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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


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.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Shades Of Autumn

Another bit of welcome autumn/winter sunshine today, so I took this photo of the castle, Castle Rock and the Brewhouse Museum from the grounds of the Brewhouse yard.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Run For The Sun

As Nottingham has such a big student population, every night is student night at pubs and clubs across the city centre.

Walking through town last night we came across these two students dressed like they were on their summer holiday in Spain, rather than a very cold, wet East Midlands city.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Jingle Bells

The big switch-on of the Christmas lights in the Old Market Square happened tonight. It has been estimated that about 8000 people stood and watched the plunger being pushed. Not by anyone famous, but some children that had come from a renal unit of a local hospital.

It's always exciting to see the lights come on, even though they are always the same. The big difference this year is that the Christmas tree is in a different position and an open air ice skating rink has been built around it.

So instead of popping up a photo that might be similar to last years, here's a bit of an arty shot that I took of some overhead decorations reflected in a puddle.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Abstract Art

This is part of the Contemporary art gallery wall, but I have twisted it round to give it more of an arty look. Especially with a perfectly blue sky.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Shopping With Attitude

The shoppers in the Broad Marsh were a bit surprised today when local boxing champion Carl Froch turned up to give a boxing demonstration with some sparring to his adoring fans.

He was also there to promote his forthcoming match in Manchester. Of course the media pack were there, filming, interviewing and photographing him in action. Naturally I was there as well to capture the event for posterity and for your enjoyment.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

And They Call It Puppy Love

I saw these two ladies at the Children in Need night at the local Tennis Centre.

They were supervising a table where some children were making a collage from pieces of tissue paper. They had certainly got into the swing of things, dressed as dalmatians in their one fleecy onesies.

They happily posed for my camera. I like the way that they have drawn tongues on their chins and black spots on their noses.

I didn't get their names. But if anyone does recognise them, then do let them get in touch with me and I'll happily send them a copy of this photo.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


You may remember a few weeks ago me mentioning that we went to West Bridgford to see an exhibition of photographs by Tracey Whitefoot.

Well this afternoon she gave a talk about where, how and why she took the photos. And very interesting it was too. I'm not really a landscape photographer, probably more of an urban one, so it was nice to hear someone enthuse about how they got up at 3am, drove to the location and waited until the sun came up and hoped that it would make an appearance.

The talk and slideshow was at the library and next door was a park. So I had a little walk round to see if I could capture some autumn colour. Bu sadly most of the leaves were still greenish.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Children In Need

Today the UK goes charity crazy with the yearly extravaganza called Children in Need.

Its broadcast by the BBC and events are shown that are happening around the country, as well as special programmes.

The Nottingham Tennis Centre was chosen to be the base for local broadcasts, and of course I just had to pop along to see what was happening.

The lady with the microphone is Anne Davies and she co-presents East Midlands Today; a half hour local news programme that is shown every weekday evening, plus shorter versions late at night and at weekends.

The group with the photograph are members of the Photographers Hub, a local charity that helps disadvantaged youngsters through photography, that has received some funding from the Children in Need charity.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

No Snow Man

Well the countdown to Christmas appears to have stated, with the festive adverts now on TV. John Lewis' Bear and the Hare cartoon is charming and worth a look. Sure it must be available on YouTube for my non UK visitors.

Anyway last week the Broad Marsh shopping centre put up its tree and animated snowmen in a very colourful display.

I've noticed quite a few people stop and take some photos on their mobile phones. So today I thought I would have a go. With my OMD of course and 45mm portrait lens.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Here's a sight that you don't see everyday. A canal closed due to 'roadworks'.

It's interesting how that have managed to block the section, make it watertight and pump all the water out.

I wonder what sort of things they found when all the water was removed? Old tyres, cones, and it you look carefully there's even a bicycle propped up against the wall. I wonder if they came across any guns or weapons as they were dredging? It's certainly an opportunity to unearth something unusual.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


I was going to pop these two photos on last night, but couldn't resist posting the shot of Shane Meadows and Vicky McClure after such an exciting night.

Anyway, here is Beeston's war memorial with epitaph at the base of the column.

It's sited on the junction of two roads. One of which is a major thoroughfare through the town. So it had to be closed on Sunday morning by the police. But of course when it was erected, the road would have been a lot narrower and a lot quieter.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lights, Camera, Action

A fab night tonight at the local film club that Gail and I go to on a Monday night. It was extra special this week, as film director Shane Meadows paid a visit to discuss a number of his short films that he was going to show us, including his first ever one made in 1993 and some that have never been screened before. He also did a question and answer session about his work and gave a bit of an insight into the film making business.

As an added unexpected surprise, the actress Vicky McClure also came to visit. Vicky has appeared in Shane's This is England series of films and TV series. They are about to start work on the latest instalment. She was recently in the crime drama Broadchurch, which starred David Tennant.

It was a great evening, helped along by Roya's wonderful buffet. All vegetarian food and very delicious. Of course I had my camera with me to capture the event, which had been organised by my pal Matt, who runs the Beestonian magazine. Here's a shot of Shane, Vicky and film journalist Ali Catteral, who had made the journey up from London to introduce and interview Shane, and to also get his DVD box set autographed.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


As most people know today is Remembrance Sunday. The day in the year that the country honours its dead for defending the freedoms that we all enjoy today.

On 'Poppy Day' as it's usually known, practically every city, town and village people gather at war memorials and fall silent at 11am, the time of day that hostilities ceased in 1918; World War 1.

As it was a lovely morning, I thought I would go and pay my respects and take some photos too. There were a lot of people there waiting to do the same.

There was a march past of present forces' personnel, local Scout and Brownie groups and of course veterans from the Royal Legion.

Everyone fell silent at the allotted time. Then local dignitaries laid wreathes of poppies around the war memorial. Then most people went to the local church to attend a service of thanksgiving for the sacrifice that people had made during the many conflicts that the world has seen during the last 100 years, and is still going on today.

I then had a look at the wreathes and where they had come from. I thought this one was colourful and poignant.  Dead at 22. Alec probably hadn't seen much life outside his home town until he enlisted and worked his way up to being a pilot. I wonder what planes he flew? Spitfires, Lancaster's Hurricanes. Whatever he did fly, his life was snubbed out far too soon by the enemy.

And what about 22 year olds now, I wonder if they have ever compared their life to that of someone of their own age, who died nearly 70 years ago. No X Box, mobile phone or DVDs for Alec. Just the knowledge that what he was doing was right, even though it cost him his life.

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Whilst roaming around Highfields yesterday looking for something to shoot, I noticed a drawing pin slowly rusting away on the trunk of a tree. So an interesting subject for a spot of macro photography.

I wonder what it was pinning up? A notice for a lost dog perhaps, or an advert for a forthcoming event in the park. Whatever it was, we will never know.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Striking A Pose

A day off work today as I had a hospital appointment this morning for a chest X-ray. Nothing seriously wrong you'll be pleased to know, it's just that I've had a cough for several months now, and Gail ordered me to see the doctor, just to find out what was causing it.

I didn't have to wait long to be seen and was soon on my way back home. As the hospital isn't too far away, I cycled there, and so as it was sunny I decided to have a ride through Highfields for a spot of photography with my OMD.

I took some of the boating lake, sunshine through trees etc. Then I saw two squirrels playing with each other in the shade. So I thought that I would see if I could get a shot of them. As I approached, they stopped running about and looked at me. One then ran away, while the other actually headed towards me. He then climbed up the tree near me and sat down on a stump and posed for me. Anyone would think he wanted to be photographed!

He must have been there for about ten seconds before scampering off into the distance. I took several photos on my OMD. Wish I had had the 75mm lens, as I could have got a bit of a closer shot, but I am quite happy with this picture, and still can't get over the fact that sat there for so long without being frightened.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Lincoln Green

Just got back from a two day conference at a residential college just outside Lincoln.

Sadly no time for any photography, so as they used to say on Blue Peter, "here's one I made earlier". Well took earlier, July 2011 to be exact. Just spent a bit of time tweaking it in Lightroom.

Lincoln Cathedral and taken on my old and long gone Nikon D90, before I became a convert to the Olympus OMD.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

A Road Of Two Halves

This is the castle end of Castlegate. The other part is across the way there, but the road was sliced in two when they built the Maid Marian Way in the late 1960s. A couple of other roads; namely Houndsgate & Friar Lane also suffered the same fate.

For many years Maid Marian Way was dubbed the ugliest road in Nottingham, but some planting took place a few years ago and so it doesn't look so harsh now. Although of course Castlegate and the other roads will always be apart.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Inn of The Seventh Happiness

The Trip to Jerusalem is Nottingham's famous pub and is situated at the base of the castle.

Popular with locals and visitors alike, it's one of the places to see if you ever come to Nottingham on a visit.

I've put on a few photos of the actual pub before, so today I thought I would show a close up of the sign, especially as the sun had come out from behind some grey clouds that were passing overhead.


Monday, 4 November 2013

Leaf It Alone

The layers of dead leaves are certainly building up along the walls of the castle, as the road sweepers don't seem to be clearing them as often as they used to.

Maybe it's down to the cuts, as road-sweeping isn't as high on the council's spending plans as it once was, as the money is used for more urgent things like education and Social Services.

In a way, I prefer the leaves to be there, as it makes my photo more photogenic, rather than just seeing grass at the bottom of the picture. What do you think?

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Creepy Crawlie

I have no idea what this insect is, but I found it in the kitchen on one of the cupboard doors.

So before I humanely removed it, using the old jar & cardboard trick, I thought I would try taking a photo of it.

Of course not having a dedicated macro lens meant that I had to do my best with one of the other lenses that I have, so unfortunately I couldn't get the close-up that I really wanted. But at least you can see the stripes on its back and hairs on its legs.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Wishing I Had A Photograph

Does anyone remember a band from the early 1980s called a Flock of Seagulls? They were just about a one hit wonder with the song "Wishing I had a Photograph (of you)"

I bet you're wondering what they are doing now. Well here's a shot of them enjoying some sun by the canal.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Head In The Clouds

Whilst taking some photos at the Oxjam music festival in Broadgate Park, I noticed two very tall clowns making balloon animals for the kids.

Well you couldn't miss them, being about 10ft tall. They were on stilts of course, and very colourful.

I love the comical smile he's pulling while I'm taking his portrait..