Header Photo

Header Photo

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Running For Dear Life

The Robin Hood Half Marathon took place this morning across some streets in Nottingham. I went to catch the action just before the runners went round Highfields and back to Trent Bridge.

The more taxing 26 mile marathon had been cancelled by the organisers earlier in the year due to the large amount of roadworks that are taking place at the moment and the worries over runners' safety.

Over 8000 runners of all abilities took part, including those in wheelchairs. Quite a few had dressed up for the occasion, which is what I was essentially looking out for. So I was pleased to spot these two Supergirls running together.

Obviously the best of friends. I like the way that they are almost mirroring each other with the way that their long hair is wafting about in the same direction, their hands are almost in the same position and they are both in the same running position.

I don't know if they are running to raise money for a charity. But many did, and so I hope they all raised a good deal for their particular cause.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fare's Fair

I went the the very first Great Nottinghamshire Show this afternoon, which is taking place in a local sports field over the weekend.

There were quite a number of stalls there. Mainly food, which was good, as I got to taste some curry and a small bowl of Paella.  I also bought some old English muffins from a local baker. They look a lot different than the round discs that I normally buy. These still round, but look like cakes. I'm looking forward to trying one with some blackberry jam.

There were a few other stalls, including one promoting the Lakeside Arts Centre. I got chatting to the two who were running the stall. I took a photo of them and Tweeted it, as I follow the centre, and many other local organisations on Twitter. It made them happy, as it proved to their boss that they were working.

I also bumped into someone that I used to work with. He Left a couple of years ago, as he wanted to work for himself. So he set himself up with a mobile coffee van. I saw him a few months ago serving some staff from the local BBC studio. He wasn't in a very good mood though, as he hadn't been able to serve anyone, as there wasn't any power available for his van.

For some reason I didn't find find any inspiring photos to take, until I came across this promotional Smart Car for a local taxi service. I love the telephone handset on the roof. If a giant came along, they could pick the car up by its 'handle'.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Cock A Hoop

Here's a shot from some of the old buildings along High Pavement. A wide range of classical and neo-classical buildings dominate the area; together with a number of Victorian warehouses, used for the lace trade. Now they have either been turned into offices or penthouse flats.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Badgering People

There was a demonstration outside one of the many Tesco stores in the city centre at lunchtime today.

The demonstration concerned the scheduled badger cull that the Government has recently announced to ward off a possible TB epidemic amongst cattle. Although there is no scientific proof that this is the best way of controlling the disease.

There is a suggestion that it is better to actually cure the badgers, rather than killing them. The protestors were also getting passers by to sign a petition to stop the cull. I of course happily signed it, as I am an animal lover and do not believe it is the way to go either.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Man In Grey

Today is our Headbanger Challenge, and only four of us again this week, as Stewart is still away at the seaside. Unfortunately he and Julie are getting a bit battered and wet at the moment in the stormy weather that we are presently experiencing across the country.

I've chosen the theme this week, and have picked 'confectionery'.  This can mean, chocolate; sweets; cakes, or anything in between. I have gone for a traditional looking sweetshop which we came across in Leeds last weekend.

It was located in a small arcade, that contained all sort of good quality gift and clothing shops. We were going to have a snack at the cafe next door, but they had run out of bread!

Don't forget to have a look at the other sites, and enjoy this great song from years gone by.

I took our Olympus OMD for a spin today for a change. I'm waiting for the battery grip that we've ordered to arrive, as although it is a great camera, I am finding it a little small for my hands. Especially as I've been used to the big Nikons.

I think I've mentioned before that I do love the different art filters that the camera can produce simultaneously, after you're pressed the shutter; although it does take a little while for them to be processed onto the SD card.

Although it rained again this morning, the sun came out a bit, while I was on my way home. So I decided to have a ride through Highfields.  I'm glad I did, as I managed to capture this little fellow while he was hunting for food.

He seemed quite used to humans, and came quite close whilst I crouched down, camera in hand and watched him hopping about. So I managed to snap him while he stood there posing for me.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Cars That Ate Leeds

Back to Leeds today and two of James Martin's cars. The first is is a Ferrari 275 GTB,  from the late 1960s, which apparently used to belong to John Lennon. Imagine..

While below is a somewhat modified and highly decorated Fiat 500 from around 1972.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Bringing The House Down (2)

What a horrible day it's been today. It's rained for most of the time. I got wet feet cycling in to work. Not so much from the rain, but the spray from the lorries and the big puddle at the side of the road, because the council haven't got around to cleaning the drains out yet and they are covered with leaves and rubbish.

Although it was wet, I still needed to go out for some fresh air & exercise. I didn't go very far though. There is a multi-storey car park near where I work, and so I thought I would go up to the top level and take an aerial photo of what the old cinema looks like.

As you can see, they've really got to grips with knocking it down. I think by the end of the week, the site will just be a pile of broken bricks and scrap metal. Which then will be sorted and the land cleared ready for the construction of the new building to start.

So I can see that going up the car park is going to be a daily ritual for the next week or so. I will be taking shots from ground level too, as the demolition gang get going.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Grub's Up!

Gail and I have spent in interesting, but slightly disappointing weekend in Leeds. Our original reason for going was to attend a one day photography course with a couple of friends. But the photographer pulled out at the last minute & we couldn't get a refund on our hotel room, so we decided to go anyway. We left late on Saturday, so didn't really see that much of the city. But we did a fair bit today. Firstly we went to the Royal Armouries; a museum dedicated to weapons, fighting and war since man first got angry with each other. We watched a demonstration on how a knight puts on his armour with the help of his squire. It was quite informative and we were told that armour design changed through the years. We had a good look round at all the exhibits. I'm not that interested in war and weaponry, so was a little fed up after a while. But my mood brightened when we got outside, as there was a small exhibition of classic cars, including two from the 1920s. We'd previously passed these on the road from the hotel and Gail managed to snap them while we were stuck at some traffic lights. There were a number of Minis, some sports cars and an original Fiat 500, which belonged to TV chef James Martin on display. James himself is a big car buff and has taken part in various rallies. They were parked outside his restaurant called 'The Leeds Kitchen'. Incidentally we were told that he was inside serving and entertaining the customers. So we had to have a gawp through the windows. And sure enough there he was. So I took some shots 'pap' style. Although he did pose for photos later. We then went for a stroll around the city centre, which has some very decorative Victorian buildings. I didn't take that many photos, as it had started to rain and thought it best to start the journey back home.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bringing The House Down

Well work has now started on demolishing the old Odeon cinema. It has been derelict and unloved for around 12 years now. I can't even remember the last film that played there. Looking at some old photos on line, it may have been 102 Dalmatians. Anyway the builders are in, and it is very slowly disappearing. They took the roof off this week, So I thought I would do a mini project of recording its final death, before the site is reborn as student flats.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Steaming Ahead

Gail has got herself a new camera. Something a little smaller and neater for her to carry around on a daily basis. It is an Olympus OMD. The one that Damian McGillycuddy let us have a go with the other week. So as a change to my hefty Nikon, I took the little DSLR for a stroll around the city centre. As it is a micro 4/3rds camera, my Panasonic lenses fitted it. So I had a go with the 20mm pancake lens. Although it came with an small zoom lens. The small buttons took some getting used to, as I'm more familiar with the chunkier Nikon ones. The weather wasn't very good, so I didn't really see anything exciting to snap. Except this scene of some council workers steam cleaning the pavement. Removing chewing gum I think. The one thing that I do like about the OMD, is it's ability to take a photo and record it using several different art filters at the same time. There are at least twelve. This is one of my favourite filters, as it gives the picture a slight HDR appearance, without it looking too unrealistic.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Sharp Shooter

This entry was originally meant to have been posted on September the second, but Blogger is acting oddly and so has appeared today instead. After our excitement yesterday in Chester city centre we spent Sunday at well known photographer Damian McGillycuddy's studio. It was a great experience to be talking to a professional photographer, as he took us through the steps in creating an exciting and stylish photo. Setting the scene, sorting out the lighting and posing the model. He uses an Olympus OMD camera, and a rep from the company had come along with some, so that we could have a go with one. It is quite a small camera. A micro four thirds one, that has been based around their film cameras of the 1970s. It took some getting used to, as the layout is a lot different to the Nikons that I am now used to, or even my two Panasonics. The camera has a neat trick of producing a photograph in twelve different styles simultaneously using the built in art filter programme. I took a shot of Lois here, using one of the filters. She was lit by an off camera flash which faced a wall of glass bricks, which has added to the dreamy shot

Money Makes The World Go Round

I used this photo for the Headbanger Challenge. The theme was 'change'. It got me the gold too.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Mirror, Mirror Who Is The Fairest Of All?

Wednesday again, and unfortunately we are two down this week as Gail has left to do other things and Stewart is on yet another holiday.

Kathy has thought up this week's theme of 'change'. A subject that can mean an awful lot to some people; a change of career, house move, getting married (or divorced) or even leaving to live in another country. Big stuff. But then don't forget all though little things. A new pair of shoes, painting your front door a different colour, or even trying a new way of cooking a basic ingredient.

Well I decided not to go with any of those, but to take a literal interpretation and show a pile of coins. Or 'Shrapnel' as it's sometimes nicknamed.

Do have a look at the rest of the group's pictures and enjoy this top tune from the 1970s.

Todays blog photo is another shot from yesterdays wedding tutorial. This one is a bit of an odd, but creative shot of the bride being reflected in the mirror with the groom looking on and wondering what his wife is going to be like when they've settled down together. Is there going to be two sides to her personality?  The loving and happy girl that he's fallen in love with. Or is there a darker side to her that may reveal itself at any moment?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Wedded Bliss

It was an early start for Gail and I this morning, as we were off to shoot a wedding. Not just any old wedding, but one where there would be another eight photographers doing the same thing.

But it wasn't a society or show business wedding. No it was actually a day's tutorial with practical experience on how to shoot weddings. As although we have shot two weddings so far, we don't feel that we have got the hang of doing them yet.

It was a good day on the whole, and the two models that were hired to be the 'bride and groom' worked tirelessly through the day and kept their smiles going, when even real newly weds may want to stop and go for a beer instead. Michael Lau the tutor was very good. We have been to a few of his studio based classes and always found them useful and interesting.

Here's one of the many shots of Hannah and Neil that I took through the day. The weather was kind to us too. Although the constant changing light played havoc with our settings.

Monday, 17 September 2012


After so much action over the past few days, things have quietened down a little bit and have nothing new to show you. So I've dug out this sunset over Nottinghamshire from a few weeks back, when we were driving home from our weekend away to Chester. Things are going to liven up a bit at the weekend, as we are off to Leeds for a model shoot. It's going to be a mixture of studio and location shooting. A couple of friends of ours are going too. So it should be a interesting and useful day, with many great pictures to add to my portfolio.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Lark In The Park

Today, Gail and I went on a planned photoshoot to Elvaston Castle & Country Park near Derby with some other 'togs' and models that we know through Facebook. Unfortunately we didn't get that far, as one of the rangers decided that he didn't want us in "his" park, and so we left and headed for Wollaton Park instead. We hoped their staff would be more accommodating.

We had about six models to play with and many of them decided to wear wedding dresses. Although it was a little breezy, it was fairly warm and sunny. Almost ideal shooting conditions, except for the constantly changing light. So I had to keep altering the dials on my camera, to stop the pictures being under or over exposed. All part of the fun that is photography.

Here's one of the models; Gemma, posing by the hall itself. Maybe in the same spot that Batman stood last year whilst they were filming the latest instalment of the movie franchise.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Where There's A Will

They say that life is a cabaret old chum, and it certainly was at the Theatre Royal tonight, when we went to see the musical of the same name. It starred singer Will Young, actress Michelle Ryan and legendary actress Sian Phillips. It is on a short tour of the country, before transferring to the West End of London.

I've only seen the film version which starred Liza Minnelli a couple of times, so I had a rough idea of the plot. The action is set in Berlin in 1931 and revolves around night club singer and dancer Sally Bowles, her friends, lovers and the rise of the Nazi party.

The ending was very dark, shocking and done in complete silence. As a Nazi pushes over the giant letters that spelt KABAERT over, you see the dancers from the club all lined up and naked, with their backs to the audience. You then see sprinkles of light pouring from the ceiling and you slowly realise that they are in a gas chamber and about to die as part of the 'Final Solution'.

It was an excellent production and well staged. I was even impressed with Will Young's singing and dancing abilities; considering that he only came from the Pop Idol TV series a few years ago, rather than the usual route of progressing through theatre or drama school.

We decided to wait backstage and see if we could say hello to the stars. We met Michelle Ryan, and she signed our programme, before driving off in her red Mini. Will was a bit more challenging. He actually managed to leave the theatre without anyone noticing, as he left through another door and into his black Mercedes. There was quite a crowd waiting for him too, so it was somewhat disappointing that he decided to play the drama queen and ignore everyone.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Flutter

Well it's a bit of a restful photo today, after so much action over the last week or so.

I saw this butterfly hopping from one flower to another, so I managed to get this shot while it had landed and stayed still enough to press the shutter button.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Au Réservoir

On the way back from Rockingham Castle, we stopped off a Rutland Water, which is near Oakham in Leicestershire.

Rutland Water is a reservoir that supplies water for the region. It also doubles up as a nature reserve and water sports centre. Fishing and picnics also take place.

We had not been before, so it was a pleasant to have a walk around and take a stroll to the waters edge. There were loads of people there; mainly families having a bit of quality time together.

I took some photos of the birds flying around, which I thought about using for my Headbanger photo.

The village of Normanton was lost when the lake was constructed. The building you can see is St Matthew's Church and is all that remains. Sometimes though when the water is low, you can see the submerged buildings; lost in time.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hitting The Beat

It's another Headbanger Challenge today, and it's Gail's turn this week.

It's also going to be her last one, as she has just started a college course, and so her time will be taken up with that.

Although she's my wife and I of course see her every day, I will miss her blogging and being part of the headbangers.

So what has she chosen for us all this week? Well, it's 'feathers'.

I took my entry at Rockingham Castle on Sunday. We were looking inside the house and I just spotted the quill pen on the desk in the upstairs music room. Although you are not supposed to be allowed to take photos inside the house, I just could't resist taking a sly picture or two.

I like the way in which the feather is highlighted against the darkness of the room. Just lit by the window.

Do pop over and see how the rest of the team have done with the theme, and do enjoy this pretty little song and arty video.

I took today's blog photo on Sunday, but due to the amount of events that I covered over the last couple of days, so I thought I would put it on today.

Besides going to Rockingham Castle on Sunday, we went to the city centre to see a band and dancers called Mandala. Unfortunately we missed most of the concert, but did catch top Tabla musician Talvin Singh in action.

Here he is thumping away on his drums, whilst the Council House has some images projected on it.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Striking The Right Chord

Gail has now started a college course on a Tuesday night. So instead of moping at home alone, I decided to go to a local bistro, as there was a musician playing. Although I do have loads of photos that need processing from all the events and places that I have covered over the last few days. But the draw of music and food was too much to resist.

The musician's name is Dan Johnson, and he sung a lot of blues tunes. So to help get into the mood, I treated myself to a Cajun chicken burger and ate while I listened and took photographs.

The bistro was busy, but not heaving, so I was able to walk and crouch around uninterrupted. I even asked if I could take some from behind the bar. Which I was allowed to do.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Pedal Pushers

The UK's version of the 'Tour de France', the Tour of England is presently underway across the land, and Nottingham was chosen to start the second leg of the journey.

So I and many hundreds of others stood up near the castle at around 10 o'clock this morning to wave them off.

By the time I had reached the city centre, it was 9.30, and the place was heaving already with cyclists and cycling fans. It was good though that you could just walk around chatting to the riders and getting autographs.

I just took photographs, including this one of Olympic champion and winner of this year's Tour de France Bradley Wiggins. Alas not on his bike, but going up on stage to sign himself in for the day's race up to Manchester.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Damsels In Distress

As it was another lovely sunny day, Gail and I went to visit Rockingham Castle in Leicestershire.

The castle was built over 900 years ago & decendants of the original family still live there.

The insides were full of wonderful things to look at; furniture; paintings; works of art. The kitchen was amazing and full of cooking utensils and realistic looking foods. The staff were very knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.

The castle grounds are exceptional and are well laid out and full of interest. I especially like this hedge of different shaped and sized hedges that run the length of one of the gardens.

Some of you may have heard of, or seen a BBC drama series from the early 1980s called 'By the Sword Divided'. It was about a family caught up in the middle of the English Civil War. Well the castle was used extensively in the show as a backdrop to the action. So if you do fancy a day trip out somewhere, and want to pretend to be a Cavalier or Roundhead, I can personally recommend a visit, as I don't think you'd be disappointed.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

First Of The Summer Wine

Gail & I shot a friends' marriage blessing in Long Eaton today & then went to Trent Lock Marina to take some photos of the happy couple in a relaxed environment.

It was a blessing, as they had got married in Holland, a few weeks ago. Alas we didn't get to cover that, as I've never been to Holland before, and it would have been a good experience.

It's been a lovely sunny day today. Almost too sunny! And hot too. The sort of weather which we should have got during July and August.

We have never visited Trent Lock before, so it was a bit of an adventure. It was a great place to walk around. Maybe bigger than Beeston Marina. Certainly a lot busier.

Whilst we were having a look around for suitable places to stop for photographs, I saw these three young girls relaxing and enjoying the warm weather; so I just couldn't resist taking a shot.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Where Eagles Dare

St Peter's Church had an open day today as part of the country's heritage weekend. This is where people can visit buildings that aren't usually open to the public, or have thrown their doors open wider than normally.

I have been in before, a few years ago, and then I only had my little Canon point & shoot. This time I had my Nikon, and so had a good look round for something that caught my eye.

This lectern was an obvious choice. The golden eagle is a work of art and is probably very heavy.

I took a fair few photos of different things, including carvings and stained glass windows. Some of which may appear on here sooner or later.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

It's A Free Ride

One of our local bus companies unveiled a new bus today. One of several that will be running around the city centre every day, taking passengers to either the Victoria or Broad Marsh shopping centres.

What makes these buses special is the fact that they run on electricity. A first for the city. And what makes it extra special? The fact that you can ride on it for free. Which in this day and age is a rarity.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Crime Does Pay

Wednesday night is Headbanger Challenge night in Blogland, and Richard, our newest recruit has come up with this weeks' theme. He has picked 'through the window'.

Now this sentence takes me back to my childhood when I watched Play School at about 4pm every weekday. And everyday they used to either go through the round, square or arched window, and we'd see a film of something being made, a different country or some such thing.

So I'm taking you through the oblong window to Chester today and this pirate who was standing guard inside a shop; which I just can't remember what it's name was, or what it was selling. Still it makes for something different.

Don't forget to pop over to the other blogs to see how they have interpreted the theme, and enjoy this nostalgic song from the 1930s.

The famous American crime writer Lee Child was in town today, doing a book signing at Waterstones of his latest novel "A Wanted Man'. And he certainly was wanted, as there was a queue a mile long that stretched up the side of the building.
His wrist must really have ached after autographing so many editions. In fact one guy came along with a bag full of his previous novels to sign!

I have read one of his novels so far called 61 Hours. It was a good read too. Quite suspenseful and certainly a page turner. I will probably get this one when it appears in my local library, which I think is about his 12th so far.

I also had a bit of a surprise, as this young lady came up to me and asked if I was "Gailsman". I said I was, and she introduced herself as Eva, and she helped to write the Nottingham Confidential website; of which you'll find a link on my favourite blogs. She said that she enjoyed looking at my blog and thought my photos were great. I said that I found NC very useful for finding out about some of the events that were taking place in the city. So if you are reading this Eva, nice to have met you today and hope to bump into you at the next event.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A Touch Of Yesterday

Whilst walking along one of the main routes down towards the river in Chester, I spotted this old Morris Minor. It was in very good condition and is obviously looked after well.

What made it for me was the fact that the owner had parked outside a shop that looked like it belonged in the past as well.

So the three of us all stopped and took some shots of the scene.

I've had a little twiddle with one of mine, and tried to give it that authentic 1960s look, using Picasa.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Colour Rush

Due to our trip away to Chester at the weekend, I'm a bit behind in blogging. But I'm still here, and plan to fill in the gaps during the next couple of days. So do pop back and read all about our adventures in Lancashire.

As the city is quite a tourist attraction for one thing or another, we sat in a good vantage point and were able to watch lots of people going by. Of course I snapped all the interesting people I could see, including this guy, as I was drawn to his brightly coloured T shirt.

He knew I was taking his photo, as he gave a little smirk while I pressed the trigger. He walked on by, but then he stopped and came up to us. We struck up a conversation. He wondered if we lived there, and if we knew of any pub jobs going. We said that we were visitors and we loved his T shirt.

He said that he came from Austria, but had bought the top in Spain and was over here as a sort of missionary. He found it difficult to explain fully how he had ended up there, but knew Nottingham, and had passed through on his way up north.

We wished him luck in his job search. I said that I had seen an advert in a window of an eatery close by, who were looking for a chef. He said that he had done some cooking and would go and see if he could find it.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Look Of Love

We are in Chester for the weekend with a photography friend of ours called Jurgen. We are here to visit the studio of professional photographer Damian McGillycuddy. He is opening his studio tomorrow and demonstrating how he takes his amazing photos of models etc.

It has been difficult in trying to find somewhere to stay, as the visit clashes with Ladies' Day at the races. When we got into town, we saw all these people coming from the racecourse in their finery. A photographer's dream. Shooting on the street, and people happy being photographed.

I spotted this rather pretty young lady handing out flyers for a local bar. I thought she looked lovely, and with such a wonderful smile too.