Tag Archives: blogging

A bit quiet

Hello. I am still here. I haven’t been anywhere particularly thrilling, or done anything massivley amazing. 

Even so, I have decided to get things moving with a local photo walk thing I’ve been mulling. I spread the word on Google+ and I have been blown away by the support. Okay, it’s not going to be dozens of people, but I am happy if we reach a manageable ten or so. 

I have been trying to learn to code HTML and CSS, with reasonable success. I’m not doing it because I enjoy it, more so I have a much better handle on what other tools I use for web design are trying to do. I would like to create a whole web site from scratch using the techniques I have been learning, but I don’t think that’s going to happen for a while. It’s too easy to fall back on the tried and tested software to do it for me.

Since my DSLR can record HD video, I have been learning more about how to get the best out of it. There’s plenty on the interwebz specifically aimed at the Canon EOS 7D, so I now have a pretty good idea what the machine is capable of, and what all the different buttons are supposed to do! I really want to make another short film, but I don’t have a good idea for a storyboard yet. 

So, while I haven’t been posting all and sundry here, I have actually been trying to improve my knowledge and understanding on various subjects. If there’s one thing I love, it’s being an autodidact.

Do You Wear a Camera?

Perhaps the biggest challenge I hear many of our readers talking about when it comes to their photography is that they struggle to find time to practice their photography.

The real problem though is that so many of us don’t have our camera with us when the photographic opportunities present. Instead they sit at home in a little bag that is full of well researched and rarely used gear.

But even when we take our camera with us it often remains in that bag.

I recently was reading Thorsten Overgaard’s site (pictured right) where make the statement that cameras should always ‘wear their camera’. He wrote:

“Things happen when you wear your camera. You get to see things and document them.”

By ‘wearing’ your camera Thorsten advocates actually having out of your bag, over your shoulder, switched on and ready to go at all times.

Getting a little meta, writing a blog post about a blog post about a blog post, but I think the subject here is worth a look.

I used to “wear” my Olympus OM10—it was always nearby wherever I went—and I used to be able cram my Canon EOS 400D with a lens into my handbag, but since moving to a larger body, I only ever carry the PowerShot G9 in my bag.

Have I been a bit quiet?

I have been rather quiet for a while, apart from the occasional flurry of links to various things that catch my eye. I haven’t been updating the blog with reports from my real life, mainly because I have been a little too busy to get around to it.

So, here’s an update.

I finally got through to a model railway magazine editor. He liked my model photograpy, but couldn’t promise any work. Right there is the story of my life. Promises, promises, promises. Still, it was a step forward, and I have now contacted one other editor with the same pitch. If I get any work from either source, I will be pleasantly surprised. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.

I have had a small web site job for the significant other of a friend. I am currently waiting for them to get back to me with their thoughts on what I have done so far. That reminds me I had better chase them up—may make a phone call instead of email.

Another potentially long-running freelance job is beginning to rumble into life. I’m not entirely sure what I will be expected to do at this stage, or how much I will be paid. I guess I ought to find out sooner rather than later. 

While there’s nothing concrete, then, things are beginning to look a little brighter round here. This is a Good Thing.

Meanwhile, I am finding myself engrossed on the modelling workbench, busily building three commissioned 7mm scale railway coaches. You may recall I built a coach for a friend last year. He asked me if I’d build some more for him, so I have three BR Mark 1 corridor seconds on the go. 

I built one kit to see how the thing went together, and to work out what modifications I might need or want to do before I embarked on the other two. I got that first coach to a stage where it was all but complete, aside from paint and final details, and then set about the other two in a batch. Some of the work is fiddly, and some is fiddly and tedious, but it keeps me quiet and occupied, doing constructive things with my hands.

Perhaps I go beyond the call of duty—certainly beyond what my friend is paying me to build these kits for him—but I enjoy the details. I also consider these models as portfolio pieces I can use to perhaps get more work in this field. It’s not a field that will make me rich, but I think there’s a niche for me somwhere.

I am nearing the point where I will want to break out the airbrush and get paint on the models. Sadly, my spray booth is in a garden shed, and the weather of late round here has been a bit cold for that kind of environment. I think I will have to rig up a spray booth in our loft workshop, where it may be cold but at least I have access to electricity, heating and hot drinks!

That’s what’s been going on round here for the past few weeks. I just wish some of the things I am supposed to be involved in would firm up and give me some regular income again. 

A Lesser Photographer – A Manifesto | A Lesser Photographer

Photographers are being bombarded by content that has only further removed them from their creativity (and money). They’re aching for something to cut through the nonsense and remind them of why they fell in love with photography in the first place.

This is my manifesto; universal truths I’ve learned since selling off my fancy cameras and challenging myself to maximize my creativity by minimizing everything else.

If you find yourself nodding in agreement with these principles, I’m relying on you to pass the manifesto along to everyone you know who loves photography!

I heard about A Lesser Photographer by CJ Chilvers, while listening to Chris Marquardt’s Tips From The Top Floor podcast. I was struck by the concept—make yourself a better photographer by forgetting about the gear. Get back to basics and discover your creativity again.

I am not about to sell my gear. I like my gear, but restricting myself in some way, shape or form really helps with my vision (for want of a better word). I have stuck to a single prime lens for a few days. I have shot in black and white for a period. I have limited myself to using my mobile phone camera for a day. All helps to train my vision, so I begin to see photographs where previously I may not have done.

Download the free ebook and read it. See what you think of CJ’s manifesto. Please tell me what you think.


I have been quiet. My last post was around five days ago. Yes, I am still alive.

The thing is, sometimes I am simply not in a bloggage mood. There are times when real life tends to intervene, and I find myself far enough away from my computer and the internet that I can ignore it for a good deal of the time.

Mood also plays a part. There are times when my internal struggles kick in, and I have to take time out to deal with them. I had a bout of what Churchill called his “black dog” a while ago, and he’s still lurking in the shadows. It probably won’t take much to entice him out to attack me again.

I could go on. I think it is the turning of the year that brings this stuff on. The fact that I am seemingly unable to find gainful employment, either in a full-time capacity or as a freelancer, is also weighing on my mind.

Without income, I cannot feed my hobbies. The project to create a scale model of Wolverton Station has foundered, I am unable to afford the lenses I want to complete my collection, and I find I am yearning for a medium format film camera. Replacing my car, completing some DIY projects around the house, and several other things that all require some financial input at some level are currently on hold.

I won’t go on. There’s little point. Something will happen, hopefully positively. Until then, I must uphold the family motto: In Quod Ut Pars—Onwards and Sideways.

Life? Don’t talk to me about life.


Life is like existing in an ocean, as flotsam and jetsam, at the mercy of currents and storms. Some people try to control their aimless drifting, but end up being battered about. Others are lucky and spend their lives in a quiet mill pond, away from most harm. Some drift into the company of good, some end in the company of ne’erdowells. I don’t think there’s any way of predicting how a life will turn out when you are always at the mercy of such powerful external agencies. All you can do is try to make the best of the hand you are dealt, and try to enjoy the ride.

I think I ought to start taking my own advice.

Changing Seasons


While we currently bask in an indian summer here in much of England, it’s hard not to notice autumn is upon us. The trees seem desperate to lose their foliage this year, and predictions are we’re in for a cold snap as early as the end of October—much as last year. Oh, good. 

(Did that sound sarcastic enough?)

After a bout of exuberance as I relaunched my freelance life, I find actually getting the work—in equal parts the most important and the most tedious things about freelancing in general—brings me down with a bump. I don’t ask for much, but my list of clients is shorter than I’d like. The question is, how do I find new clients? Not just new clients, but ones who want to start a long-term working relationship, rather than the more familiar “quick jobs” I tended to collect the last time I played this game seriously.

I’d like to say my heart is really in it, but if I am truly honest with myself it’s not. While I enjoy the freedom to work the hours I want, to be able to give myself a day off if I feel like it, I long for regular income. I need to figure out how to market myself effectively without costing me a packet. Meanwhile, if a “proper” job opportunity comes along, I will go for it.

But that’s a whole other can of worms.

Still here!

Just in case you thought I’d fallen off the planet or something, here’s a quick update on life in Snaptophobic Towers.

I’ve been seduced by Google+. If you have been, too, you can search for me by name and add me to a circle or three. I’m bound to reciprocate.

Meanwhile, I am guaranteed at least another week of freelancing at the Treacle Mines in Folkestone. After that, well, who knows. I hope they may ask me back for the odd month or two every now and then. Meanwhile, I am still looking for a proper full time job, although I am open to offers of freelance design stuff if it comes along. If I can get a month on, month off in Folkestone I will still be a happy camper.

A while ago I thought it might be useful to acquire a bicycle. To put this in context, I haven’t actually ridden a bicycle since I passed my driving test in the very early 1980s. However, venturing forth with the camera gear has shown me that it would be useful on occasion to be able to extend my range after parking the car, beyond what I can comfortably walk. Rather than all the palaver with bike racks and whatnot, I thought a folding bike would be perfect. Initially, I was looking at the small-wheeled commuter variety, which are designed to fold up into fairly small spaces for storage and transport. However, I wasn’t convinced such a contraption would be able to adequately cope with the occasional off-road adventure I might encounter.

Luckily, there is a larger folding bike available, a mountain bike style lightweight frame with 26in wheels and 21 gears. It’s not as compact as the commuter style, but I felt it would still fit in the car with the back seats down. 

Today, I visited the bike store, tried the bike in the car, liked what I saw and bought it, well a black one rather than the white one I tested*. I need to make some space to store the thing at home, so I will collect it next weekend. If nothing else, I hope it will encourage me to get out in the open, exercising, and losing some weight. There’s also the whole new galaxy of accessories and gizmos aimed at cyclists I can spend my money on. I suspect the first things I’ll buy are a more comfortable saddle and a sensible bike lock. 

I’m really looking forward to it! There will be photos once I have the machine in my possession. Stay tuned.



*Due to poor communication, I have apparently bought the white one. The black model has a £20 premium which pushed it outside my budget. =o

A short break


I know I don’t update every day of the week, being rather happier to do it in fits and starts as the mood takes me. I also don’t tend to give you chapter and verse on my comings and goings.

Not being someone blessed with a 3G phone for access all areas (for which read “I am too mean to pay for internet from my mobile devices when on the road”) when I go away I usually find I manage to drop off the internet radar until I get back home. I honestly don’t mind this, because I find I can be a bit obsessive compulsive about checking my email, Twitter and forum feeds. Having an enforced break is always a bonus, as it lets me recharge my mental health, so I can return hopefully refreshed and ready battle the world again.

Anyway, over this Easter weekend I am attending the York Model Railway Exhibition, held at the Racecourse in the city. I shall be playing trains for the benefit of the paying public for three days from Saturday. This means our select band of operators and the layout will be lugged up from Maidstone to York on Thursday 21 April. We’ll set the thing up on Good Friday, entertain the visitors over the following three days, and head home on Tuesday. Hopefully, that will leave a little time for sightseeing on part of Friday.

I visited York for a week’s holiday just over two years ago now, so it will be nice to revisit the city again. My mental map of the area might come in handy for tracking down suitable restaurants of an evening after the exhibition. 

Anyway, I’m off packing for an early start tomorrow. I’ll catch up with the world again on Wednesday. Play nicely while I’m away.

Techbeast.net » 76/365 – Oops, another evening gone…

I’m 76 days into my Project 365 for 2011 and I think it is fair to say I’m feeling the burn.  Trying to think of something to shoot after a long day at work is unsurprisingly exhausting, but I know that if I give up now I’ll be really disappointed with myself.

I can sort of sympathise with Gavin over this. Running out of ideas, or beginning to find the project a chore, are some of the reasons why I won’t attempt a 365 project like this. I have done projects where I take one photo an hour for twelve hours, but even then I struggle for subject matter about halfway through!

Gavin, I guess you have to get through the barrier, one way or another. The longer days of summer will help, I’m sure. Keep it up!