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

365 photo blogs, some help.

"41 today and to mark the occasion I have started this blog. The idea is to post a picture a day up to my 42nd birthday. "

So started this blog, my first blog and my first attempt at a daily photo blog.

When I started I had no idea that there was such a thing as a 365 photo blog, I had seen a few photo blogs but thought that my idea was quite unique, the reason I had not seen many 365 blogs was that I had started blogging in February, by which time the bulk of the latest crop of 365 blogs, started in January, had died.

Ignorance is bliss

So boldly off I went, starting off on the road that so many start but few finish, for me the result was life changing and to help others on the way here are a few tips.

1. Set your rules.

It's your blog so you are in control, for me I posted pictures taken in that year, but did state that if the weather stopped play I would use old shots rather than miss a day. I used this get out only twice, but saved my self a lot of heart ache by already being prepared.

2. Manage your time

For me this took over my life, it is so easy to focus too much on it, give yourself a break. Blogger allows post dated posting, so find time to pre do your weekend post and take that time off.

3. Holidays

I found that pre posting holidays were easier if I linked the pictures together, so a set on local building for example. I also posted a few days extra after the holiday to cover for a late return or other problems.

4. Content

Try to plan what you are going to post, have a number of different ideas and if possible shoot a back up number of images, that you can post if disaster strikes, I photographed the same tree once a month from the same spot, that's 12 picture I did not need to think about.

5. Celebrate

Mark your mile stones, 1 month, 100 posts, 50 followers, what ever it is shout about it, you deserve to make a fuss, not many get very far.

6. Mutual support

Visit other new blogs and support them, they will visit you and support you (well some will).

7. New ideas

365 samey pictures will depress you nearly as fast as they will depress your readers, try to shoot different things, lots of photo blogs have daily themes, like a letter or word, join in and explore photography.

8. Does it matter

If you miss a day does it really matter? Only to you, so it is up to you how you handle it, post 2 the next day or extend the run by a day, as in rule 1 you make the rules.

9. Miracles

Do not happen, do not expect loads of followers and comments on day 1, it took weeks for my first proper comment (i.e. not from a friend or family member) so don't get down hearted, they will come.

10. Don't quit

Don't give up, that is the easy way out and nothing good comes easy. If you work at it you will get rewarded. If you lose heart read other peoples 365 from the start and watch them grow, you too can do it.

I said that it is life changing, for me it was in a very real sense, the confidence it gave me and the skills I picked up along the way have lead to photography becoming my career. It is hard, 365 photos that you are happy for the world to see (and comment on) do not just appear you have to go and get them, but I would always tell some one to do it rather than not.

Todays photo frost on a wall.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Books you have read.

I had seen this on a couple of blogs ( this one being the most resent Dreaming of open seas) and found it fun to do, posting this for my mum who always encouraged me to read, thanks mum.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.


Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.

Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt."

1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2. Lord of the Rings – JR Tolkien

3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19. The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch – George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh (maybe 12 - 14 times..)

27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34. Emma – Jane Austen

35. Persuasion – Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41. Animal Farm – George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving

45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50. Atonement – Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52. Dune – Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66. On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding (blushes....)

69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72. Dracula – Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses – James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal – Emile Zola (yes, really - but only 'cos I had to, at University)

79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession – AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day – Kazu Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks

94. Watership Down – Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

Now playing: Kate Nash - Pumpkin Soup
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jack frost

A benefit of being my own boss, being able to go out and capture sights like this, wind blown frost on a grass stalk.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday blues

My new office on a Monday morning, life can be so hard at times.

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Friday, December 3, 2010


I'm free, just completed my last day as a paid employee, from now on the only customers to shout at me will be my own.

A picture taken on Wednesday of light at the end of a tunnel!

Now playing: The Buzzcocks - Running Free

Now playing: The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Stone Free [*] - The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Now playing: Ultra Naté - Free

Now playing: The Soup Dragons - I'm Free (featuring Junior Reid)

Now playing: Jimi Hendrix - Freedom (Live)

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010


D Day looms, only a few more days of paid employment left and then I'm on my own! Spent last week using up the remainder of my holidays, time well spent attending business start up workshops and working on my web site, Brett

My next task is how to get the word out to the people of Leek and Staffordshire that there is a new professional photographer in the area. Brett Trafford .com is a first step, and adding my name to on line directories another, but after doing the work shop I have a better idea of what I am doing and once my plans are finalised I will let you all know first on here.

Now a photo hot off the PC, taken only an hour ago!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Net working

In an attempt to build up my profile I have been logging on to loads of sites that advertise your services for free (a very important point)and find that the closer I come to being a full time photographer, the less time I have to take pictures! I hope that this trend will change once the business is set up fully, as I quite like taking pictures. I have also signed up to Linked in, so if your on there drop by and link up.

Having spent so long on the web looking at other peoples sites and how they market themselves, my own site now looks in need of a rework, just when I thought it was nearly done.

Photo today is from our run up to York, taken somewhere between here and York, very early in the morning.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big day!

So we have a royal wedding to look forward to, great news, I known a wedding photographer that not yet booked for that day (hint, hint. Although that might be just too much pressure.

But the big news is that it is Kep's 14th birthday today, I was going to post a photo of him but the computer is playing up, as I type the system is trying to recover 500gig from my back up drive that just vanished this morning (its only got all my back up photos and all my music on!)

Picture is from the weekend in York and is of York Minster.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010


With a new business looming on the horizon, my free time seems to have vanished, thank goodness for Caz she organised a weekend away in York, giving me two great days with her sightseeing and photographing.

York has to be one of this countries best cities, compact, friendly and full of history. Here is one of it's more inquisitive inhabitants found in a local park just feet from the city wall.

Now playing: Dido - I'm No Angel
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Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Journey starts here.

Making the step to being a full time photographer is a daunting one, I known I can do the photography bit (that's easy), it's all the other stuff that I'm trying to get my head around.


Time management?

Being my own boss (how can I skive off work when I will always known where I am? or worst how can I hide my mistake when I'm always watching!)

Any self employ people out there with any tips on the above, or anything i have missed, I would love to hear them.

Picture today is of the Cat and Fiddle, the highest pub in England and the starting point for one of Carolyn and mines favourite walks.

Now playing: The Verve - Lucky Man
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Friday, October 29, 2010

An Important announcement

Writing this post on my new computer!!!!!

To mark the occasion I have an announcement,

As of the 4th of December I will be working full time as a photographer.

If you are a long term reader of this blog, or a friend of mine reading this on face book, you will know I have been working towards this moment for some years and now it has arrived. My appeal against the decision over my job was successful and I have been offered redundancy starting when the call centre closes.

All this would not have been possible if it was not for the support and encouragement give to me by Carolyn over many many years, I only hope that now I can make her proud.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Going, Going Gone!

Starting my computer rebuild over the weekend so won't be on line, blogging or picking up my emails!!!!!

Pictures from my Norfolk set.

Now playing: Thomas Dolby - Radio Silence
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Wednesday, October 13, 2010


As often happens when I sit down to write a blog post, I end up spending my time reading other peoples blogs, I log on to Blogger and right there on my dashboard are posts from my favourite blogs, its too much of a temptation for me to resist.

So instead of an interesting and insightful blog post on the meaning of life, the universe and everything, which I was going to write, here is a list of links to the posts that took up all my time, it’s their fault not mine.

First off the most inspiring story i have read in years.

Green shoots

Another post along the same lines, well close at least.

A life in the day of me

This is not just one post but a link to the blog, still waiting for an update in the on going saga, makes you realise how good your life really is.

Life in Windermere

And finally the return of one of my favourite bloggers.

Ramsay daily photos

Looking back maybe i have written an interesting and insightful blog post on the meaning of life, the universe and everything.

Photos part of a set i did on the Norfolk coast last weekend.

Now playing: Blondie - Love At The Pier
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The rules of how to be a great Blogger.

Blogging, I’ve been doing this for over 2 1/2 years, that puts me in the top 5% of blogs (lots start and finish after just a few weeks) so I know all the rules of how to be a great Blogger.

1. Blog frequently

2. Stick to a theme

3. Interact with your visitors

4. Visit loads of blogs and leave comments

5. Link like mad to other blogs on your chosen subject.

But do I follow them, well at first I did and success did follow, but now as other parts of my life take up more of my time I find that all my blogs are suffering from neglect. The obvious answer is to stop blogging on at least some of the blogs and that does have a bit of an appeal, but it has taken so long to build them up I would hate to waste all that effort. So I’m going to keep plodding along, posting infrequently, hardly visiting any blogs, commenting on even fewer blog and keeping my interaction and linking to a minimum. I know it’s not the best way to keep the blogs going, but I also know that when I have more time it will be easier to get them up to full speed if they are already moving, even if they are just creeping along.

Photo today is of a Lakeland waterfall.

Now playing: Elastica - Vaseline
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'm crap!

I’m crap, I have great difficulty in organising my time, I’m messy, I forget to do things and I get easily distracted. For example, I had an e mail from one of Caz’s friends, I was really touched and determined to reply, that was 6 months ago and I’m still determined to reply! The desks I’m sat at is a mess, it’s covered with notes, photos, computer bits and camera equipment, I have about 3 inches to move the mouse in ( I’ve not seen my electronic pen and tablet in months). I have loads of up grades I have to do on the web site and cannot get the time to finish them off, even though most of the work has been done. Too top it all I am just about to start building a new computer, the whole process should take only a couple of hours to do, but then getting all the programs on and everything working as I want could take days and during that time I will be without a computer, at least I won’t get distracted.

On a more positive note I’ve finished, all bar a little polish, the wedding album, this was helped by the fact that Caz was away during the weekend and I could spend the whole time working.

Talking of work I have just submitted my appeal against the change of role, it took me 3 weeks to write with lots of help and feed back from lots of people, I think that its is the best I could have done, although it’s a bit ironic that I’m having to say a job is not suitable because of my dyslexia, in writing, when that is one of the things that causes me a problem. I’ve been told it will take a few weeks to get an answer, so fingers crossed.

Looking to the future, a difficult thing when so much hangs in the balance, I have a number of photo projects in mind, I still find taking pictures a challenge and keep having ideas of things to shoot, again its just a matter of finding the time and remembering to do them. If and when I go full time I have around 6 months worth of projects even before I start doing paid work of anyone else.

The photo today is of the Causeway heading to Lindisfarne in Northumberland, the poles show the direct route on foot, with one of the shelters where you can escape the tide if it all goes wrong. We walked over by the road, this again get cut by the sea twice a day, making for an interesting and quick walk over the 5 miles.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Top photo

A top photo of Kidsty pike, the ridge behind is our route up from the last post, this was taken at the end of that day as we started our journey down.

Computers aren’t they just the best fun, especially when all your work depends on them and at the most crucial moment they decide to develop a phobia about switching on, as mine has started to do. It can take up to 10 tries before it finally comes to life and after googling the symptoms it appears that something major is wrong, which I had already guessed, the solution, build a new one.

Now the computer I’m using at the moment was one I built over 4 years ago and up to the passed few days has never been that much of a pain, so I’m not too concerned about building another one, a part from the cost, but a lot has changed in the intervening years and so I have had to re educate myself on the latest technology and kit.

This re-education is a real pain as much of what is written is based on the fact that you already known what all the long words mean, e.g. AM3AMD870DDR3ATX !!! Now there is a lot of good information out there and some very good web stores to buy from, it is just the hours it takes to compare and collate it all, as each bit needs to work with all the others and fit in the case. Once the identifying of the components is done it is then the task of finding them at a good price, the stage I have reached at the moment. When that has been finished it is the big step of out with the credit card and committing to it all! Then I will just need to find 2 or 3 quite days in which to build the monster and as I’m using bits out of my old machine I won’t have the internet to hold my hand.

Click picture for a bigger view.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Honi trap

Well as I said in the last post I’m back after a week in the Lake District, a week that gave us some very mixed weather and some very great walks. Since we both completed the Wainwrights last year I was worried that the motivation to drag my self up these mountains would wane, far from it, now that we are walking just for fun I find that it has opened up a whole new world and last Fridays walk was a great example of that.

We started at Haweswater Reservoir and headed up Riggindale Ridge, the picture was taken at the top of the Ridge looking back along our route up, we then headed to our first top of the day High Street which at 828 meters is the highest top in that area. From this lofty vantage point we could reach 7 other fell tops with very little effort, which we proceeded to do over the next 5 hours, it was great fun bimbling along at high level with nothing to do but have fun.

As we had already done all these tops and were familiar with the whole area, there was none of the worries that came with unknown ground, our route up although steep and edgy in places was well within our comfort zone and was chosen just for its spectacular views and not through any need to just get to some where, the rest of the day followed that pattern as we revisited old friends and took in the views from each top, knowing that we could call it a day at any time and easily walk back down to the car by any number of routes.

But all good things come to an end and with the sun starting to set we made are way back down by Kidsty Pike, the next ridge along from the one we came up, but only after we brewed up some coffee and drank it with a large glug of Baileys.

Now playing: Fleetwood Mac - Dreams
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Back again

Just got back from a fantastic week in the Lake district and have just enough time to post one of the pictures i took. Ulleswater in the early evening.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mr & Mrs Jones

Wedding photography, the one aspect of photography where normally prudent people fork out huge sums of money to someone they have only just met, to record their big day. On paper it seems like easy work, people dressed in their finest and all out to enjoy themselves, but on the other hand this is someone’s big day, it may have been years in the planning, would you really want all that responsibility.

Last year I decided I did, I took the plunge and started to photograph weddings and 2 weeks ago tackled my biggest challenge yet, along with all the normal pressure this wedding had an added factor.

The story starts over 20 years ago, I was 20 and had just been dumped by my girl friend and been replaced in her affections by my best friend of 15 years. Added to this the new couple had been welcomed with open arms by all my friends, leaving me broken hearted and with no one to turn to.

After a number of lonely drunken nights at home I was rescued by my younger brother and adopted by his close group of mates. Now these lads were the best group of lads you could ever hope to meet, they were no angels, in fact you could say that they liked the odd drink, and they showed no mercy when it came to “taking the piss” (English for having a laugh at a close friend), but they welcomed me into their group and set me on the road to recovery. One of the group even lead to me meeting my wife, as he proved quite an attraction to some of her friends, entailing them trying to be in the same pub as he was, when ever they saw him out.

Time moves on and I grew away from the rest of them, I was only a visitor in their world after all, although it’s a small town and our paths regularly cross, so even though I’m not out drinking with them, i still keep up to date with what is going on and feel very close to all of them.

In such a group it would be hard to pick one that stood out (for the right reasons), I’m a bit compromised as I think my brother is one of the best lads you could meet, but imagine my shock when out of the blue, one of the most respected lads of the group rings up and asks if I would photograph his wedding. Now I was honoured and very keen to do it, but the pressure of having to work in front of all these lads scared the life out of me. Making a mess in front of strangers is bad enough, but in front of this group, it just did not bear thinking about.

I did it; what’s more I did it well, far from being a negative, knowing so many of the wedding guests made the whole job easier (it helped that they were on their best behaviour and had wives and girlfriends to keep them under control). The photos are on my web site for a short time.

So may i introduce the Bride and Groom, Mr & Mrs Jones, may every day be as happy as their first one.

Now playing: Billy Idol - White Wedding
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Thursday, August 26, 2010


As my skills increase i sometimes find work i was happy with 12 months ago now falls short of what i want. This photo is a good example, originally done for the Leek blog when i looked at it this week it was just not good enough and needed reworking. So heres the improved images and a link to the old one

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Friday, August 20, 2010


An old Dray wagon at a steam fair we went to last week, only posted it as i liked the shot so much, now i'm off for a beer.

Now playing: k.d. lang - Constant Craving
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time to treat myself.

I’ve just started to invest in some high end photographic equipment, something that I have not done in a long time and so found myself having to research the kit from scratch. Now this is a new experience for me as I used to work in the trade and spent 4 years living and breathing the technical aspect of every bit of kit released, knowing its value, quality and its place in the market. All of a sudden I find that knowledge is 13 years out of date and everything has changed.

The biggest difference that I found was the impact of the internet, not just in the number of places to buy things from, but the number of reviews you could find on each piece of kit, back in the day we just had a couple of photographic magazines and the blurb from the manufacturer (which you could not trust at all).

Selection finally made the big question was where to get it from, EBay, Amazon, a local shop or even from abroad! The selection was as wide as the number of items I had to choose from, vast, and each with its own drawback and positives, I settled on that old decider price and now have loads of new kit to play with.

Picture to day is a fake, there was no water in the scene, I was just playing around with Photoshop to keep my hand in.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

1000ths post

1000th post across all my blogs, just in case you thought I had forgotten how to count.

I had been looking forward to this moment for quite a long time, but now that it is here it’s a bit of an anti climax, I suppose that following the 500th post it’s just another mile stone to mark the passing of time.

A quick update on the work front following on from this posted earlier this year;

“As some of you will know I have 2 jobs, the photography, mostly a labour of love at the moment, but on the up and working for a local company. While away I was phone by my boss who informed me that my job, currently just 5 mins down the road is being relocated to Stockport, a town somewhere north of here and an hour drive away. To be honest this really was not much of a shock, the company was recently taken over and since then a lot of things have changed, but while this major change is underway I may have to use this blog the vent my frustration at the faceless bureaucrats that feel they have a god given right to upset peoples lives at the drop of a hat (or maybe to extolling their virtues for getting the whole process right, who knows).”

Well just a few days ago we had a meeting to inform us of the events happening in the near future; a very nice lady (who neglected to introduce her self) stood up and gave us the time table for our job move, I had already, like many of my co workers, rejected the wonderful offer of a job in Stockport and now we were told of the next step on our change in career.

Unfortunately the future is big on ideas but short on hard facts, the time table is in months rather than days, for example, you will change job in December, not you will change job on the 1st of December and even that month could not be guaranteed not to change. The time table for training for our new jobs was laid out, but no firm details about the jobs them selves, something that would have been useful.

Now you could call me old fashioned, but when I pick a job I like to study the role, investigate its good and bad points, check its suitability for me and my suitability for it, explore the options and then, if it all looks good, make my application.

The job I am in at the moment meets all of my requirement, most importantly the hours worked and the lack of administration, photography and Dyslexia make for a rather unique set of circumstances that a job has to meet, the photography dictates my time, the dyslexia the type of work I can do.

A new role would have to match these very closely if it was going to be suitable and as yet the indications are that what we are being offered will fall far short of that measure, to the point that I would never had looked at the role in the normal course of events.

The process does allow for a challenge to the suitability of the role offered and that is the long road I have just embarked on. Given the uniqueness of my circumstances I’m not surprised that it has come to this, over the past 13 years my choice of working hours has suited the company very well and now those hours, unique to my department, could well be one of the major problems in finding a comparable job.

The only option I can see, as my job in its current form and location no longer has a future, is redundancy, a real wrench when you have been with a company for so long, but also a chance to make a new start and if nothing else it will give me something to write about on the blog.

Now playing: Sleeper - Atomic
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Thursday, July 29, 2010

500th post!

“41 today and to mark the occasion I have started this blog. The idea is to post a picture a day up to my 42nd birthday.
For me this is quite a commitment. I hope this will stimulate my photography and keep me off the streets.”

So started this blog around 2 ½ years ago and now here I am writing the 500th post.

I started the blog to mark an important year for me, a way of making the year stand out in my memory, it turned in to a life changing event, something I never envisaged when I started it. To understand what happened you need to known a bit about the old Brett pre the blog.

I was always a photographer, from the moment I picked up my first camera I was hooked, it just took a few years to realise it and to learn to use my skills properly. Going to night school to do a photography course tipped the balance and set me on the road I’m on now, since then I have always thought of my self as a photographer.

Other than the photography my life was pretty normal, I was (and still am) very happily married, I was stuck doing a very soul destroying job (and still am), I was recovering from a long term illness, stress, which had effected my whole life for over 2 years and had left me feeling worthless and with no confidence. My future was looking to be a repeat of my past and in my mind I was getting just what I deserved.

So how did blogging change my life, well it started with a photo, the first photo I posted on the blog, because the next day I need to post another one that was the same quality, but different. I chose one of the best photos I had for the first day; it was typical of my work and so by default ruled out the use of most of my other best shots for day 2 as they were too similar. This left me with a problem I had never faced before; I was a good photographer but only in the small field that I took photos in and a year of very similar photos would soon look very boring, I needed to stretch my boundaries and quick.

I had never really worked on my photography and all of a sudden I needed a photo a day, every day, for a year and the standard I had set was at the top end of my skills!

And that was the easy part, the other component of the blog, the words, was over looked by me at the start for a very good reason, I could not write or spell, in fact other than for work my written communication over the past 5 years would not have filled ½ a sheet of A4. Now I had loads of blank space to fill every day and worst it soon became apparent that people were reading it!

Months after the start of the blog I discovered I was dyslexic (not as thick as I thought) and coupled with the success of the blog, Blogger Blog of note, I found a new confidence and my photography was improved beyond all recognition.

Now 500 posts later I’m on the verge of going full time as a photographer, I run 3 blogs and a web site, I’ve had 2 exhibitions and a number of commission for my work. I still lack confidence, but have decided to scare myself on a regular basis by saying yes to things I would normally say no to.

Oh and I still panic at the thought of having to write or show people my photos.

Now playing: Voice of the Beehive-I Walk The Earth
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Up north

Just got back from a weeks camping in wonderful Northumberland and am trying to catch up on loads of out standing work, but thought i would post this as a starter to wet your appetite.

This is the Angel of the North and was just off our road up and was well worth a visit.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010


My first topless photo shoot and i'm the one topless (think i that that wrong somewhere). The shot is for my improved web site, brett, and is one of the reasons i've not been here much lately. I've had loads of work to do and the computer has been playing up, but i will try and visit some of you and maybe even post a few more post.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Come on England

I’ve had a busy week spent mainly working on photos taken at a bus rally held last Sunday. One of the hardest things for me to do is to get a consistency when producing a set of images taken under conditions that are out of my control and these pictures are probably my best attempt yet at this. I have put the last of these pictures here; the full set can be seen on my Leek blog.

The other picture is from our week in the Lake District, it is take on Fleetwith Pike over looking Buttermere and is to my mind one of the best views any where in the world.

What have these 2 images have in common, well to me they just sum up England, and hopefully by the end of the day I’ll still be a proud Englishman after our national team wins its opening game in the world cup, but I won’t be holding my breath as they do seem to like making us suffer and make the job harder for themselves.

Now playing: The Beatles - Don't Let Me Down
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Now playing: Honley Male Voice Choir et al - Jerusalem
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israeli pirates

A quite ship, on a quiet ocean, its 4am and out of the dark come a swarm of armed men intent on boarding the vessel. The passengers and crew fight a valiant battle to resist the invasion only to leave dead and dying on the decks. But this time it is not off the coast of Somalia but a lot closer to home, in the Med and this time it is not a group of drug crazed pirates but trained commandos from a civilized democratic nation. In fact it can all be explained in one word, Israel.

Yes that wonderful country that covers some of the worlds most holy sites and was born out of the most horrendous tragedy in modern times, is back up to its old tricks of flouting international law and oppressing the free will of anyone who does not agree with them, if this had been Iran, US tanks would already be on their way.

Our leaders need to act now, yes we known that Israel is not totally at fault, it takes 2 to fight, but enough is enough, stop the blockade of Gaza and help the poor people whose only crime is being born in the wrong place.

Photo to day is a tin shack, not in Gaza but from what I see on the news it would not look out of place.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Adventures in scooter land

Well after the Scooter show i thought i would have a play with some of the images.

The first set starts with the standard photo, then the HDR and finishes with the scooter cut out.

This second set are in the same order with a twist at the bottom, now i like this last images but would welcome some feed back as this type of image and subject matter are both really new to me.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010


A very quick post to go along with the pictures i'm posting this week on the Leek blog of SCOOTER-FEST.

SCOOTER-FEST is organised by The Jesters Scooter Club and is the clubs 6th annual festival for Scooters and all thing related to the scene that turns the town centre in to a riot of colour and noise with 100's of Scooters from all over the country.

For me it was the chance to take loads of pictures and as i had loads to show i thought i would put some on here as well.

Now playing: The Jam - The Eton Rifles
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wild camping in the Lake District.

Holiday time again, although I’m not complaining. I have just got back from a fantastic week in the Lake District and to celebrate I have decided to post 3 photo’s and a video (I’ve not done the video, but I wish I had!).

To start with this was the first week we have had in the Lakes since completing all the Wainwrights, so we had a whole week with no hills we must climb, but a selection of our favourite hills that we wanted to repeat. The first route that we tackled was the Newlands horseshoe, we started at around 11am on Sunday in Keswick and took the boat to the foot of Catbells, from there it was a low level walk to the foot of Robinson and then up into the hills. After 3 tops we came down to Dalehead tarn at around 5pm where we set up our first ever wild camp! The Sunday evening was wonderful, very still, with not a soul about.

Two views of our camp site at Dalehead tarn.

Monday morning all had changed; we woke to low cloud and snow, such a treat. After getting the tents away we continued over the remaining 2 tops and dropped down to the lake to pick up the boat home, passing a few early risers who were heading up for a day in the hills, expecting to be the first up there, what a great feeling to said we had spent the night up there in the snow. Once in Keswick a full English breakfast and a hot shower and we were good to go again.

Heading back home in the snow.

Later in the week I got to climb my favourite mountain Fleetwith pike, it was my first real fell walk and I enjoyed every second of it on this my second full climb of it.

On the way up we were passed by what can only be described as the best commuter in the world, Mark Weir, owner of the Honister Slate mine. The photo is mine taken as he passed by, the video is off you tube and shows the whole commute.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Green shoots

The exhibition is up and running thank you all for your good wishes i really appreciated them, for those of you that can not make it to Leek I’ve put the images on a slideshow, just to the right of this post.

A while ago I had a feature on here called blog of the week, where I tried to highlight great blogs I had found, but with my lack of blogging time I found it very hard to read the old blogs let alone find new ones, so I have to leave finding great blogs up to others.

Well here is a blog I found by way of Aka Polergirl, its called Green shoots and like most of the better blogs is written by a woman (probably because they have more time on their hands). The blog records the writer’s journey from where she is to where she wants to be, sharing not only her personal feelings but also any practical help she has picked up along the way in the form of links to web sites or reviews of good books.

Having been a Blogger for some years I known how hard it is to post and post for those first few months, getting hardly any visitors or comments while word of your blog slowly spreads, we have all been there, so if you find the time pop over and give Green shoots a visit, I certainly will be a regular there, as when it comes to self development there is just too much crap on line so finding someone who can highlight some of the good stuff will save me loads of time and like all the best blogs it has a story that is still in the writing.

By the way it was a joke about women having too much time on their hands!

Picture today is an old one I had it sitting in my possible’s folder since December 08
I kept looking at it and never knew if it was a good image or just in my head, so I will let you decide.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Exhibition opens today!

Well the exhibition opens today, and I’m a little nervous. All the images are up and now its time to see what people think of them!

The images are a mix of old and new shots, the old ones I now people like, but the new ones are the ones I’m most keen to here comment’s about and the ones I’m most concerned about.

Today’s picture will be on the Leek blog next week but it is also one of the shots I’ve used to advertise the exhibition, I hope you like it.

The exhibition is on display in the Coffee Clique, Getliffe’s yard from the 1st of May to the 31st of May.

Now playing: Queen - Queen - Dont Stop Me Now
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bricks and water

For the first time in a while I have more photographs than I known what to do with, resent holidays and days off have left me with a glut of images to work on and no time to do anything to them, I need a few rainy days with nothing to do!

So what’s been taking up all my time, well, the photo exhibition is my main concern at the moment, here is the information that has gone into the guide for the Leek arts festival, Leeks annual arts month which pulls together a wide mix of artist endeavours over the month of May and something I’m proud to be a part of for the first time.

Bricks and water

Inspired by the wonderful mix of water, light and reflections, comes a selection of images from the natural world. Juxtaposed with a collection of images from the man made world high lighting some of the fantastic buildings we have locally.

Crafted by local photographer Brett Trafford and wonderfully display in the Coffee Clique, Getliffe’s yard from the 1st of May to the 31st of May.

The title for the exhibition came from a girl at work, I had the photos I wanted to use, but no way of tying them together, so ask my work mates to try, after ½ an hour out popped this one and the rest is history.

The other big stealer of my time is the Leek blog, now in its second year, I’m finding it hard to keep getting shots for it, the ideas are there but getting the time to take the photos and post them is getting harder to find, today being a good example as it is wonderful out there but I’m stuck in here with loads to do, so I can free up some time at the weekend. The list of jobs to do this morning includes, ordering (and designing) post cards, business cards and photo mounts, finalising and ordering prints for the exhibition, designing a catalogue and slide show for the exhibition and putting together a weeks worth of posts for the Leek blog! I’ve no chance!

So here is a photo taken a few weeks ago of one of the Ladybower dams in the peak district.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Forgive me blogger’s for I have sinned!

Forgive me blogger’s for I have sinned, it’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last post, and I’m starting to feel a bit guilty. Then I visited a few of my favourite blogs and they have not posted for weeks too, so now I don’t feel as bad.

So what have I been up to, you ask? Well during the past 2 weeks we have had 2 bank holidays for Easter and seen the arrival of spring, although it is gray and dull out side at the moment. Most of my free time during the week end was taken up with housework and getting out enjoying the sunshine, the house work revolved around the garden, the dreaded first cut of the lawn and the getting out of the patio furniture, hopefully this year it will get a bit more use.

On the photography front I have been out and about shooting for the Leek blog and collating images for my next exhibition. The good weather has revitalised my photography and I have got a good number of shots that I am happy with over the last few weeks, now all I need is the time to work on them.

Very little news on the job front, I’m amazed at the way the moral is still very high in the office, at times you would think nothing was happening and it will just go on for ever.

Photo today was taken in the Peak District, we were photographing the Para gliders when I got this shot, moments later I found myself covered in blue nylon as the Para glider went backwards instead of forwards, not the normal thing to happen on a walk in the countryside.

For Malcolm,
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Suprise, but only just.

Another long gap between posts, what a bad Blogger I am! But there is a good reason this time, I’ve been on holiday yet again, this time to sunny Devon, well I say sunny, I’m sure it must see the sun at some point during the year, but most of the time we got cloud and a little rain. Still the changing light gave me the opportunity to get some great shots and a week away is still a week away.

The other reason why I have been a bit scares on the blogging front can now be revealed, over the last few months as well as planning and putting on my first exhibition, I was also planning a surprise birthday party for Carolyn. Now being a typical man, according to Carolyn, I cannot;

1. Keep a secret, especially from her
2. Organises anything more complex than opening a bottle of wine
3. Contact our friends and arrange time together.

Surprise! I managed all 3, but the stress nearly killed me.

My greatest achievement was putting her off the sent by skilfully hiding a menu from a local Mexican at the bottom of a bag of stuff meant for our guests, knowing she would check it out while she inspected the guest room before they arrived (I have to add I made up the room and the bed and she always checks to see I’ve done it right).

The party was a great success and I would like to thank everyone who came, It really was a great night, although I only have a vague memory of the latter ½ of the party thanks to Mr Guinness.

As some of you will know I have 2 jobs, the photography, mostly a labour of love at the moment, but on the up and working for a local company. While away I was phone by my boss who informed me that my job, currently just 5 mins down the road is being relocated to Stockport, a town somewhere north of here and an hour drive away. To be honest this really was not much of a shock, the company was recently taken over and since then a lot of things have changed, but while this major change is underway I may have to use this blog the vent my frustration at the faceless bureaucrats that feel they have a god given right to upset peoples lives at the drop of a hat (or maybe to extolling their virtues for getting the whole process right, who knows).

Photo today is from the holiday, it is of Ilfracombe harbour. Click on the picture for a bigger image.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

And now, the end is near.

Tomorrow is the last day of my first ever solo exhibition and I thought I would share my feeling on having taken such a big step, both before and almost after the event.

I have to say that first and foremost the comments received on this and my other blogs have had a very great influence on me and boosted my confidence in the images, to the extent that I felt able to put them on public display. Having said that I was still terrified that they would not be well received, even hated.

Like any artist I love and hate my work, with the same eye I see both the wonder and the faults and am unable to see them as an outsider. So from a purely artistic side I was very worried; from the position of a business man, I had no clue of what was involved and that scared me. If I had thought it through properly I probably would not have done it, ignorance really is bliss.

The moment I was faced with 35 framed images and yards of blank wall was the point I nearly became unstuck, it was only Carolyn’s intervention and skill at design that saved the day.

Once up it looked, to me at least, fantastic and the first sale came before the show had opened! The following days have seen a steady number of visitors and some very kind comments.

Now it’s nearly over I feel empowered by the whole process, less daunted by the future and ready to expand my goals. The first step is the announcement that I have a second exhibition coming up, the show is titled Bricks and Water and shortly I’ll update you on the when and where.

The picture today is from the opening day and for me summed up the day wonderfully, as anyone there could not have failed to see the excellent Red Shoes perform, or realised just how cold Leek can be in February.

Now playing: The Doors - The End
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