Header Photo

Header Photo

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

i-phone photography

Besides taking photos almost everyday with my wonderful Olympus OMD, I take photos with my mobile phone, especially if I am wanting to put something on Twitter.

Here's a small selection of some of my pictures, after I downloaded them from my phone and into Lightroom. By the way the effects are on my phone and not part of Lightroom.

The top picture is of The Castle pub and Fothergills restaurant, that are situated opposite the castle.

I came across this bottle of sauce at a local restaurant called Las Iguanas. I went there the other day for a goodbye lunch for a couple of people that were leaving the place that I used to work at.

I took this photo for a 'where is it' quiz on Twitter. Most people thought it was near the canal. But it is in fact close to the Broad Marsh shopping centre.

And finally here's a shot of the path that runs down the side of St Mary's Church in the Lace Market. I've tried to give the photo a vintage look, as the area is full of Victorian buildings.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tiny Tuesday

I had a another go at a macro shot this evening. Gail was in the garden and noticed that there was a snail near the top of some hedge in the garden. She was amazed that it had managed to climb nearly six foot. And only a little thing too.

I tried taking a shot of it hanging from a leaf, but it didn't look right. So I gently lifted him off the leaf and popped him down onto one of the bigger leaves of the bay tree, and then waited a few moments before he started to pop his head out of his shell. And there you go.

If you are wondering, I took the photo with the Olympus 12-50mm lens, set in the secret macro mode.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Standing Room Only

I bumped into Lee, a photographer friend of mine at lunchtime. He was in the Old Market Square, publicising not photography, but his newest business venture; 'meet the cast' events.

He's done a number of them now; including This is England and Red Dwarf. And they appear to be very popular, as they have been sell outs.

Lee's latest one, which takes place in September is for the TV series Game of Thrones. It's a series that I have never seen, probably because it's on a satellite channel, and we don't watch enough TV to make it worthwhile subscribing.

Lee was handing out flyers for it, whilst his brother here posed as one of the characters.

Apparently the show is very popular, so if you fancy popping along to meet some of the cast members, here's a WEBLINK to Lees Facebook page, where you can get the full details. But be quick, as it's very likely to be a sell out very soon.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

The Cat With Eight Lives Left

I heard a rather sad story today while I was up at Beauvale Priory, giving guided tours whilst dressed up as a monk.

It concerns this little kitten, and a black one that were happily sitting in cage together. Anne the farmers wife said that the owner was going to drown them, as he didn't want them. But she managed to rescue them before they met their fate. Anne said that she had found the black one a new home, but this little mite was still homeless.

Anne continued to say that they she couldn't keep him, as obviously on a farm he would keep chasing the chickens that roam freely around the place.

He's so adorable, just like a tiny version of Oscar. If we didn't have two cats already, I would be tempted to adopt him.

It's upsetting to know that someone decided that this little cat had no value and was not therefore entitled to lead a life. How cruel and heartless is that.

What should have happened of course is that the kitten's father should have been taken to the vet for a little op so that there's no opportunity for unwanted kittens.

But now that he is here, I hope that he finds a loving home soon, and is looked after as part of someone's family.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Song, Some Rain And The Beatles

Gail and I have had quite a hectic Saturday afternoon. Firstly we went to see a production of Stephen Sondheim's musical Sweeney Todd at the Lakeside Arts Centre, as I was fortunate enough to win two tickets through a competition on Twitter.

It was very good, and the quality of the singing was excellent, even though I don't believe any of the cast were professionals, as there was an open audition advertised on Facebook some months ago, that anyone could go to. A shame that I can't sing, otherwise I might have been tempted to have a go.

I think that everyone knows the story about the barber who kills some of his customers, and their bodies end up in the meat pies that his girlfriend sells. I'm not sure if the musical version is as well known as say Cats, or Blood Brothers, even though it was created in 1979. Maybe because there aren't any famous songs in it, like 'Memories' or Don't Cry For Me Argentina.

After that, we went up to the Arboretum, to catch the tail end of the Gay Pride festival.  It had been going on all day, so we had missed the march, music and attractions. But we thought it would still be going, and people would still be enjoying themselves.

We hadn't been there long before it started to rain. As it was taking place in a park, there were plenty of trees about, so everyone scuttled for cover. This young lady fortunately had an umbrella with her, so she was still able to continue with her phone call.

Whilst we were undercover, we started chatting to some others, and of course we just had to take some photos of them. There were still plenty of people walking after the rain had stopped, so we continued looking for things and people to take.

This special bunting caught my eye, and yes I agree that there shouldn't be any discrimination when people are in love and want to get married, and I think the law is beginning to catch up with the 21st century.

This painting on the back of an ice cream van amused me. Obviously a spoof of the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover. I'm not sure whether the artist has chosen the right characters for the musicians though. I can't see John as Winnie the Pooh. He's definitely Donald Duck. Archaic and rebellious. George would have been better as the teddy bear. Quiet and philosophical.  and I think Ringo would be more suitable as Pluto, as he likes messing around. And so that leaves Paul as Mickey, which ties in with him being the most popular Beatle, just as Mickey is the most favoured Disney character.

Friday, 26 July 2013

You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Ears

I went up to Beauvale Priory this evening for the last rehearsal before the open day on Sunday.

We picked up and put on our costumes and had a go around the ruined priory. It has been a lovely evening, with the sun still shining, and of course it was warm.

Julian the director said that I wasn't needed for about 10 minutes, so I went for a quick walk around the farm, to see what I could find.

There were loads of chickens and their babies running around, but my attention was drawn to a lamb who was munching some grass.

He looked up and saw me coming towards him. I think he knew that I was going to take his photo, so he decided to stick his tongue out at me. Cheeky thing!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A Touch Of Pink

I know these plants are weeds, but I like the delicate pink colour of the flowers. I saw them as I was cycling through Highfields, and so thought I would stop to take some shots.

The building you can see at the back is part of the university. I tried to take a photo with the clock tower in the distance, but just couldn't get the right angle, unless I were to lay on my belly, and take it from the ground up. But as I was wearing some good trousers, it was out of the question.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Slow Bus To Nottingham

Whilst in the Old Market Square an old omnibus appeared outside the Council House ladened with lollipop ladies.

I also saw a photographer friend of mine who was taking photos of the event. I was about to ask her what it was about, but she had disappeared inside the building. The next time I saw her, she was on the balcony, taking aerial shots of the scene below.

You can see the lollipop ladies posing for Tracey and her Nikon.

I don't know what it is in aid of. I've sent a message to Tracey, so there might be a P.S tomorrow. My guess is that it's to celebrate 100 years of the lollipop service.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Two Towers

My monthly visit to London today, and I was wondering if there was going to be rain, rain, rain, like last night. There was certainly some when we were travelling through Loughborough.

But I needn't have worried, as London was sunny and warm. In fact I wish that I had my shorts on, as my legs got quite warm walking down the Euston Road.

I was pleased in the afternoon as the meeting had finished a little earlier, and as I had a fixed time rail ticket, I had a bit extra time to go exploring. One place that I have wanted to visit was the base of the Post Office Tower. Just to see what it was like.

Besides the 20mm lens that I had on my OMD, I had also taken my 'fisheye' lens. Just because... So when I reached the tower, I  put it on to see what effect it would have, as the best point of view of the tower was down a little side street. And I must say that I am quite pleased with it. And it looks a natural for black and white.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Riders On The Storm

I was wondering what to put on today for a photograph and comment, as I've been a little stuck for an idea.

But help arrived in the form of the biggest, wettest storm Beeston has witnessed in many a year.

I had gone to the Monday film club alone, as Gail was a little tired after our visit to Donington Park yesterday. But I didn't stay to see the main feature, as it was going to be an Asian horror film, and it's not a genre that I care for much. So I returned home. Just as well, as a little while later the heavens opened.

There was plenty of lightning too, but unfortunately we are in a bit of a built up area, so could just see the effect, not the cause.  So instead I had to make do with a shot of the ever darkening sky.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Models And Motors

Gail and I have just spent an exciting day at Donington Park shooting models and motors, separately and of course together.

There were plenty of Ford cars on show, as it was geared towards Ford owners, but there were others, like these Caterham 7's, waiting for the checkered flag.

I came across a message on Facebook for asking for 'togs' and models to walk around and interact with people who were there.

Here's Lucy posing with a Ford Escort from the 1970s. The weather wasn't brilliant, and it did rain a little bit, but not enough to deter us for enjoying the day.

Donington Park is close to the East Midlands Airport. So every so often jets would scream overhead, either taking off or landing; just like this Ryanair Boeing 737.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Trial And Error

I recently ordered a new lens for my OMD, and it came yesterday. It's a fixed f8, 15mm. Very small. In fact it looks like a lens cap. So I popped it on this morning and took it to Beeston with me for a trial run.

Although it was very warm still, the sun had disappeared, and was cloudy.  Not ideal f8 conditions. So I cranked the ISO up a little bit to compensate.

Unfortunately there wasn't any events on today, so I just went for a stroll up and down the High Road, randomly shooting from the hip, just to see what sort of photos would turn up.

Most of them were rubbish, but I quite like this one. Fairly sharp, and at a jaunty angle. Just a shame that the lad in the middle is obscured by the tree. But it all adds to the fun of not looking through the viewfinder. I also like the gaze of the guy who was reading a travel brochure. He just seemed to look up as I was walking by. But I don't think he had suspected that I had taken his photo. Such is the beauty of the little lens.

Friday, 19 July 2013

That Rivera Touch

The famous or infamous, Nottingham by the Sea opened today for the next six weeks or so, while the kids are on their summer break.

This is the yearly, free extravaganza designed for people that either don't want, or can't afford to go away on holiday. So the holiday comes to them. There's a sandy beach to build sandcastles on, a paddling pool and some rides; together with some pier style slot machines and a bar.

I have to say that this years looks better than the last one. They have introduced a few new attractions, like this pirate ship swing, which I am tempted to have a go on, depending on how much it costs. There is also a  model of a shark hung upside down, so people can stick their heads inside the open jaw, like they were in the well known Spielberg film of the same name.

I sadly missed the opening, as I had lunch with some old workmates, two of which are leaving today. Unfortunately one couldn't actually make it, as the office had had a power cut, and she had to stay to help sort it all out.

I will have a closer look round it on Monday, when I  have more time to stroll about with my camera. Just hope it stays sunny, as its been a glorious, cloudless blue sky today.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Unlucky Severns

I've shown you Severns House a few times since I started this blog, but this is the first time that I have taken it with an iPhone.

The building used to house the lace museum, but it sadly closed a couple of years ago.

I do believe that you can rent it off the city council, but up to now there has been no takers.

So for now it stands forsaken. A passing moment for the tourist camera.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


As much as I realise that I have to work to pay my way through life, and to afford the odd treat now and then, I do get annoyed that I have to drag myself to the office everyday, when I could be doing something much more interesting.

Today has been such an example. As while I was typing away on the computer, a whole host of famous thespians were in Beeston to unveil a plaque in the memory of the much missed actor Richard Beckinsale, who lived in the area as a child.

As the plaque says, Richard's two most famous and well loved roles were that of Lennie Godber in the prison comedy Porridge, and Alan, the long haired student in Rising Damp.

His actress daughter Kate Beckinsale, Kate's mother Judy Loe, who is also an actress, Little Britain's David Walliams and Michael Sheen, another actor who has played local football legend Brian Clough and Carry On comedy star Kenneth Williams in films also turned up.

My friend Matt, who runs the Beeston Film Club managed to get an invitation to the unveiling at the local school and to meet the stars. He has posted his insight on his blog LINK and will no doubt be writing an article for the next issue of his great magazine The Beestonian. If you want to have a look at what the Beestionian's all about, here's a LINK to that too.

A great shame that Richard died at only 31. He would be 65 now. I wonder what sort of acting and parts he would have done now.

Here's a clip from Porridge, so you can remember just what he was like:


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Mystery Couple Number One

I popped into Fopp today to see if they had the 'Nuts in May' DVD on sale, as someone I work with likes camping, and so I told her about the fantastic Mike Leigh film with Keith and Candice Marie, as they set up camp in Dorset. Unfortunately they didn't have it in stock. They had the other Leigh masterpiece 'Abigail's Party' in though.

As I was walking down Queen Street, I noticed these two being photographed by who I took to be a professional. especially as he had an assistant with him.

I have no idea who they are, or why they were being photographed. Of course I had to 'papp' them, just in case they turn out to be well known somewhere down the line. Unfortunately I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to work, otherwise I would have got chatting to the 'tog'.

Monday, 15 July 2013

The River Doesn't Run Through It

This is part of the lake in Highfields, and should be full of water, but for some reason it is bone dry.

The rocks you can see are meant to be stepping stones. But now it seems that you can walk anywhere.

I'm not entirely sure where all the water has gone. I mean it's not exactly been a red hot summer yet.

Hopefully whatever is the cause of the water shortage, will be sorted out, and people will be able to walk across the pools of water.

You never know, they may even manage to sort out the waterfall!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Never Too Young For Rock And Roll

I know there's sadly controversy these days about photographing children in public, due to a few people spoiling it for others, but I just couldn't resist taking a shot of this rock god of the future.

Did John Bon Jovi's dad dress him like this when he was little I wonder, or Bryan Adams'? Either way, I'm sure this 'little dude' was having a great time at Beeston's carnival.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Carnival Capers

A glorious hot and sunny day today, as Beeston celebrates with it's yearly carnival.

It started in the morning with an exercise demonstration, some singing and a fashion show. Then at 1pm, the parade started from the Town Hall to Broadgate Park.

As the route is pedestrianised there were sadly no floats, only people walking in groups from different organisations, like this 'royal party' from a local nursing home.

Although there are no floats, for some reason they do allow the annual fire engine pull, so I'm sure they could allow a few decorated flatbeds along the High Road.

When everyone reached Broadgate Park, the festivities began with some bands, a music workshop that was organised by Oxfam, a few classic cars and some demonstrations. There were of course the usual bric a brac, food and information stalls. I had had a look in the morning and picked up a DVD I wanted for £1. So I was a happy man. Just need to get around to watching it now.

I entered the 'name this bear' competition with Bertie. I wonder if I will win. He's a cute little fellow, and so would look great on my desk.

There were several music acts on in the afternoon. And all were very good. I was very pleased to see Emma Bladon-Jones do a set for about half an hour. Emma said that she had just got back from Derby, where she had done two gigs and some busking. Emma also mentioned that she was playing at a local pub later tonight. So guess where Gail and I will be going later on!

Friday, 12 July 2013

The Bridge Arriving At Platform One

Here's a shot of the new bridge that is slowly being constructed over Nottingham's railway station. It is for the new tram line and will join up with the existing tram stop, which you can see in the distance.

The railway station is going to be closing at the end of July for a whole month, as it is presently being renovated and they will be installing some new signals etc.  Buses are going to be laid on to take passengers to the Parkway station, where I was stuck there for a while last month. Here's a LINK to the story, if you want to read more.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

All Wrapped Up

Here's Nottingham Railway Station all wrapped and sealed up whilst construction workers turn this Victorian building into the new transport hub of the future.

Well that what it says on the publicity blurb. But I hope they don't destroy too much of this beloved and highly decorative building.

I'm not sure how long people will have to use the alternative routes onto the platforms. I do know that the whole station is closing for a month from this weekend.  Which will be fun for the passengers.

It will certainly be interesting to see what the building looks like when the scaffolding comes down. I will of course if possible, pop down and see the reopening ceremony, if they have one.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Fish Fingers And Custard

Fish fingers and custard may be one of the Doctor's favourite meals; besides jelly babies of course, but I don't think too many people will try making that particular dish themselves, even if they use items from Lakeland's new range of Dalek and TARDIS cookware.

I spotted this rather eye-catching display in their window at our local branch on Wheelergate today. I bet there's many a Doctor Who fan would love to have that TARDIS display stand to keep, and I reckon quite a few people have been in enquiring whether they could put their name on it.

It's actually something that I used to do when I was younger. Sometimes they would say yes, and other times they would say no. Although sometimes when they said no, they did explain that the item was going to go to the children's ward at the local hospital. So i didn't mind.

If you are interested in seeing what the full range of cookware items looks like, then here is a LINK to the Lakeland website.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Close Shave

I was up at Beauvale Priory this evening to do some rehearsals, as part of the Eastwood Festival.

I am once again going to be dressing up as a monk and giving guided tours of the former Carthusian monastery.

There was a bit of fun going on when I got there. A load of sheep had escaped as they were being rounded up for sheering. The farmhands and some of my fellow actors were running around a field and waving their arms about, in trying to get the sheep to go into a pen. I was disappointed in a way that I arrived too late to help.

So when the fun was over, we got down to some work, while the farm workers could get on with theirs.

After we had finished the rehearsal, I grabbed my OMD and was lucky enough to capture the last sheep of the night getting their regimental short back and sides for the summer.

There were quite a few sheep still to be done. But the shearer opened the pen gate and let them out. It was like a stampede as they all ran out and up the field to be out of the way.

Yes, you looking sheepish, don't worry, you have a date with the barber tomorrow.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Two Legends For The Price Of One

Beer appears to be the subject of today's blog post.

First a famous local beer is once again being made by a local brewery. 'Shippo's' or Shipstone's to give the beer it's proper name, was a well loved local ale, but when the company was taken over in the early 1990's, and they stopped making this particular beer for some reason. So a lot of people are very happy that it is coming back.

I have never tried it, as I wasn't drinking real ale twenty years ago. I tended to swig lagers then. But now I am 50, I'm into real ales, so am looking forward to tasting this local brew for the first time. I don't know if it is genetic or something, but it seems that the majority of men when they reach middle age, tend to swop lagers for proper beers. Just hope I don't take up pipe smoking, as that seems to be another attribute.

I did have a real ale tonight during the interval at the Beeston Film Club. The second week and the film was The Ladykillers. That classic Ealing comedy from the mid 1950s, and one of Peter Sellers' first films.  I wanted to try a beer called Robin Hood, as it's a darker, but Tim  who is Nottingham's official Robin Hood had the last one. So I had to have this blonde bombshell instead.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pond Life

Well the pond in the garden is absolutely brimming with tadpoles and baby frogs now, that I have to be careful when removing the pondweed, that I don't remove them as well.

Still the weed is giving good cover to the tiny frogs and the goldfish below.

I took the photo on on OMD, using a 20mm lens. Not the right lens I know for macro work, Ideally I should use the lens that has been especially designed for close up photography; the Olympus 60mm 1.1. It would be nice to have one, but I don'y think my funds can stretch to one at the moment.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A Matter Of Heat And Cold

Well today has actually felt like a proper summer's day, with local temperatures reaching a dizzy 25 degrees C.

Although its been sunny, I didn't take any photos, as I've been busy pottering around the house and garden.

So here's a shot which I took in Highfields, in the middle of February. All that snow. Be great now for keeping cool. But of course it would soon melt.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Who Popped Your Cork?

One of the artistic planters that are dotted around the city centre. Some are new designs, while others are from last year.

I think this one is new, and is quite artistic. Especially with the cork being popped.

It will be good to see what it looks like later in the year when all the flowers are out.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


A simple shot today, that I took whilst going to the post office in Beeston.

At the moment, the town is like a bomb site whilst the tramworks are taking place. Everyone is fed up with it, with roads closed, holes everywhere, trees cut down, and there's still probably nearly two years to go.

One of the things that has happened is that all the mature bushes at the front of the parish church have been cut down, and all that remains are the stumps of the bushes and weeds everywhere. So I was pleased to see this brave poppy raising its head to the sky as it twitched in the summer breeze.

They always use the poppy as a tribute to fallen soldiers, so this is my tribute to the devastation that has hit our little town and all the plants, trees and people's homes that have been sacrificed in the name of progress.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Those Boys Of Company D

I've been busy at home today, moving furniture and sorting stuff out etc, so not had the opportunity of shooting anything.

So here's a fortuitous photo which I took at the Armed Forces Day, on Saturday. We were wandering around after most of the public had left and everyone was starting to pack up and head off.

Whilst we were taking some photos of a vehicle, I saw all these soldiers posing for photos that were being taken on mobile phones, for their wives and girlfriends. So naturally I had to take a few, so that everyone could be in the shot.

I handed my business card to one of them and said that if he sent me his email address, then I would send him a copy. Alas to date, he's not replied, which is a shame, as I'm sure he, and the others would like it.

What's especially good is the fact that the Mercian Regiment, is the one from the Midlands region. In fact it is made up of several regiments that were merged a few years ago; one of which was the Sherwood Foresters, from Nottingham. In fact my late uncle served in that regiment during the early 1900's.

If anyone reading this blog post knows any of the soldiers, or the regiment, then please do tell them, and I'll happily email them a copy.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Monday Night At The Movies

Something new started in Beeston last night. A film club situated in a small vegetarian restaurant called Cafe Roya.

It is the brainchild of a local go-getter and journalist called Matt, who produces a local magazine called The Beestonian. You may have seen him appear on a few of my blogs in the past, with his involvement in Oxjam. There he is below, saying a few welcome words to the small, lucky audience.

We saw four films in all; three shorts, including one starring a very young Noel Fielding (Sweet; 2000). The main feature was one by local film maker Shane Meadows called Le Donk and Scor-zay-zee, which he made in 2009.

The basic story concerns a roadie who also looks after an up and coming rapper, the Scor-zay-zee on the title and how they manage to do an opening slot at an Arctic Monkeys gig in Manchester. It was an amusing film, done fly on the wall style, so you sometimes get to see Shane with his camera.

In many ways it was better than being sat in a multi-plex. More intimate and personal. And the popcorn was a lot cheaper too.

The aim was to make some money for Oxfam, so after the show, people duly popped their coins and notes into the collecting tim.

We've not eaten there yet, but looking on the small, but exciting menu, I don't think it will be too long before we do. I hope there will be another show very shortly, as Matt is intending it to be a regular event. In fact he's started asking for suggestions through his Facebook page.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Let Them Eat Cake

Cookery competitions are all the rage on TV these days, but there was a real one in Beeston today.

The first ever Great Beeston Bake-Off took place at a local school. Many people took part, baking their special cakes and pastries.

The event was aimed at raising some money for Oxfam, and was opened by the deputy mayor of Broxtowe, who incidentally I've done a few acting projects with over the last couple of years.

The competition was open to both professionals and amateurs. Even kids got in on the act. Bradley's creation is spectacular, and I just love the way he's spelt ingredients. No spellchecker when you're writing; only a dictionary.

The winning cake was the one with blueberries on it, which was made by a local cafe. You could buy the cakes after the judges had had a taste, so I bought two of the cupcakes, which had a drop of beer in them. And very tasty they were too.