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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Model Love


Well all of the shops now have just about done all their Christmas windows.

Marks and Spencer's have done a great job with one of their window displays. It features a table groaning under the weight of food. Something that M&S is famous for.

But I was more interested in the two mannikins that have been posed in a romantic clinch, complete with mistletoe. Their blank faces make them look like robots. Maybe the window designer had been listening to Kraftwerk's Computer Love.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Life Is Full Of Ups And Downs


Here's a shot of the helter skelter that is part of the Winter Wonderland in the Old Market Square.

The interesting thing is that it appeared in the summer too, when it was part of the Rivera and beach event, and situated more or less in the same place.

In fact I think most of the stalls and rides are making another appearance. It's amazing what a few different coloured lights and some fake snow can do to change their appearance.


Friday, 25 November 2016

Skateaway


Now the the 'Winter Wonderland' was officially opened last night, I and my photography pal from work went down to see if there was anything worth taking a photo of, besides the usual fake snow and Christmas trees.

The ice rink has returned and slightly bigger than last year.  There were quite a few people going round and round. Some were pretty good, while some kept falling over. It's not something that I've ever had a go at. Nor rollerskating, or riding a skateboard, as I have a fairly poor sense of balance. I even have to hold onto something if I stand on one leg.

I noticed this woman in a dayglo red jumper, and thought she would make for a good subject, as it would stand out from the white of the ice. It took me several goes to take a decent photo of her, as sometimes other skaters got in front of her, or she was moving too quickly to focus properly.

I'm quite happy with the composition, but its just a shame that she's not in a more dynamic pose.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Night Lights


Don't worry, Nottingham's Council House hasn't been taken over by witches or aliens, it's a shot from the fireworks tonight, as the Christmas lights were switched on, and the festive season has officially begun in the city.

Paralympic swimmers Charlotte Henshaw and Ollie Hynd who won medals in Rio pressed the red button, overseen of course by Robin Hood, Santa Claus and the Lord Mayor. Then a five minute firework display began, which was enjoyed by the thousands who had packed into the Old Market Square for the event.

The city council has purchased a lot of new decorations, which is great, as the previous ones had been on show for at least three years running.

I shall have a look at them another night when there isn't so many people about.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Castle Keep


There was some good news in Nottingham today, as it was announced that the castle had won a £13.9m award from the Heritage Lottery to help with the proposed five year restoration project.

The whole scheme is going to cost nearly £30m and would include a new visitors centre, the opening up of some more caves and the installation of a glass lift, which will take you down from the castle to the Brewhouse Yard area and the museum there. Very Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Naturally Robin Hood, aka Tim made the announcement in the grounds at a big press and media gathering, which sadly I missed due to being at work.  I still went to the castle, just in case there were some more press about, and Tim was still posing for the camera. But they weren't. And it was raining too. That very fine rain that seems to get everywhere.

So I had a wander about and took a few photos. Fortunately my Olympus camera is weather sealed, so I didn't have to worry about any of the rain getting in. There wasn't really anyone around. So I left and went into town to see if anything was happening there.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Snow Going


I had a very long and difficult drive to Manchester today. It took just about twice as long as it should have.

Firstly there were some roadworks on the M1, so speed was restricted to 50mph, instead of the usual 70mph. This of course resulted in vehicles going at 40mph, and sometimes coming to a standstill.

Next came some rain, which made driving hard work, as there was so much spray about. It was like being in a car wash.

Then when I got on the road that runs through the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire it was snowing. And snowing quite hard at times. In fact in one part, there was no movement of traffic at all. I think we were all stuck in the same spot, or moved very slowly forward for almost an hour.

Finally when I reached Manchester, there was a lot of building work going on. So roads were closed, a few diversions or single lanes. There was one particular main road that had single file traffic on each side, and on the side I was on, there must have been about twenty buses all in a queue, and not going anywhere. So that added to my journey time.

The return journey was a little easier, except for the dreaded roadworks on the M1. But what got me, was the fact that I couldn't see anyone working. But isn't that always the way?

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Supermoon


There has been a lot of publicity recently about the moon being the closest to the Earth for a long time.  In fact the next time won't be for another sixty years or so.

It's been nicknamed the 'Supermoon'.

Due to the skies being cloudy over the weekend, I didn't get the opportunity of getting a night time shot, but the moon was still visible early this morning, so I thought I would take a daytime one instead. Especially as the sun was out and it was a clear blue sky.




Saturday, 12 November 2016

Lighting The Way


There's a new photo studio in Beeston that opened earlier this year called The Flour Mill. And yes, you've guessed right, it is based in an old Victorian flour mill.

Sian the owner has done a great job of turning it into a working space for artists. It's one large, light airy room that has been painted white.

I visited the studio for the first time a few months ago to interview Sian for the magazine that I write for, but returned today as the studio was running its first photographic workshop. All about lighting.

There were eight of us in total, and the workshop was led by professional photographer Nick Dunmur. He first went through the main types of lighting. We then split into two groups and practiced what we had learned, using ourselves as models.

This is my version of Steve. I used a bit of side lighting, just to highlight his face and body, but wanted to keep it quite dark, almost mysterious. Just enough information to see who it is, but not why they are there.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Farewell My Friend




2016 hasn't been a good year for stars of the entertainment business. First there was David Bowie, then Prince, Ronnie Corbett, Victoria Wood, and now Leonard Cohen.

I came into Cohen's world quite late. Around 1994, when an old neighbour of mine lent me his copy of 'The Future'. I played it a couple of times and was hooked.  A bleak musical look into how the world might be if we go on the way we are. Some deep and meaningful lyrics. Not just the usual "I love you baby" songs.

So I searched out his back catalogue and found great songs like 'Suzanne', 'First We Take Manhattan', 'The Tower of Song', and of course 'Hallelujah'. Songs about love, death, power, alienation. Certainly something special in all those lyrics of his.

Sadly I woke up this morning to the news that Leonard hadn't. But at 82, it wasn't unexpected. In fact I read somewhere that he was getting prepared for it. His latest and 14th album "You Want It Darker" was only released three weeks ago.

I was going to put the album on my Christmas present list, but out of love and respect for the Canadian poet, I bought it today and am plying it whilst writing this. The title track is quite religious in a way and illustrates through words the state of the world today. It even includes the line "I'm ready my Lord", which probably means that I am now prepared for death and waiting to go.

Besides not making anymore albums, I'm sad that I never got to see him in concert. So I'll just have to make do with videos on YouTube, and pretend that I'm in the audience.

So he's now taken up residence in the Tower of Song, where I'm sure his gravelly voice will be welcome to those that like his style of music.



Tuesday, 8 November 2016

A Tale Of A Tale


As there hasn't really been much to watch on terrestrial TV lately, we're having a go with a free trial of Netflix.

Because I've read so many comments from people ranting on about Breaking Bad, we watched some of the first episode, but didn't really get on with it.

So looking at what other programmes were on offer, I picked a series called 'Once Upon A Time'. And we are hooked. We are now watching about three or four episodes a night. Which is great, as over 120 have been made so far.

The basic plot centres around this small American coastal town called Storybrooke. The people go about their business, completely unaware that they are actually characters from traditional fairy tales, who have been cursed by the evil queen, who is the mayor of the town. Another antagonist is Rumplestiltskin, who masquerades as the town's antiques dealer, and richly played by Scottish actor Robert Carlyle. The school teacher is Snow White and a waitress is Red Riding Hood.

There is a protagonist of course, in the form of a woman called Emma Swan, who just happens to be the daughter of Snow White's and Prince Charming, and her eleven year old biological son called Henry, who was adopted by the mayor as a baby.

We have now started on series three, and who should make an appearance but Nottingham's own folklore legend Robin Hood. He did pop up briefly in series two, together with a pregnant Maid Marian. But this time he appears to be on his own, but being helped by the Asian soldier Mulan.

Series three takes place in Neverland, where Peter Pan is a baddie and has kidnapped Henry.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Let's Do The Monster Mash Again


Well it's just struck midnight and so Halloween has begun.

The one time of the year when ghosties and beasties can go bump in the night as they do the dance macabre.

One of Frankenstein's relations looks like he's having a good time bopping away in the mist and cobwebs that the night has delivered.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Hands Across The Ocean


Today is Robin Hood Day. The sixteenth one to celebrate our local legend.

Of course Tim has been busy up at the castle, getting involved with all aspects of the pageant that's taking place this weekend.

I'm not able to go, so here's a shot of a couple of overseas visitors that were in Nottingham the other day, when the caves exhibition was on in the Old Market Square, posing for a photograph with Robin Hood and Friar Tuck.

I guess besides Mickey Mouse, Tim's smiling face must be in thousands and thousands of photo albums across the globe, as locals, visitors and tourists queue up to have their photo taken with him.

Our very own global superstar.

Friday, 28 October 2016

All The Fun Of The Fair


The castle grounds is being turned into a medieval village this weekend, as it's the Robin Hood Pageant.

There will be fire eating, jousting, a working blacksmith and of course our very own Robin Hood will be turning up and getting involved in all the activities.

I had a stroll up there this lunchtime to see what had been constructed. Some work was still being done in constructing things and preparing the area for the opening show tonight.

I didn't make the opening night, as we were planning to go to the cinema. But after a change of thought, we've decided to go tomorrow night instead, so I won't get to see that show either.

I will read what Tim, who depicts Robin Hood writes tomorrow. It's a fairly warm and dry evening, so hopefully it would have been a good success for all those involved,

Monday, 24 October 2016

Italian Dream



I've been reminded on Facebook that it's a year since Gail and I visited the Italian region of Tuscany.

We went on a ten day holiday with six other people and visited several places like Florence, Arezzo and Siena.

It was a bit of a road trip and brilliant fun it was too. We were in two minibuses, and we shared ours with two other photographers. Which was great, as they perfectly understood why I was taking a photo of a rusty lock.

This castle is in the small town of Radicofani. You get some great views of the area from the top. We also got to meet the mayor of the town and had a group photograph by the statue of Ghino di Tacco, who was their version of Robin Hood.