Friday, November 9, 2012

Busy day

Well it's been quite a few days since I last updated, in fact I've just looked and it's been 2 months, how time flies. Life moves on at an incredible pace, loads of work and not much time for anything else at the moment, but still when my work is mainly taking pictures it can't be all bad. A 14 hour day yesterday starting at 6.30 and finishing around 9.00 after talking to a bride and groom, in between I worked on quotes for some jobs, designed a new business card, sold a picture from my exhibition, designed a Christmas card and ordered a load of prints for the up coming shows. After all that was still only 1/2 way down my to do list. On the home front both Caz and Ziggy are well and both are loving the fact that Caz is home most of the time, Ziggy get way more attention from Caz than he does from me. Picture for today is Ziggy at Rudyard lake on a walk a few weeks ago.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

My idea of keeping a blog active.

Well it's been nearly 6 weeks since I last had chance to update the blog so this really is not as active a blog as I would have wanted, but then I am a photographer first and not a writer. I said last time that I wanted to make this blog a bit more personal than it had become and less about work, but the trouble with that is that my work is also my passion and so very hard to separate from my personal side. I think that it will just have to be less corporate than my work blog so if you are easily upset be warned. That said I've nothing to rant about, no crisis on the horizon and my life is going great, I'm even getting time to blog! My biggest challenge is keeping ahead of my paper work and planning to move the business forward. The big job that I will have to start soon is to catalogue all my images, or at least those that my be saleable, around 6000. This task is needed so that I can sell pictures more easily on line and via outlets, at the moment I identify the pictures by titles, which I make up as the mood takes me so its difficult ordering pictures from me and hard for me to keep track of which ones sell, both of which are quite important to running a business. Still time has caught up with me and I need to go and make some Christmas cards, I will leave you with a shot of Rudyard lake that I found while looking for winter pictures.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Important update

I've been blogging for more than 4 years and in that time have posted nearly 1500 post that have been seen over 150,000 times in 174 countries. Not bad for something that was only going to last a year and I'm not done yet. It's been a few weeks or even months since I last posted, depending on which of my blogs you read and this post is an explanation as to why and a update on what I'm planning next and is being posted on all my blogs (apologies if you follow more than one as you will get this multiple times).

First a bit of history...

      Turning 41 is a bit of a let down, you have had your big party for your 40th and 41 is just another year older, so with that in mind I decided to mark my 41st year by blogging a photo a day, not really knowing what a blog was or what a mammoth task it would be. That small decision made over a ten minute car journey changed my life. It changed what was a hobby, all be it quite an obsessive one, in to a full time career and when I say full time I mean nearly every waking minute and some of my sleeping ones too.

Today I'm well into my second year as a professional photographer and after the expected hard first year I am doing better than I had planned for, in fact that is the reason for this post, one I've being trying to write for over a month. Business is good, job following job inter-spaced by good print sales and on going projects, in the last few weeks a Ball, a Prom, a Fete and 4 commissions totalling 550 finished prints, that's images that are shown to the customer, not images taken, (each image is hand processed and only let out once I'm happy its as close to perfect as I can get it) and this month was a bit quieter that last.

So as you can see I've had very little time for my blogs, I have managed to keep my business facebook page updated, see it here, but feel I have neglected the blogs and all you wonderful people that follow them. I known that you may feel that it should be easy just to do a quick post, but being dyslexic writing is one of the hardest thing for me to do. For example earlier on I used the word "decision" I know what the word means and how to use it, I can read the word but not spell it, and when you start it desi or disi not even the best spell checker has a clue, then when you turn to a dictionary your looking in the wrong place, in all, that one word cost me 10 minutes.

The future...

         The plan is to keep the blogs active, so they will stay on line and may even get updated, although not very often, that is the short term view. This takes off some of the pressure (and guilt) I have been feeling and gives me time to rearrange my web presents. My business blog will in time be moved over to Wordpress to link up with my new web site (that is not even started yet) and become a window on to what I'm doing week by week. My 2 daily photo blogs will have to wait for a bit, the Leek one has not been daily for a year so that won't change much, but the Buxton one will have to wait for new stuff as I really can not afford the time it needs at the moment.

365 to 42, my first and favourite blog and something that I am so proud of, will be updated as and when I can and I will try to take it back to being a more personal blog that is about me and not about work, reading back some of that first years post it feels like it was written by someone else and I would love to get that back, I may even get Blog of Note again!

Now the pictures these are 3 of the things I've been working on, pictures of Leek and a school prom.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dusk till Dawn

Dusk till Dawn is the name of my latest exhibition displayed in the Foxlowe, The Market Place, Leek from the 1st of May to the 31st May 2012.

The free exhibition, “Dusk till Dawn” is exploration of photography when the sun has gone down.

Pho•tog•ra•phy \fə-ˈtä-grə-fē\

The process or art of producing images of objects on sensitized surfaces by the action of light.

Night  \ˈnīt\

The time from dusk to dawn when no sunlight is visible.

Dusk till Dawn \ˈdəsk til dän\

A collection of 12 images captured between sunset and sunrise.

The idea for the exhibition came to me as the nights started to draw in last September. My days were taken up with running a full time photography business and daylight hours were reducing, giving me less time to take photographs.

 A chance comment on a photography forum about the joys of night time photography, coming right at the moment that I was complaining about the lack of daylight, lead me to flip the situation and see the winter as an opportunity to capture sunrises and sunsets with out having to get up at 4am or staying out until 11pm.

The only challenge was that I had very rarely done any low light photography and would have to learn one of the hardest disciplines in photography in a very short space of time. The final images are a mix of old and new shots, reduced down from an initial selection of around a 1,000 images, with the final selection of 12 coming from a group of just over 60 pictures.

The images were taken on a number of different Nikon cameras using both slide film and digital. They were then printed on to the highest quality 100% cotton Fine Art Canvas which is then fixed to stretcher bars made from quality North European Redwood Pine. All the images are for sale at a special price of £70 each, and will be delivered after the exhibition ends.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time to think.

Life is just so busy, you never seem to have enough time to get the really important things done and you miss loads of other stuff in the process. Then all of a sudden something happens that stops you in your tracks and makes you think.

My Mum had a heart attack on Easter Sunday, she fine, it was only a very mild one, more a warning really, but it could have been much worse, I lost my Dad to one when I was only 9. Then yesterday a lad I knew from school and had reconnected with on Facebook, in fact spent some of last week following his adventures in Dublin on holiday, die yesterday. Some things just stop you and make you think. These 2 event did just that.

My first thought on hearing about Mum was that I might have never seen her again, and if that had been the case did I have any thing I wish I had said to her, in this case I could answer no, she knows how much I love her and how great I think she is. I think that losing someone close at such an early age has meant that I normally try to keep a clean sheet where this sort of regret could happen, I then expand the thought to other friends and family and apart from a few minor things I feel quite happy that I have said all that needs to be said. But then I looked at a last group, old friends who I just don't see any more, and do regret that I am so crap at keeping in touch with them, so I will now try to rectify this, one a week, I can make time for that and think that it is worth it.

The picture is of Kep, his loss really hit me hard but that's not the reason for the picture, Trevor Pickford, my old school friends facebook profile picture was (or is) a blue Merle Collie so I think he would appreciate the picture.

Now playing: Oasis - don't look back in anger (Acoustic)
via FoxyTunes

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Mad March

Well it's been sometime since I had a moment to update this blog, March really has been mad, I've lots going on and even more planned and may even find time to take some photos.

Firstly, The free exhibition, “Canal Side” an attempt to capture the many faces of the canal in all weathers and seasons, is now wonderfully displayed in the Cafe Clique, Getliffe’s yard, Leek, Staffordshire until the end of April 2012.

The images are a mix of digital photographs and slides, taken along the Leek and Caldon branches of the Trent and Mersey Canal over a number of years and most of the images are being exhibited for the first time.

Second my new exhibition Dusk till Dawn is to start on the 1st of May at the Foxlow and will run for the whole of May. I will also be at Art in the park on the 12th and 13th of May, more details on both nearer the time.

The Leek United building society has also changed it's web site to show my spring photos, the Winter ones went down very well so I'm hoping that these will be just as well received.

I've done two long photographic trips this month, one to the Lake District and the other to York, and a number of shoots for Totally Local Leek and some stuff for my Buxton daily photo blog.

All in all a great few week, possibly the busiest I have ever been, today is no less hectic with two photo shoots to work on from yesterday, three lots of prints to be mounted, two lots to be delivered and an exhibition to collect, and an other photo shoot to finish off from last week. On top of that the picture from the Lakes and York need doing and the Dusk till Dawn exhibit needs finalising!

Finally I was interviewed last week by Rosie Lovenbury for her collage course and she has now put the article on line you can see it here

The picture below is a possible for the exhibition, taken on the side of Derwent Water near Keswick.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In answer to a critic.

I've blogged for quite a few years and very early on I learned that if you open your self up to comments not all of them would be positive. My first negative comment took me by surprise and really upset me, until I realised it was a good friend having a laugh, but by then I had gone through the emotions associated with the comment and come to terms with them. Over the next few years I've had the odd bad comment and a fair share of spam, but have kept the comments free from any restrictions or censorship, but I do delete spam.

A few weeks ago I received a very poor comment regarding one of my photos, but before I could respond one of my readers beat me too it


my 12 yr old can take a better pic than that lol

Alison Worrall

Nice reflections and colours, my fave bridge subject is Cherry eye further along the canal.
Don't fancy meeting a 12 year old of such prodigious talent with such a gutless anonymous parent.

My comment was "After blogging for over 4 years I have found that its really is not worth taking any notice of anonymous comments, if someone has something to say that is worth while they will put their name to it."

And there the matter would have rested until yesterday,


It's amazing how a canal can offer so many beautiful and varied this one with the perspective and the hint of reflection of the trees.


get real AL its a snap shot nothing special in anyway at all.

So Mr or Ms Anonymous is back with yet another poor comment, and while I have said " that its really is not worth taking any notice of anonymous comments" I did re-look at the picture and re-evaluate the images and its worth.

So is it " its a snap shot ". Well it is a snap shot, taken in a 60th of a second, with out a tripod and the only one of that view, so no mucking around trying to get the perfect angle or waiting for the right light. But its well framed, not just falling within the rule of thirds but also having 2 or even 3 lead lines taking you in to the picture and it is well exposed and colour corrected.

So from that point of view it is almost perfect, if you judge a picture on technique alone and really I would only expect that sort of critique from a skilled photographer.

Now is it " nothing special in anyway at all", well now that is a subjective argument that goes to the route of all art.

Lets start with "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" Al is from Australia, Brisbane in fact, so a snowy scene will look different to him than to someone from our area, special even.

Then we can look at the reason behind the image, it's not a random picture, the camera was pointed at a particular spot and the image captured, it was meant to show that view and to convey a certain message. Now not everyone can appreciate all art, it's like music, some you like, some you hate and some you just can not understand, but it's still music. So while this picture can speak to some, others remain deaf to its message and for me that fine, I saw something that I felt I needed to record, it touched me at that moment and made it through all the processes that stop 49,000 other pictures from seeing the light of day.

How do I feel about the picture, well it was a snap shot, I put no deliberate effort in to the framing, I just saw the image in my head, captured it and walked on, but then I have been taking pictures for over 20 years and if I needed to think about it I would not really be that good. The picture its self is better than average, it meets my standard for this type of image, it captures the scene in a structured way showing it as it was, to be seen by people who were not there, Al could not be more perfect as a target audience.

How do I feel about Mr or Ms Anonymous, well first if they felt so strongly that they commented why not back it up with a name? The second thing is that I feel upset that they did not leave a name because I probably know them as they came to my blog via Facebook, making them, on paper at least, my friend.

To finish here is a reworking of the same image in 4 different ways, perhaps one is to your liking, and here is a link to the original one

Now playing: The English Beat - Tears of a Clown
via FoxyTunes

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Canal Side

The free exhibition, “Canal Side” is an attempt to capture the many faces of the canal in all weathers and seasons and is wonderfully displayed in the Cafe Clique, Getliffe’s yard, Leek, Staffordshire from the 1st to the 31st March 2012.

The canal has been part of my life for over 15 years since moving to our current house over looking tunnel pool near Leek. It's the first thing I see every morning, its proximity means that a quick walk nearly always includes a stretch of it's banks and its ever changing face means I never tire of it. Over the years the canal has featured in many of my images but this is the first time that it has had star billing.

The images are a mix of digital photographs and slides, taken along the Leek and Caldon branches of the Trent and Mersey Canal over a number of years and most of the images are being exhibited for the first time.

This small stretch of canal, only about 10 miles in length, running down the picturesque Churnet Valley, it is very lightly used and has a quiet backwater feel to it, lots of deserted stretches and over hanging trees.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

4 years old

365 to 42, the number of days to my 42nd birthday, little did I known when I started this blog to mark a year of my life I would be changing the course of the rest of my life. The blog is now 4 years old (and me a bit more) and has been joined by 3 more, it has long out lived the reason it was started for and has become the catalyst for a number of major changes in my life.

When I started the blog I was in a dead end job, actually off work with stress and lacking any self confidence or self worth. Photography had been a hobby for years with the pictures I took never seeing the light of day mainly because I had no faith in my ability.

Four years on and I'm into my second year as a professional photographer, confident in my work and looking forward to the future. Mostly the result of comments on this blog about my pictures and because I needed to keep feeding it with new and interesting images.

But that is only 1/2 the story, the other big force in my life is my wonderful wife Carolyn. For years she has been my biggest supporter and hardest critic and on the anniversary of a momentous point in my life she is also about to change her whole life by leaving her employer of 23 years and going self-employed. I want to wish her all the best in the new career and tell her I will always be there for her, just as she has been for me.

For more information on what Caz is doing here are her web site and blog.

Now playing: David Bowie - Little Wonder
via FoxyTunes

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Its not all hard work

Meet Bella and Jade, two of the reasons I love my job, it has been nearly a year since I went full time and in that time I have had the pleasure of photographing loads of new subjects. It has not been all hard work but photographing semi naked young ladies was one of the most stressful moments of the year, until I started then it was just like any other shoot. In fact as I was working professional models it was one of the best shoots I did. My latest shoot was with Bella and a few other dogs, a real recipe for disaster, but as it turned. out it was great fun and quite painless

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Monday, January 16, 2012


A busy and cold few days with lots of time spent out doors taking pictures. Thursday night and Friday morning saw me on the Roaches taking pictures for my exhibition in May, Saturday evening found me on the side of Rutland water taking yet more shots for the exhibition. In all I have taken 700 shots in 4 days, last Jan I took 488 in the whole month!

The real reason I was down in Rutland was to meet up with some old friends for the weekend, and what a great week end it was loads of laughs and loads of great food. All in all a fantastic few days I can not wait till next time.

Photo of Normanton Church, Rutland.

Now playing: Altered Images - Don't Talk To Me About Love
via FoxyTunes

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Sitting here trying to work and keep getting distracted, the picture below started out as an attempt to delete some photos, which I managed to do, but then I started to play with some of the images and ended up with this. Bang goes 1/2 an hour!

Now playing: R.E.M. - What's The Frequency, Kenneth?
via FoxyTunes

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Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm a believer

I'm getting a bit depressed and the latest fad on Facebook is the cause. It's only a little thing but people have started to post the tune that was number one when they were born, which, in it's self, is not that bad, the bad bit is that I can remember most of them coming out! And some of them only seem like yesterday. Karma Chameleon was the last one posted, I'm sure that was only a few years ago. Doesn't time fly.

So to join in the fun I thought I would post mine

I'm A Believer - The Monkees

And to save you looking it up 1967.

On a different note, I've been asked by a couple of people if I will be running an introduction to photography course again this year, the answer depend on the amount of interest there is, so if this might appeals to you or someone you known could you let me known. I'm looking to focus at getting the best from any camera and exploring different styles of photography, trying to build a foundation to then let you carry on enjoying photography.

Picture from the on going work for my exhibition in May.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. Hope the hangovers are not too bad.

To start the year I've a new project, and it's an other daily photo blog, Buxton Daily Photo, a photo a day taken in and around Buxton and the Derbyshire Peak District. Pop over and check out the first picture.

Yes I know it's another blog, as if 3 was not enough for one person, but given the success the others have had and what I have gotten from running them it seems to me to be a good idea. So I hope you all have a great new year and that 2012 brings you all you wish for.

Now playing: Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle (12" Mix)
via FoxyTunes

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