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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Bunny Cuddles

Well the clocks went forward early this morning and what a difference it seems to have made to the weather. Yes it's still cold, but the sun actually shined today, and for more than ten minutes.

But we decided to stay in today and do a few jobs, instead of wandering off somewhere in the search of a photo or two. We might do that tomorrow, it being a Bank Holiday.

So what's been my task today? Well we are setting up our own studio in a spare bedroom, and yesterday, we pulled up the old carpet and underlay, and so today I have been trying to do something with the floorboards. They are in good condition, so I have been sanding the old varnish, paint and stuff off, then I am going to re-varnish them so they look quite presentable in a photograph when we start in ernest.

As we haven't been anywhere, here's a little Easter scene that I shot in the conservatory. The soft toy belongs to Gail, and the little sheep, which is actually the top of a pencil, was a present from a friend of mine who went to New Zealand on holiday a few years ago.

You might not be surprised that practically all those little chocolate Easter eggs have now been eaten!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Street Life

Work in Beeston on the new tram route is progressing, so much so that they have now closed the high road in Chilwell for a year. The problem is that the road is one of the major routes into Beeston, so some serious re-routing has had to take place. This means that many of the minor roads around Beeston, have suddenly become major ones. Even our quiet road has become a 'rat-run'.

And of course this closure is very worrying for the traders along there. They are concerned that there will be no business for them, as people stay away. Although the pavements are accessible at the moment.

So a friend of mine called Matt, recently thought up the idea of having a street party, so locals could see that the road is still open to them and what local businesses were there.

There was quite a bit of entertainment on offer, including the traditional seaside Punch & Judy show.

The Punch and Judy man wore a very colourful jacket, which aptly was covered in Easter bunnies. There was also some street entertainment in the form of a juggling unicyclist. He tried to teach me to juggle, but I wasn't very good.

A local radio station; Capital FM, gave away lots of little Easter Eggs. I managed to get two, one of which was for Gail.

And of course there was music. A couple of bands and this delightful folk singer called Emma Bladen-Jones.  Who writes her own songs. She entered into last year's Notts Factor, and although she didn't win, it was a great opportunity to promote both herself and her songs.

All in all, it was a good day. Longterm, I hope it has helped to make everyone aware of the diversity of shops that are there, which include  several cafes, a great bike shop, tasty fish and chips and a good hairdressers. In fact you can just about buy anything you might need along there; including a tattoo.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Seventh Heaven

Well the big day has arrived, Nottingham Daily Photo is now seven years old.

It's been a bit of a struggle at times; either looking for something to take a photo of, or finding the time to write up an entry.

Today has been difficult too, as the continuing cold and dull weather doesn't help. So I've been thinking of what I could put on.  My favourite sweets at the moment are called 'Sprogs'; the jelly ones that you find in Liquorice Allsorts. So I got seven pink ones and seven blue ones and made up this giant figure '7'.

I took this photo with my Olympus OMD and 45mm lens. How things have changed, as my first camera was a Canon AS420 'point and shoot'. I then upgraded to a Panasonic bridge camera; then a Nikon D90. I have also got a Nikon D3s, but tend to use the OMD; probably because it's a lot lighter and the tilt screen is wonderful.

I've never really specialised in a type or style of photography. Last year Gail and I started shooting models. I found it difficult to start with in talking with the models, but have slowly progressed, so I enjoy it now, and think it's time to do some more.

Over 2400 photos later and here we are. Hopefully my standard of photography has improved over the last seven years. Maybe if you have some spare time, go and have a look through some of the entries and see if you agree.

So what does the future hold in store? Hopefully my photography will continue to improve and that I'll continue to shoot interesting events, models and possibly start to earn a bit of money from it, as it can be an expensive hobby at times; with new lenses to buy etc. Hopefully you'll all stick around to see what unfolds.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Snowly Going

Although we've had no more snow since last weekend, it is still hanging around. Refusing to budge, as the day temperature barely passed the 2 degree mark.

Nottingham seems to have gone into a state of suspended animation at the moment, as there doesn't seem to be a lot happening. So here's a bit of an arty shot from Highfields.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Are Friends Electric?

Here's one of my arty shots that I like to create every so often; as the mood takes me, or think the scene would make a good one.

This one for instance. The keyboard player from the Disco Prophets. I decided to focus in on the keyboard itself, rather than the musician. Partly because I find it more interesting, and partly because it was quite a crowded stage and I counldn't get a clear view of him.

Also I like keyboards and synths. Not that I can play one. I did try once and could just about play the theme tune to Wallace & Gromit; but very slowly. I do enjoy the sounds that they make. Some keyboard wizards that I like are Vangelis, Rick Wakeman, Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. Kraftwerk are OK too, but prefer the more melodic stuff from their German counterparts.

To hear what I mean, here's a one of TD's shorter melodies; as a lot of their tunes cover one side of an album. This one is from the crime movie Thief, which starred James Caan.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Dancing The Night Away

This is local band The Disco Propets who we went to photograph at an awards ceremony at a local hotel.

The awards were for foster parents which had been organised by Nottingham City Council, and the Disco Prophets were providing the entertainment. I know the group's leader, and he asked me if I could come along to take some photos, as Rupert has big plans for the group this year.

The band had changed a bit since we last saw them at a gig last summer. They had lost a female singer, gained a keyboardist and swopped a saxophonist. They had also been lent a percussionist. But they still had that great 1970s disco sound.

Lots of the audience got up to dance along to the tunes and the conference room had turned into Studio 54. So it was Boogie Nights all the way until late in the evening.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Frozen Stiff

Another cold day, but no snow. Which I guess is a bonus, compared to other parts of the country.

I've thought about taking the Robin Hood statue with my fisheye lens for a little while now, and so I thought today would be a good opportunity. Especially if there was still some snow lying around.

It was a bit of a struggle getting up to the statue, as it was still quite icy in places. I tried taking photos of Robin in various positions. I have put an odd angled one on Twitter, but here's a more traditional one for your delectation

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Cat On A Hot Tin Radiator

A bit more snow today, so I didn't bother going out, as I had a few jobs to do around the house.

So here's a shot from yesterday of Marmalade, who had made himself comfortable on top of the radiator in the conservatory.

But don't worry, the radiator wasn't on very high. But then I don't suppose Marmalade would be laid there if it was.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Winter Shade Of Pale

Who would have thought it? I woke up this morning and saw that our back garden looked like this. It's hard to imagine that yesterday's photo was taken about the same time last year. What a difference.

It was strange, slushy snow, not the normal dense stuff that makes for good sledging and firm snowmen.  It also seemed to be thawing too, and the roads were very slushy as I cycled into Beeston.

I don't know if it was my imagination, but I seem to have been coming across Christmas references all day long. It first started this morning on Facebook, when a friend had posted a photo of Santa fighting with the Easter bunny. Then I heard the Spice Girls song "When 2 Become 1" in a shop that I was in, that was number one in the charts during December 1996. Then there was a fake Christmas tree that was for sale in a charity shop.

Some parts of the country have had it worse than us, but tomorrow is going to be bad, as all the slushy snow turns to ice during a very cold night tonight. I don't think that I'll be going anywhere.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Ice, Ice Baby

I am presently going through all my photos on iPhoto and deleting lots, as it's something I should have done ages ago.

I took this photo more or less a year ago. What a difference to today, with icy winds and snow showers. There's certainly no blossom on the trees in Highfields at the moment, and with the bad weather that's expected over the next few days, they are unlikely to sprout the little white flowers for a while.

It's the new born lambs and Easter chicks that I feel sorry for, as it's going to be very difficult for them. I know the farmers will do their best, but of course they will be struggling too with the poor weather conditions.

Who knows how long this spell is going last, but I don't know about you, but I'm a bit fed up with it now, as winter seems to have lasted forever.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Paper Tiger

I had to go to London today for work. Unfortunately time was tight, so I didn't get the opportunity of doing any sightseeing.

As I walked through St Pancras Station I saw this tiger, but didn't have time to stop and see what it was promoting. But there was a little time before the return journey, so I stopped to take a photo or two.

As most people should know, the number of tigers, like many other wild animals are on the wane due to poaching, hunting and environmental problems.

The tiger, like the panda has become a symbol of these concerns as numbers are dwindling fast.  This tiger has been made from recycled materials and is available for sale through an auction site.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of people walking through the station concourse, so I didn't manage manage to take as good photo as I would have liked. But at least you can see how well made the tiger is and the stand made from hundreds of crushed aluminium drink cans.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Dancing The Night Away

The Old Dance School are a Birmingham based folk group that Gail and I went to see tonight at a venue that we'd not been to before.

Well, when I say not been to before, I'm not being completely honest, as we have been to the Lakeside Arts Centre in Highfields many times, but we have never been to their theatre. So it was a first tonight.

I happen to be thumbing through their brochure at the weekend, as I was having a bit of a sort out, and saw the advert for the concert. As I had never heard of the band before, I had a look to see if there was anything about them on YouTube. And of course there was. Some videos of their shows and promotional stuff. So I played a few tracks.

Gail said that she liked what she was hearing, so I said that they were here on Wednesday & did she want to go. "Why not" she replied, so I had a look on the Lakeside's website, to see if there were any tickets left. There were, so I booked two for the second row.

When we got there, one of the ushers showed us to our seats. Shen then noticed that there were two empty ones on the front row. "Do you want to sit here" she enquired. OK, thanks, we replied. And so settled in ready for the show to begin.

They were very good too. There is seven in the band, including a guy called Aaron who played the trumpet. Which to be honest, did spoil some of the songs, as it sounded a bit out of place. The two fiddle players Helen & Samantha were wonderful, so too was Laura who was on woodwind and vocals. She also chatted to the audience, and amusingly told us that she had opened a shop selling band CDs and tee shirts at bargain prices. The rest of the band; Tom the drummer, Adam on double bass and Robin the lead singer and guitarist really helped to gel the group together and made for a very enjoyable evening.

Here's a LINK to their website, so you can see and hear for yourself.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Working Party

As I haven't visited the site of the former Odeon cinema for sometime, I thought I would pay a visit this lunchtime and see if there had been any developments.

So I popped up to my usual spot and fired off a few shots.

I like this one the most, as it shows quite a few of the construction workers busy doing what they know best.

There are a couple of tall cranes on the site, but I was at the wrong height to capture them.

Monday, 18 March 2013

A Touch Of Summer

The start of another week, and a cold, dull one at that. I don't know what it is with the poor weather at the moment, but it just seems to be going on for ever.

So I've haven't really got any new shots to show you. I certainly didn't take anything today. So here's a photograph that I took at Portmeirion, late last month.

I love the muted colours of this building, which incidentally was Number Two's house in the Prisoner, but in real life is an art gallery. Although closed when we were there.

Looking at this picture, you would think that you were in southern Europe, rather than north west Wales.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

A Picture Paints A Thousand Words

This is a close up of the replica of the Rosetta Stone, which is on show in the British Museum.

According to Wikipedia "the Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Because it presents essentially the same text in all three scripts (with some minor differences between them), it provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

All good stuff, and it was getting a lot of attention from the visitors to the museum.  So it took me a little while to take this photo. I deliberately wanted to show just a section of the text, rather than the whole thing, as I think it makes for a better photo, especially with the shallow depth of field that I used.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Lion's Made

I'll try and make this my last 'fisheye' photo for a while, but it's just a great lens to use. And what fun too. So much so, that I can't stop taking it out with me!

This one is of the 'right lion' which stands in the Old Market Square. Unfortunately he isn't as popular as the 'left lion'; who is traditionally used as the place where people meet.

Apparently he does have a name.though.  Oscar Agamemnon, and he is on Twitter, if you fancy following him. Although he has been a little quiet recently. So go and wake him up.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Stairway By Heaven

This are the escalators into the Broad Marsh shopping centre. Yes, it's another fisheye picture. And yes, they are my feet.

The entrance is off Middle Pavement, and before the shopping centre was built, there was a narrow hilly lane called Drury Hill, that from the old photos that I've seen had shops on it and it was very photogenic; a bit like The Shambles in York.

But it all disappeared in the late 1960s when they started constructing Broad Marsh. The shopping centre is meant to be having a multimillion pound facelift, as it is looking rather tired, and several of the empty shops are boarded up. Plans keep being announced, but nothing has really started yet.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bridge Of Size

Yep, here's another fisheye photo. Have you had enough yet?

I took this whilst cycling home from work, as I was drawn to the late afternoon sun shining and reflecting off a building. So I thought I would stop and take a photo or two. Especially as the path makes for a good leading line to the bridge.

You may notice a little dusting of snow near the grass and trees.  Yes we did have another little session. I wonder if it will ever come to an end and we get some decent warm and dry weather.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Horse Power

Besides going to the British Museum yesterday, I also had a stroll along some of the nearby streets. Just to see what and who I could find.

Alas I didn't bump into anyone famous, but I did come across the rather splendid Lamborghini. There was of course several envious glances and a lot of interest in it from the passers by, so it took me a little while to get the shot I wanted.

Hope you like it.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Down South, London Town

A special day today, as I and several of my friends set off for London in a coach to perform a edited version of the Raleigh play that we performed last summer.

The organisation that provided the funding for it, the Arts and Communities Research Council, wanted to know how their money was spent. So instead of Andy and Julian the writer and director explaining what they did, they decided to show them instead. As this was the better way of doing it.

We all had to meet at the Jubilee Campus by 7.30am, to catch the coach. Usually I am not even up at this time, so it was a real shock for me. It was light, so that was something. The journey down went OK, and we were in central London by 11am.

We performed at about 1pm, and the show was very well received. We then had to dismantle the set ready for the next group. It didn't take too long.  Julian then asked us all what we wanted to do before the drinks reception at six. Some of the ladies wanted to go shopping (surprise, surprise) while the others (me included) wanted to go to the British Museum.

I had never been before, so I was quite excited at seeing all the artefacts and the building itself, which has had a new glass roof installed. I had seen a few photos on Flickr, but of course, I wanted to take some myself.

As you can see it's quite something. The old library used to be separate from the museum, but with the roof and the creation of the Great Court, it has become a brilliant, light space, complete with the obligatory shop and cafe.

Talking of cafes, I couldn't resist taking a shot of this replica van that had been kitted out as a mobile coffee shop.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Day One

Well the first day in my new job passed fairly well. I cycled in with a slightly heavy heart, as I wasn't going to my old job and to see all my friends anymore.

The day didn't start that good either, as it had been snowing during the night, and it was very, very cold. It took me ages to get to town as the wind was blowing against me all the way. There were a couple of heavy blizzards during the morning, but it had melted by the time I took this photo of the place where I am now employed.

I have to look to the future now and my new life in a different job. I am hoping that it works out well for me and I have as just an enjoyable time as I had before.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Who Two

Another very dull, cold and generally horrible day. In fact we've had a sprinkling of snow. Hardly the beginnings of spring.

So I have been wondering what to put on today. Another photo from Portmeirion maybe, or one of my glamour models perhaps?

Well here's a model of a different kind. A model of a Porsche Boxster, that I thought would make some ideal new wheels for Matt Smith's incarnation of the Doctor, as I think he would look a bit out of place driving Bessie; the Doctor's souped up veteran car.

He definitely needs something a little more sporty these days as he chases the baddies around the country. Although I'm not sure whether the sports car could outrun a flying Dalek though.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

A Helpful Bus Ride

Beeston this morning, and I saw this bus parked in The Square. The inside had been converted into a sort of office where people could find out about what help is available for those that look after other people.

I wonder what bus company used to own and operate this vehicle? Presumably it would be a local one. Shame that it's been painted white, otherwise there might be a clue somewhere on the body.

Friday, 8 March 2013

A Folding Classic

I had a surprise in the post today. A small package arrived with my name on it. It was quite heavy too.  Strange thing was, I wasn't expecting anything. I had not ordered anything, or bid for anything off Ebay. So I was a bit mystified as to what it could be. A late birthday gift perhaps?

Mind you, Gail had mentioned something earlier in the week, that she had got me something that she didn't know whether I would like it or not. So could this be it?

It was well sealed up, so it took me a little while to undo the box. Gail was watching me whilst I opened it. I felt inside. Something metallic. I put my hand in and pulled out a black box.  What Is it I asked. Gail just smiled.

I then realised that it was an old fashioned camera, as the bellowed lens popped out. Gail said that it did work, but she thought it could be used as a prop on a photoshoot.

At the moment, I have a book from the library all about old cameras. So I had a look to see if I could find it. Yes, it was there. Page 26, a Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515 from 1937.  It takes 120 film. So I will have to see if I can buy some and see if it works or not. I'll post some if it does.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


Today is World Book Day. A global celebration of literature and reading.

As I am not reading a book or novel at the moment; it's script learning time again, I'm showing the cover of a novel that I used to love as a child. Probably everybody since the 1950s I think has read one of the Moomin books.

If you're one of the few that haven't, the Moomin's could be vaguely described as white hippopotamuses.  They were the creation of Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson. The hero is called Moomintroll and he has a best friend called Sniff.

They had many adventures and met a lot of strange creatures. To give you an idea of what some of the characters look like, here's a clip from YOU TUBE, of an animated series from the 1970s, that I used to watch.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

It Just Clicked

As Gail and I are still off work, we decided to return to the NEC in Birmingham for the last day of Focus on Imaging; the annual photography trade show, where you could see and try all the latest cameras, lenses and other photographical gadgets.

We thought we would sit in on a few of the seminars, talks and demonstrations today, instead of trying not to spend any money.

Firstly we listened to professional photographer Damian Lovegrove who demonstrated some lighting techniques and what difference just moving a light a little bit can make.

We then went to see another 'top tog' called Stuart Wood, who has shot a lot of TV personalities for magazine covers. He gave a very inspirational talk about his photos and how he achieved them. He is well known for only taking a couple of minutes to shoot a star, which is sometimes all the time he is allowed.

We of course had to look in on the Olympus stand, as we both have an OMD. We noticed that they had some different lenses to try out. So of course we had to test them. I took this one of the OMD promotions girl with a 75mm f1.8.  The lighting conditions weren't perfect, but it was a lovely lens to use. So much so, that we just had to order one.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Like A Circle Within A Spiral

I had to pop down to the Jubilee Campus of the university tonight, as we had a drama rehearsal.

You may remember last summer I was involved in a community play about Raleigh bikes, well we have been invited to London to do it in front of some people that were involved in providing the money so it could go on.

So we all have a trip to London next Tuesday for the day. It will be a long day, as it's a 3 hour journey to central London, as we will be based very close to the British Museum. And as a treat, Julian our director, says that we can have a look round after the performance. This will be good, as I have never been. A real photographic outing.

Anyway, after the rehearsal, I had a wander round the campus with my camera and fisheye lens, looking for some scenes to snap. I thought that one of the spiral staircases might make a suitable subject. It was difficult to get the camera in the best position, and to be honest, I'm not sure whether I've succeeded here or not. But it does show you the sort of photo that the 7.5mm lens can take.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Sleeping Beauty

Oscar asleep. Something he really likes to do; when he's not eating of course.

But who can blame him. When you don't have to go to work, cook dinner, dig the garden or all the other jobs that people have to do, what's better than taking a nap.

It's certainly something that both Oscar and Marmalade are good at. And it least they are quiet and you know that they are safe.                                                                                                                                

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Goodies, And More Goodies

Gail and I popped over to the NEC in Birmingham for the annual photographic extravaganza that is Focus on Imaging.

This is the third year that we have been. Last year my brother from Australia came with us, as he was over here on holiday at the time, so he was fortunate with the timing, as he enjoys photography himself.

As we are mainly using our Olympus OMD's at the moment, I had a couple of lenses on my shopping list that I wanted to try out.

The first was the Sigma 30mm f2.8. I am after a general purpose everyday lens, and this one just about matches the 'nifty fifty' prime lens that every photographer should own. And a bargain too at £95.

The other is a bit more exotic and fun; the Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fish eye.  I was keen to try it, as another photographer that I am in contact with on Facebook, and is also an OMD user, has one and has been putting up some very nice examples of what it can do without the photos looking too silly.

There was a Samyang stand at the show, where you could try the lenses out. So of course I popped the one made for Micro Four Thirds cameras and gave it a quick go. As you can see it gives a slightly distorted view of the world.

I was quite impressed with it, so decided to spend my birthday money on one. So you can expect to see some weird and wonderful views of Nottingham in the near future.

Saturday, 2 March 2013


As it was warm and sunny this afternoon, I went out to the front garden and started to tidy it up and begin a job that I meaning to start for a while now.

At the moment, it has an open front, but I have been wanting to build a low wall, but have never motivated myself enough to start it. I have acquired what I think will be enough stone to do it with; I just needed that first push to get going. And so I guess the sunshine was the spurt I required.

So I got to work removing dead plants, pruning and clearing away the general rubbish that builds up in a garden. I then dug out a shallow trench, as I haven't worked out yet how I am going to put this wall together yet. But do know that I do need to give it a solid base of some kind.

I stayed out as long as possible before the light began to fade and it got quite chilly. I did manage to last till gone half six, which is good, as this means that the light nights are getting closer and closer. I think there's only another two weeks before the clocks go on, and we can all enjoy coming home in the light.

Feeling my back hurting a little bit from the exercise, I sat down, switched on the TV and found that an episode of Dad's Army was on. I had also treated myself to a real ale this morning, and so I decided to have it whilst watching one of my favourite comedy shows.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi

Today is St David's Day, the patron saint of Wales. And to celebrate that fact, here is a shot of Portmeirion and flying the Welsh national flag; the Baner Cymru or Y Ddraig Goch, which translated becomes 'The Red Dragon'. Incidentally the name given to many an English pub!

I hope everyone who is Welsh has had a good day, even though, like in England, it is not classed as a public holiday.  Personally I think all saint's days should be given a bank holiday status, as we don't get enough public holidays compared to other European countries.