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Monday, 31 December 2012

Best Of The Year


As it's the last day of the year, I've decided to go through all my postings to find which photo got the most hits.

I was surprised to find out that it was this one, as it is not particularly brilliant. But it did receive an amazing 10745 visits. It is of actress Lauren Goodger from "The Only Way Is Essex" who was launching her line of cosmetics.

I took it at the Beauty Show in Birmingham on 13th May while she was promoting herself and her products.

Well that's about it for 2012. It's been quite a year photographically, with learning about taking portraits of some lovely models, owning a full frame Nikon D3s, and now the amazing Olympus OMD.

Gail has caught the photography bug too and we've visited some unexpectedly nice places like Bradford and Chester, where we met up with top snapper Damian McGillycuddy.

Who knows what 2013 will have in store for us both. Personally I'd like to start earning a bit of money somehow from my photography; possibly through doing weddings or covering some local events.
Whatever happens, I'll be sure to share it with you on this blog. So do keep visiting and I'd just like to wish you all a

                   Happy New Year

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

It's a Happy Birthday to my darling Gail who is ?? today, but looks a lot younger.

Here is one of the presents that I got her. If you can't tell, it's a hand crafted wooden zebra that has come all the way from Africa, from where of course they originate.

She saw a trio of them in a local gift shop that specialises in original art from different parts of the world, and fell in love with them. So I just had to get one for her. I would have liked to have bought her a herd, but we haven't really got the space and they are quite expensive. I think it is quite humorous in the way that it's rear end is sticking out!

Besides the zebra and a few other little presents like chocolates, some mittens, I got her this rather bright and colourful  Doc Marten boots. Pink is Gail's favourite colour. Earlier this year she met a model who was wearing a pair, although in a cherry red colour, and thought she might like a pair herself. And now she has.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

In Everyone's Life A Little Rain Must Fall...


... but at the moment, it seems to be a torrent.

Yes it rained again today, and quite heavy at times. I don't think there has been a day this week where it's not rained. This is not helping to relieve the situation with the local flooding that is happening at the moment.

So I didn't see anything worth photographing today, except giant puddles everywhere. But no sun to make the puddles look like mirrors. So here's a shot in the front garden with all the droplets of rain hanging from our fir tree.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Heart To Heart


Now that christmas is over, the council have started to remove the stalls that made up our Christmas market.

The food and drink stalls in the Old Market Square still remain, but I think these will be finished very soon; maybe by the end of next week.

One of the stalls sell all sorts of sweets. I quite like this heart shaped confectionery, which are supported by the hearts on the bags.

Love sweets, or sweet love?

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Horseplay


A bit of an arty shot today, as the cupboard is a little bare at the moment.

The fairground ride in the Old Market Square. The guy looks like he's enjoying the horses going round. Just hope he hasn't put a bet on one of them!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Snowballs


No snow over Christmas, just rain. Some parts of Nottinghamshire are now flooded. Fortunately we are high and dry. Living on top of a hill helps. So the only white in the garden at the moment is this bush that sprouts these white snowball like flowers. I have no idea what the bush is called, but they do add a little something to what is basically a bare garden at the moment.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas


Here's hoping everyone has a great time over the festive period, and all the best for the forthcoming year. I hope it is a good one.


Monday, 24 December 2012

We're Walking In The Air


An unbelievable thirty years ago, Channel Four first screened a cartoon based around the story of a snowman that comes to life and takes a little boy to see Father Christmas. Written by Raymond Briggs, it has been shown on TV every Christmas since then.

This year a new story debuted on Channel Four. It was a similar story, but this time the little boy makes a dog out of snow as a friend for the snowman that he has built. The boy had a dog himself but it died earlier in the year. He sends a letter to Santa asking for a new dog for Christmas.

It was a lovely story and used the same line drawing animation as the previous tale. No CGI, just old style animation. It's worth watching and hopefully will be on again next Christmas.

I noticed that my local branch of the Nationwide building society had a poster in their window of a scene from the film, so I just had to take a photo.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Moody


This is Chrissy, our model for the evening, while we were doing a small lighting course at our friends studio in Clifton.

Besides working in the studio, we went outside and using just one flash, set up a shot like this one.

Friday, 21 December 2012

A Touch Of Sparkle


Since adopting Marmalade and Oscar we don't put up a Christmas tree anymore, as Gail and I are worried that they might try and use it as a scratching post and tinsel and baubles will be scattered everywhere as they push it over.

So here is a shot of a tree and decorations that I took through a window of a bank in Beeston, when Gail and I went for a walk along the High Road when it was dark.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Round Robin


Everyone loves robins, those cheeky and friendly birds that often pop into people's garden to see what's happening and what food is available.

Fortunately this robin isn't going anywhere, as it's one of the decorations that are on show in Beeston's shopping area.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Life Flashing By


You may have noticed that my blogging has been a little haphazard lately and have missed the odd day here and there. I certainly seemed to have lost the discipline needed to do a daily blog at the moment.

It's just that we seem to be doing so much recently, that I haven't had either the time or the inclination to sort out the images that I have taken.  Or do anything with them. I know that I should and need to.

Today for instance I had to go to Bristol for the day for work. A very long day too.  I didn't get the opportunity of taking any pictures, except any, like this one out of the train window.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

No Red Nose


Another Christmas related photo today, as it's getting nearer and nearer.

This is a real reindeer, but alas it's not Rudolph, or Blitzen for that matter.

I never got to know his name, but there were quite a lot of people queuing up to meet him and his cousin, who were visiting Broadgate Park.

I guess he is wearing a bell because his horn's don't work. Sorry, couldn't resist an old cracker joke!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Dearly Departed


Gail and I had to go to a funeral today. Not a family member as such, but someone close to our hearts; Gail's ex husband's father, Ruben.

He died suddenly from a short illness. So it was quite a shock to hear that he had passed away so soon.

Ruben was very popular in the village where he lived, and the little church in Edwinstowe was packed with family members, friends and locals wishing to say their goodbyes.

The service went as well as could be expected and so did the burial, despite it being very cold and wet.

Although I didn't know him as much as perhaps I was able, we did share the same birthdate, although there was a 40 year difference.

It was the first time that I had been to a funeral with a burial, as others that I have attended have been cremations.  After the coffin was lowered into the ground, I helped his sons to shovel the earth back in. It was the least I could for them.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

And The Songbird Keeps Singing


Gail and I now know that it's the start of Christmas, as we've just been to the Playhouse to see Kate Rusby and her band in concert.

It has become a bit of a tradition to see Kate's concert in December. We've had to wait a long time too, as I bought the tickets in May.

She mainly played Christmas type carols, but in a folk style, accompanied by a six piece brass band. She says that she loves to come to Nottingham and play amongst the pantomime set.

The theatre was packed, and everyone really enjoyed her style of music and little stories she tells about the songs, where they come from and her adventures on the road.

I took this photo last year. Kate looks exactly the same, but a little slimmer now that she's given birth to baby Phoebe.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Shopping Bags


A bit of Christmas fun this morning along the main streets of Beeston, as various performers were out and about entertaining the busy shoppers.

Here's an 'ugly sister' pestering the passers by. There was also another one lurking around in the background. Somewhat fatter and more vocal than this babe with a bag.


Friday, 14 December 2012

Bookworm


This is Friar Tuck, one of Robin Hood's 'merry men' who seems to be relaxing and reading a book, probably a Bible, as he was a religious man, although I don't know to which order he belonged.

He is often portrayed in films and on TV as a lover of food and hence his rotund appearance, although apparently he was very good with the sword when riled.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bicycle Clips


Tonight Gail and I went to a local hotel called The Belfry for a Christmas party organised for the people she works with at the hospital.

There was a bit of a 70s, 80s theme, and some people had dressed in period costume. Someone even dressed up to resemble Mr T. But we just wore normal clothes.

The food was quite good, but we left before the disco started as Gail didn't feel very well for some reason. Not the food, just a lot of coughing, as we were both coming down with colds.

Whilst I was waiting for Gail, I noticed that the hotel had dedicated a wall to local bike company Raleigh. Besides a bit frieze on the wall featuring photos and advertising pictures about the company, there were six picture frames hung on the wall, and each one contained a model of one of their famous bikes.

The one above depicts one of their tandems from the early 1900s, whilst below is probably their most well known and idolised models; the Chopper from 1970. They look very realistic and must have taken quite a time to make, as they look scratch built, rather than being made from a kit.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

12:12, 12-12-12


Well today's date was quite special in a numerical sort of way, as it's the last time we will ever see the day, the month and the year with the same number, owing to there only being twelve months in a year.

So to commemorate this event I went to the Robin Hood statue at lunchtime and waited until the appropriate moment and then pressed the shutter.  I got the minutes and seconds right, but according to the photos EXIF data, it came to 23 seconds. Although my camera might be a few seconds out.

The next date with any interest will be 11-12-13. Almost a year from now.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

High Flyers


As it was my teams' Christmas dinner tonight, I took the bus into town, instead of cycling in, as I usually do.

While I was walking up by the castle, I heard the squark of a lot of birds. Looking up, I saw a big trail of Canada geese flying overhead.


I thought the birds had flown south ages ago, but they must be just as confused about the weather and the seasons as we are. Maybe now that they have gone, they know that really bad weather is on its way. It was very foggy coming home tonight, and temperatures are expected to drop to minus five tonight. So perhaps the birds know what it is going to be like during the next few days.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Midnight Madness


Whilst we were in Birmingham, we stayed at one of the many large hotels along Broad Street. It is probably one of the busiest roads in the city centre. I took this shot at around midnight on the Saturday night. It just looks like rush hour traffic.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Flying The Flag


For once I have been standing in front of the camera. It doesn't happen very often, as I think I take a rotten picture. Some people have mentioned that about my activities behind the camera too!

This was taken by the in-house photographer at Adee Phelan's salon in Birmingham's The Cube building. I think it works well in black and white. You can still tell that it's the Union Jack behind me.

I quite like the pose. Maybe a touch of the Richard Branson. But without the wooly jumper.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Circles


This is the unique Sefridges building in Birmingham. Most people have seen shots of it in daylight, but as we are staying the weekend in the West Midlands city, I thought I would take one at night for a change.

It is certainly a unique shape and with all those silver discs stuck on the side, it makes it look like it belongs on another planet in the far future..

Friday, 7 December 2012

Out In The Country


A bit of an arty shot today. This was taken up at the farm on which stands the remains of Beauvale Priory.

I used one of the art filters in the OMD, and just did a little tweak or two in iPhoto.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Snow Globe


Besides the ride, stalls and bar, the new attraction at the Christmas event in the Old Market Square is this giant snow globe, with animatronic snowman and penguins.

It is quite cute and obvioulsy a great attraction for children and adults alike. In fact it took me a while to take the photo, as so many people were attracted to it, despite the cold weather.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

High Flyers

After a very hectic week last week, I've been a bit stuck for photographic ideas this week. The weather hasn't helped either.

This ride called the North Pole appeared last year in the Old Market Square, and I put a couple of shots of it on here, which was taken with my old Nikon D90. This one was taken with my Olympus OMD and used one of the fancy art filters.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Monday, 3 December 2012

Lighting Up Time


By the time we had left Beauvale Priory it was getting dark, commonly known as the Blue Hour. Just as we were driving down the main road, Gail and I had spotted this overtly decorated semi detached house.

Of course, I just had to stop the car, as it was a great photo opportunity, as it's not everyday you see a house lit up in such a way.


It was really eye-catching, with several Santa's, snowmen and reindeer. Plus trees, vehicles and a nativity scene. There was a serious reason behind the light show, as the owners of the house have done it to raise funds for the special cancer unit at the City Hospital.

Whilst we were there, passers by and motorists were continually stopping to add their donations to the growing mountain of cash. The collection point was novel; a long pipe, leading to a chimney with Santa sitting on the top.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Farmer's Fayre


Gail and I popped up to Beauvale Priory this afternoon, as there was a Christmas fayre on in the barn.

There were quite a number of different stalls; including books; jewellery; plants and nic-nacs. There was also a raffle, done on behalf of the Mayor of Broxtowe's charity. I bought a couple of tickets, but alas I didn't win anything.  A shame, as one of the prizes was a lovely chocolate pizza.

I did hear a bit of interesting news, as a photo of the Priory which I allowed the farm to use for their cafe menu, was liked so much by the Mayor, that the council are going to be putting it on their Christmas cards. Apparently they are presently being printed. I should be receiving one for my reference.

By the time we had finished, the sun was beginning to set over the farmhouse. So of course I had to take a photo.





Saturday, 1 December 2012

Theme Day December - My Street



I have been absent from joining in with the City Daily Photo theme day for quite some time now, that I thought I should find a few minutes to start it up again.

There has been some well documented problems with the original CDP site, which disappeared some months ago, but now there's a new one on Facebook, so here we are.

This month's theme is 'my street'. Now I live on what I would call an ordinary road, with a mixture of terrace, semi detached, and in my case, detached housing.  What might be interesting from the casual observers point of view, is that generally all the terrace houses are at one end of the street, the semi detached in the middle and the detached at the other end.

A lot of the houses were built during the Victorian era. Some more during the 1930s, and the rest in the 1950s. There has been a couple of rebuilds too since my late mum and I moved to the area in 1996.

I have been wondering what to put on, as although most of the houses are nice to look at, but not particularly of any architectural merit. So instead, here's a photo of an old Citroen van that belongs to Dave, a neighbour of mine. A good friend, who tries to lead an ethical and green lifestyle. He also has a great sense of humour, is musical and interesting to talk to and is also the father to two lovely children.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Sitting Pretty



Our two cats. Oscar on the inside and Smudge on the outside.

Alas, I can't take the credit for this photo, as it was taken by Gail. But she did use my OMD and my new Olympus 45mm, F1.8 lens.

This is the first time I have blogged this week, although I do intend on writing and publishing previous entries, so that I don't miss a day. The reason for missing dates; photography of course. Three big shoots and subsequent editing.

I have been burning the midnight oil these past couple of nights, sorting out some photos from Tuesday's shoot for a major fashion label, whose branch in Nottingham had a relaunch party. The photos, if the marketing team think they are good enough could be used for advertising and social media publicity.

Don't worry, Smudge might not be our cat, but we do feed him and make a fuss of him. I've named him Smudge, as he has a brown patch across his nose. He might not be as pretty as Oscar, but he is just as lovable.


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Festive Fun

Here's a shot of a very busy Old Market Square and the people enjoying the food and drink on offer from the stalls that make up the Victorian market.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Swing


This is Emma, another of the models that we shot on Sunday.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Westwood Ho


I had a very exciting assignment tonight, in that I got to do a proper promotional shoot for the relaunch of the Vivienne Westwood shop in the Flying Horse Arcade.

A friend of mine put me onto it. Alas no payment, but something different and important to put on my photographic CV, which might come in handy in the future.

Although the shop has been open for a couple of years now, it has been run as a franchise. But now Vivienne has decided to buy the shops and run them under her own name. She has been at the forefront of alternative fashion since the 1970s and her association with The Sex Pistols and the infamous T shirt featuring a photo of the Queen with a safety pin through her nose.

I was there over four hours, shooting the shop, the products, the atmosphere and more importantly, the customers. They wanted twenty almost straight away, so I had to stay up till nearly 1am Wednesday morning, viewing, sorting, processing and sending them off. They also wanted the rest of them a couple of days later, so it was midnight oil burning time again.

Alas I've not had much feedback from them yet, but hopefully I took the sort of photos that they were after. I also can't show you any, as I had to sign a form giving them the rights to the pictures and where they are shown. So you have to make do with a general, rather non descript shot of the shop front.

I have asked for copies of any publicity material that is produced using my images for my portfolio, so I will be able to take a photo of that sometime in the future.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Rock n Roll Me Through

    Brad Dear

We had an hectic Saturday night at one of our local pubs, as three bands were playing at the Greyhound. Gail particularly wanted to go and see one of them, as she knows the guitarist, as they come from the same part of Nottinghamshire.

    Ferocious Dog

Brad Dear were on first, and apparently it was their first gig. But you couldn't tell, as they seemed that they have done it for a long time. There is also a link with the next band, Ferocious Dog, in the fact that one of the band member's son is is Brad Dear.

Ferocious Dog have a very loyal, if rowdy following. As soon as they started, several members of the audience stared dancing. Not your usual dancing either. They were like dodgem cars; banging into each other. In fact one banged into me, and nearly sent me flying. I was rammed into a pillar and sustained a bruise on my left hand on one of the knuckles. It's the first time that I have received an injury from taking a photograph!

    Seven Little Sisters

The final band Seven Little Sisters also have a loyal following, from the cheers that went up when they started playing. I guess I could describe their music as punk folk, or folk rock. They were very good too, and they just seemed to want to keep playing and playing.

We left the pub with our ears ringing. But very happy at seeing three good local bands that maybe deserve more recognition.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Model Material



What happens if you mix five photographers with a dozen models in a great studio, with lots of sets, lights and props?

The answer is hopefully some great photographs.

Well that's exactly what Gail and I have been doing for most of the day, at this converted factory in Long Eaton.

And what fun we had. Being given a model to work with for about 30 minutes, and using the different backdrops, such as bedroom, barn, hospital and with a real motorbike.

This particular model is called Lily and very good to work with she was too. She had not been modelling that long, but was very relaxed in front of my Nikon as we played around with the sets and poses.

Before anyone asks, no she wasn't naked, but was wearing a tight cream coloured latex dress. The power of the camera eh!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bookshop Bonanza


Our local branch of Waterstones has got this wonderful window display to promote it's range of Christmas titles.

The scene almost accurately portrays the area around the Old Market Square, with its range of Victorian buildings, the Council House, and Greens Windmill out at Snienton.

The only thing missing from the diorama is the market stalls, rides and animated snowmen that have taken up residency there at the moment.

I'm not sure whether we are going to get any snow this year, but I don't think it is going to be a white and silky as the one here.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Slice And Dice


Besides posing with handbags and heels, Kirin was also open to wearing or using any props that were lying around in Michael Lau's studio.

So I got Kirin to pose with the Samurai sword in a Uma Thurman, Kill Bill stance.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Fashion Through A Lens



Gail and I have spent a very enjoyable evening learning a bit more about shooting models for fashion photography.

We went to Michael Lau's studio in the centre of Nottingham. He had hired semi professional model Kirin Watanabe, to pose for us. She has a very striking and dramatic image. Something that is the style in fashion photography. Not your average girl next door look.

Michael had called the workshop 'Handbags and Heels', as that was what we were focussing on. There were only six of us, so we had plenty of time each to capture some fashionable images, using different backdrops, clothes and props.

I'm not sure whether these two images would make the pages of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar. But I'm quite pleased with them.



Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Christmas Is-a Coming


There was a party atmosphere in the Old Market Square tonight, as the Christmas lights were being switched on. And for once we had a famous local person to do it.

Richard Whitehead won a gold medal in this years Paralympics for the 200 metre sprint. He gave a little speech about him being a local lad and thanking everyone for their support this year, before pushing the plunger. There was also a firework display and some street entertainment to amuse the throng of people that had turned up. Such as below, with some of the Toy Story characters

I wasn't sure if the show would go ahead, as we have had a deluge of rain all day long. I was planning to come in by bus, as I wanted to use my D3s, and Gail was coming in too, but there was a warning on the radio that there was gridlock on the roads due to some roadworks that had overrun and an accident that had just occurred. So I had to decide whether it was better to get a little bit wet cycling in, or be very late, coming in by public transport. I took the decision to cycle, so brought my OMD instead. Gail also decided to stay at home. So I had clearly made the right one.