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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Blowing Up The Old Year


New Year's eve and Gail and I went to the castle to see the annual end of year firework display. This year they had opened the castle grounds. There was also some bands on and some stalls. By the time we got there, the ABBA tribute band that we had seen earlier in the year were on in the bandstand, and the crowd was singing along to the such well known songs.

As midnight approached, everyone stood and waited for the chimes of midnight to start and the firework display to begin.  The display went on for about 15 minutes. In fact I was beginning to wonder when it would stop. I took quite a few of the fireworks exploding in the sky; of which many were of course either blurred or had hardly anything in them.

So I turned my attention to where the fireworks were coming from, and waited to see if anything exciting would be happening. I wasn't really disappointed, as I like this shot of the people watching a line of fireworks igniting and making for a good display.

It now just remains for me to wish everyone of you that has visited my blog, and especially those that have been kind enough to leave a comment or two, a very happy and healthy 2014.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, 30 December 2013

Oscar


Our, not so little cat Oscar is so photogenic.  Especially when he strikes a pose, like he did here, while relaxing in his comfy bed.

Gail & I were in the hallway when I noticed him laying in a position that was just crying out to be taken. So I quickly grabbed my camera, which incidentally had the 45mm f1.8 lens already attached, and laid it on the floor.  I took a couple of shots, then edged the camera a bit nearer, as I didn't want to scare Oscar so he runs away.

A couple more clicks, then a little bit nearer, few clicks more and I got the shot I wanted; Oscar posing like a lion or the Sphinx.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Ahoy There Landlubbers


I thought that one of the Christmas presents that I got this year was quite amusing. This little pirate figure.

No, it's not a Lego figure, but an 8gb USB flash drive. The figure itself is made of rubber. You then pull it's head off and that reveals the USB stick. It looks quite odd, as the figure's arms are still connected to the stick.

I expect it to come in quite useful in the future when I am transferring JPEGS around.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Reflections On 2013


I took this the other day down by the canal, after we had a tremendous storm and gale force winds during the previous night. This puddle, nee lake is along the towpath and was quite deep. Possibly by about five or six inches.

There were some seagulls chilling out on the edge of the towpath, so I had to position myself so that I wouldn't get them in the shot. Luckily there was no rubbish in the water to spoil the scene, only a few leaves, which is in keeping with the scene of the tree's reflection.

Now how does the old saying go; to see the future, you have to look at the past?  Well as I've shown you the past over the last few days. I don't think that I've done too badly this year with my photography. I like to think that I have taken some fairly decent pictures and my skill has certainly developed ('scuse the pun) since I started the blog nearly 8 years ago. I'm planning to take my level of photography up a step or two during 2014, through obviously taking more photos. This will be by going to more events, photoshoots and having another go at street photography, which I have neglected over the last year or two.

Hopefully you will stick with me during this adventure. It would be nice to get some more feedback from you all about my pictures. I do get lots of hits every day, but hardly any comments. I wonder why that is? A question for you, as we rapidly approach 2014.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Review Of The Year - November & December


November of course included Remembrance Sunday. I hadn't really attended one before, as I usually watch it on TV. So I popped down to see Beeston's version. Obviously nowhere as big as they have in other places, but it was very well attended, and plenty to photograph, including several wreathes to those lost to war.

On a more happier note, December saw Gail and I take some pre-wedding photographs of a nurse that Gail knows called Gemma and her fiancee David. We had a very good afternoon's shoot with them, despite the overcast sky, and they were pleased with the photos that we sent them. Incidentally they are getting married early in the new year. And yes, we will be doing the photography.

I hope you have enjoyed flitting through my photographic year over the past few days. Looking back over the last twelve months, I've been surprised at how many events I've been to and what I've managed to photograph on my Olympus OMD. I've also got better at using Lightroom. Although I don't do a lot to my photographs, unless I really want to and the image is crying out to be drastically altered.

Besides the everyday photography around the streets of Nottingham, I wonder what events, places and people I will get to photograph during 2014? Whatever it will be, I am looking forward to finding out.


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Review Of The Year - September & October


The night of September the 28th was quite monumental for Nottingham, as the new tram bridge was installed near the QMC hospital. The new tramline is quite controversial for several reasons, but people have admired the feat of engineering.

There was quite an audience standing around until the early hours whilst the bridge was finally put into place, millimetre by millimetre. And boy was it cold at 2am!

We were asked by a friend of ours if we would take some photos of her son Josh, as he has a desire to become a model. So we met up one Sunday in October and spent the afternoon getting him to pose in different positions, so future model scouts can see his potential.


Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Review Of The Year - July & August


The summer wasn't too bad with the sunny weather. Although it was rather cloudy when I went to London for the day in July. Besides taking my favourite 45mm lens, I took along my Samyang fisheye lens. It worked very well on this unusual shot of the BT Tower.

August saw me spending the day at Tank Mania in Leicestershire, with some other photographers and a load of models. It was quite a muddy day, and three of the models decided to get down and dirty in a large muddy and very deep puddle. I prefer my models to be armed and dangerous like Kat here.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review Of The Year - May & June


At the end of May, the Milk Race came to town. A full day of cycling around the city centre for both professionals and amateurs. So of course I had to be there to cover the action.

As Gail and I are keen photographers, we went to see the professional photographer Damian McGillicuddy who also uses the Olympus OMD camera. He gave quite an inspiring talk, while he took some photos of a model he had bought with him  We had some new wallpaper put up in one of our rooms, so when we returned home, I was keen to take a photo or two of my own model wife.


Monday, 23 December 2013

Review Of The Year - March & April



Most of March seemed to be a really snowy. Marmalade certainly knew the best place in the house to keep warm. It wasn't a very good one for me either, as I had to start a new job, after nearly 12 years in the old one

The bad weather had gone by April and Gail & I took a trip up to Whitby in Yorkshire to see the Steampunk and Goth festival that takes place there twice a year. There were certainly some interesting costumes, and Whitby is a very nice, old fashioned seaside town, with quite a picturesque harbour.


Sunday, 22 December 2013

Review Of The Year - January & February


The countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the past year through some photographs taken on the Olympus OMD, which I now use as my main camera.

January saw some bad weather in snow, fog and just generally very cold.  So here's the bell tower of the Council House shrouded in mist. Not quite the pea soupers of the 1940s & 50s, but still quite bad.

February was a lot better, and it also heralded my 50th birthday & 7th wedding anniversary. For a treat, Gail and I went to Portmeirion in North Wales for a weekend break. It was lovely and sunny, but sadly not warm enough to leave our coats off.

The remains of this child's bike was situated on the beach at Criccieth. I like the various textures of the rocks, the sand and the rust on the bike, all brought to life through the dramatic tone filter.



Saturday, 21 December 2013

"E's" Are Good


Spotted this little fellow in a gift shop window in Beeston. All dressed for Christmas in his scarf and hat.

He actually dances; well wiggles from side to side, like he's doing a belly dance. So cute to watch.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Lights On The Water


Due to multiple punctures this morning, I had to take the bus to work. So coming back home, I decided to walk along the canal towpath for a while, before catching the bus back to Beeston.

I passed the marina and thought I'd have a go at taking a photo of this well decorated narrowboat. Love the lights reflected in the water, and howe the ripples have broken up the colours.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

A White Christmas


As I was looking for some freezer bags in the kitchen, I stumbled upon this Christmas goodie that Gail had stashed away until next week.

She had tried copying me, as I sometimes hide bars of chocolate around the house; sometimes in the most unusual of places.

I think we are both chocoholics, and I try to limit the supply, by only making so much available at a time. Sometimes of course Gail just happens to come across a bar or two on her travels around the house, then of course we just have to finish the lot!

By the time that I had taken this photo, my darling wifey had already decapitated him. She offered me some, but I sad no, as I had already had two blubbery muffins and thought that should be my limit for the day.

The Snowman and the Snowdog premiered on television last Christmas, and it was a lovely, heartwarming story of a little boy who was missing his own pooch, as it had died and so wrote to Santa for a new one. Hopefully they will show it again next week. Of course by which time, this snowman would have melted away in our mouths.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wiggles


It is absolutely throwing it down with rain as I am composing this blogpost. The noise on the roof of our conservatory is quite deafening, even with the door almost shut. We leave it ajar so that Oscar & Marmalade can have access, as sometimes they like to have a nap in there.

My photo today has a watery theme as well. One I took yesterday on my way to the BBC studios. It's of the Premier Inn hotel reflected in the canal basin that is just outside.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Snow White At Christmas


It's not everyday that you come face to face with a genuine movie star. But today I did, as I knew he was waiting in the reception area of the BBC building on London Road.

He wasn't particularly waiting for me. In fact he was there to welcome anyone that had come along to the studios to say hello.

He seemed genuinely pleased to see me, and gave a smile and a wave of his arm, while I took his portrait.

If you fancy seeing Nottingham's newest film star in action in his special Christmas film, here's  a WEBLINK to the BBC Nottingham page. The film also features a friend of mine called Tim, who is Nottingham's official Robin Hood and appears in full costume.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Never In The Field Of Human Conflict


The imposing statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square and overlooking the UK's seat of power. Made from bronze by Ivor Roberts-Jones in 1973.

I wonder what he would think of the politicians that work there now, as they have now earned a reputation for being greedy, corrupt and generally dishonest individuals. Not that I am saying that the politicians of the 1940s & 50s were completely innocent of any wrong doing. Maybe they were just a bit more discreet, a little less greedy or the newspapers towed the line more and din't report any of their misdemeanours.

I wonder if old Winston ever fiddled his expenses?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Grime


A photo of some of the chimneys at the power station near the East Midlands Parkway railway station.

Just fiddled about a bit in Lightroom to get this strange, post nuclear effect.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Passing Strangers


One of the stairways into Westminster tube station.

Just two ordinary people going about their business, or something more suspicious, considering the area that I was in?

Friday, 13 December 2013

The Full Nelson


I was requested by work the other day to go down to London today to photograph an awards ceremony that was taking place at their offices in Westminster.

I had to get a very early train to St Pancras Station, and then a couple of tube journeys to central London. I immediately headed towards the Houses of Parliament to take a phone pic for Gail, as I always send her a message when I go away, so she knows that I got there safely. I then went to Parliament Street for the briefing of what photographs were required for the day.

By the time the event was over it had gone 4pm and it was beginning to get dark. Whilst walking around Parliament Square, I came across the statue of the late departed Nelson Mandela; President of South Africa. And all around the base were flowers, piled high, almost up to the statue's knees. There was a policeman standing guard, to make sure that there was no trouble, or the flowers got stolen. There were loads of tourists taking pictures and reading the cards. So of course I did the same.


Thursday, 12 December 2013

That Hitchcock Moment


Here's the moment that I was telling you about yesterday, when I walked past the BBC interviewing Stephanie live on local television at the Nottingham Playhouse.

That's me carrying my camera and looking for the next shot and not sadly the dapper looking gentleman in the DJ.

Fortunately I found the interview on iPlayer, so I was able to grab a quick shot off my computer.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

From The Sublime To The Ridiculous


This evening turned out to be quite eventful for two reasons, firstly I went along to Paul Smith's store on Middle Pavement, as I'd found out that he was going to be there signing copies of his new book about the history of his fashion empire.

I have always wanted to meet him, as he is also a Beeston lad. I did know his parents, who alas aren't around anymore, as his father Harold was a keen photographer in Beeston's camera club.

Afterwards I met up with Gail at Nottingham Playhouse, as it was their 50th birthday and they were having a gala evening. I had won some tickets a couple of hours earlier for this year's panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, so I said that I would meet her outside the theatre just before curtain up.

So I had a wander up to see what was happening, and the place was absolutely heaving with fans of the theatre. The local BBC team were there interviewing Stephanie Sirr, who is one of the executives of the Playhouse over the landmark. I just happened to wander by whilst the interview was taking place, and so appeared on TV for a couple of seconds, as it was going out live!

We then settled down to watch the panto. The stage design and costumes were very colourful. This year also marks the 30th and last show starring Kenneth Allen Taylor as the leading lady. Everyone knows the story and the jokes were as corny as ever. There was a bit of ad-libbing, as one of the actors appeared to have forgotten his lines, and Kenneth did a cod Frankie Howerd impression. I wasn't sure if it was genuine ad-libbing, or rehearsed. But it was very amusing all the same.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Melissa


Melissa is a stunning model that Gail & I had the pleasure of shooting back in Nov 2012.

Unfortunately she left the area earlier this year and now lives in New York with her partner.

Melissa has recently given birth to her first child, a little boy called Jose; named after his father. I hope she is enjoying her new life as a wife and mother, but I hope she doesn't give up the modelling, as she was a pleasure to work with.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Nearly The Witching Hour


This is of course the dome of the Council House in the Old Market Square.

Built in 1929, and designed by TC Howitt, it has been the centrepiece of Nottingham ever since.

I took this as you can see a little after 10pm. And just at that moment the clouds momentarily separate, to let the Moon show it's face for a little bit.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunset Boulevard


There was a spectacular sunset this afternoon, probably one of the best that I've ever seen.  I saw it by accident too, as I had just gone outside to put some rubbish in the bin.

One of the very few problems where I live is that it is quite built up, with houses all around, so I couldn't really take a decent shot of the sky without houses, telegraph poles etc being in the way. So I went upstairs to see what it was like from the loft window.

It would work if I stood on a box and balanced my camera on top of the open window, as the window was facing out in the wrong direction. It was a bit precarious, and I used my OMD in auto mode, which  is a bit embarrassing for a photographer like me who tends to use manual for most of the time. But needs must, and I think the photo has come out alright.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Minor Miracle


The was a wedding in Beeston this morning at the main church. I popped along to see what wedding car they would be using. If I was a female photographer, then I would probably be more interested in the wedding dress and the clothes of the guests, than the vehicles.

It was a surprise to see an old Morris Minor, or Moggy Minor from the 1950s as they are affectionally known.  And a cabriolet version too. Although it was a little cold to have the top down.

Due to all the roadworks etc that are going on in the area, it was difficult to try and get a good shot without poles, fencing, traffic cones etc getting in the way.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Smokestack On The Horizon


Cycling home from work tonight, I stopped on the bridge over the canal for a little while and took a couple of shots of the reflections in the water.

Incidentally the smoke you can see in the background, isn't from a ship, but the local council incinerator.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Lighting Up


Some of the Christmas lights along Chilwell High Road.

Simple fairy lights emitting a gentle blue hue. Very Christmassy I think.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Wonder Of Christmas


To boost trade for the shopkeepers and to remind people that the shops on Chilwell High Road still exist, the Beeston BID team put on a promotional evening tonight to attract people to the area.

Due to the ongoing tramworks, which has seen the road practically cut off from the rest of Beeston, the shops seem to have been neglected, and although the owners have received some compensation for loss of trade, it doesn't seem to have helped much.

I popped along to show some support and of course take some photos for the Beeston Bid team. There was some music in the shape of the ever ear pleasing Emma Bladen-Jones, a young blues singer and guitarist Joe Barber and another local musician called Jeanie Barton, who is a jazz singer. I knew her when she was a child, as I used to belong to the drama group that her parents ran.

There was also a hot chestnut seller and a hola hoop dancer who used hoops that lit up. They had also attached a snow machine to the stage which attracted these two boys to play with it. Oh I bet they wish it was real!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Boo!


A Minion from the Despicable Me films has been let loose and is running amuck in Nottingham's Christmas market.

I managed to get this snap, before he stuck his tongue out at me ands scampered off towards the ice rink.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Hello Ducky


This young lad looks very studious as he carefully tries to pick up a duck from one of the  stalls that made up a small funfair that visited Beeston as part of the Christmas lights celebrations.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Happiness


This is Gemma and her fiancee David.

We all went to a local beauty spot today where Gail and I took some photos of them at different locations around the park.

Despite the cold weather, we all had a great time and I think we got some good shots of the happy couple.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Pick Up A Penguin Or Two!


First Nottingham city centre had their Christmas lights switched on on Wednesday, so today it's Beeston's turn. The button was switched on at around 6pm.

The location has changed this year, as usually it is in the Square, but with all the tram works and devastation in the area, the celebrations have been moved to Broadgate Park.

In the mean time there were a few things to do and see in the park. One of the main attractions were some Humboldt penguins from a wildlife sanctuary.

The penguins real home is South America, so I don't think they minded the cold Beeston weather. They were attracting quite a bit of interest from the passers by; especially the children.

There were a few signs around saying don't stick your fingers in the enclosure, otherwise they might get bitten!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Back To The Future


I don't know about other photographers, but I seem to take a lots of pictures and some I don't do anything with, such as this one which I took back in November 2012, during an all day model shoot at a professional studio in Long Eaton.

I took several of her posing with a motorbike, and would have shared the better ones with her. But probably not this one, as it didn't work for me at the time, as you could only see a bit of the motorbike, and I wasn't that keen on the blue of the graffiti.

So now that I have some knowledge of how to use Lightroom, I though that I would have a play with it, and see if I could make it look a little different and more satisfying to look at. Firstly I cropped the motorbike out altogether by twisting the photo, which makes for a more pleasing angle. I then softened her skin a little, removed a couple of moles from her arm, and then converted it to black and white, but with some toning.

For someone more skilled in Lightroom than me, they would probably tweak it a bit more somehow. But I am quite happy with it now, and so thought I would share it with you.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gladness And Sadness


There is a mixture of happiness and sadness to todays post which are linked by this photo of a Ford Capri, which I took during the summer at a classic car show, held in Wollaton Park.

Ford of course is an American car company, and today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. So I would like to wish all my Stateside visitors a very happy day, for when family members meet up and eat the traditional turkey dinner.

For those growing up in the late 1970s, there was a great action/adventure series on TV called the Professionals. It starred Gordon Jackson, Lewis Collins and Martin Shaw as agents from an undercover police unit called CI5, who battled terrorists, criminals etc in no uncertain terms. Collins' character Bodie raced around the streets of London in of course a Ford Capri. Not a red one though. I think his was green.

Sadly it has been reported that Lewis died yesterday after a long fight with cancer. He apparently had given up acting after parts dried up several years ago. So he moved to California with his family and started a computer business.  Gordon Jackson died many years ago. Besides the character of Cowley, he is best remembered as Mr Hudson, the butler in the long running series Upstairs, Downstairs. Martin Shaw is still a successful actor on stage and TV, with his latest role is that of George Gently, a 1960s detective, based in the north of England.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sundowner


A simple shot today, the sun setting over the neighbours house.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Berry Nice


Gail & I are off work this week; taking it easy and doing a bit of sorting out of the many books, videos, CDs and nic naks that we have cluttering up the house.

This means that I don't get the opportunity of wandering around the city centre in my lunch hour looking for something to photograph.

So today's photo comes from our back garden, and the berries of our large pyrocanthia, or firethorn bush.

I expect to see some birds eating these in the next week or so. Probably pigeons, as we don't seem to get many sparrows in the garden these days. I don't think its completely down to the arrival of Oscar & Marmalade, as they don't chase birds, but probably more to do with the environmental changes or the weather.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Weeping Angel


I'm off work today and have been spending some of the day sorting out and backing up my vast photographic archive. It also gives me an chance to make some space on my hard drive.

As I've not been out today, here's one from my archive. An angel monument from the Rock Cemetery. To many people these days, will see it as a Weeping Angel from TVs Doctor Who, and may be a bit worried about walking through the area now, just in case one were to creep up on you without hearing anything, and zap, you're history!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

All Steamed Up




As many of you may know that besides photography, one of my other hobbies is drama. Sometimes I perform with a group run by a duo called Hanby & Barrett.

Due to my increase in photography work recently, I had to turn down the offer to be in their latest work called "Sparks Are Flying in Loco Town", a potted history of the railway in Netherfield; a small town a few miles east of Nottingham's city centre.


 Andy Barrett the writer took the intertwining lives of two families as a vehicle for the story; especially that of the sons, who join the local railway company at the same time; but things change when one goes to fight in WW1, whilst the other stays at home to drive the trains.


Quite a few of the people that I have appeared with in other productions, like Geoff above, were in this one, so it was great to catch up with them.

The production was great fun, as it moved to several different venues across Netherfield. The last scene took place outside at a local community centre, where they ingeniously 'built' a locomotive for the two friends to ride off into the sunset on.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Who Goes There?


1963 was a momentous year for several reasons; firstly I was born, Kennedy was assassinated and the longest running science fiction series in the world began; the one and only (or 12) Doctor Who.

Today marks his 50th birthday, as it was way back on November 23rd, that the UK tuned in to the BBC and the famous theme tune and swirly intro began for the first time.
A simple story of two nosy teachers who followed one of their pupils called Susan back to her home, as she seemed to know too much about things for the average teenager. And what was home, but a blue Police box standing inside a junk yard.

After meeting Susan's rather grumpy grandfather, they stumble inside this Police box, which for some reason appears to be bigger on the inside than the outside. And so begins the legend of the Tardis, and the Doctor flying around the universe, past, present and future, fighting Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, the Master and al kinds of madmen intent on world domination.

My introduction to the world of the Doctor began in about 1972, with Jon Pertwee. And I have been a fan ever since. I wonder if you can guess who is my favourite incarnation of the Timelord from my photo clues?

Yes of course it's Tom Baker. Doctor number 4 1974-1981.