Tag Archives: photography

Can it really be four years?

Billy-puss has been living with us now since the end of May 2016. It is hard to imagine the home without him now! He made himself at home pretty much as soon as we unlocked the front door returning from the Cats Protection homing shelter.

He still loves being groomed, having his ears scratched and butting heads. He also likes his tummy tickled, so it’s pretty obvious he was handled by humans pretty much from birth. Billy likes to know where you are, and if you leave him alone in a room, he will come and find you. He just likes the company. As I type this, he’s snoozing on the sofa, only a couple of metres away.

So, apologies Billy for forgetting your fourth coming home birthday party. I’m sure you’ll forgive us, as our species has had quite a bit to deal with since March. Thank you for being here, and being a furry comforter when times have been a bit rough. We hope you’ll want to stay with us for a good few years yet.

A day—or two—out

When you work for yourself, and your other half is retired, it’s very easy to forget to take holidays. Well, I find it easy to forget. To overcome this problem, we’ve decided to try to take short breaks that happen to coincide with model railway meetings of one kind or another. The precedent has been set by our annual jaunt to Telford for the Gauge O Guild exhibition.

This past weekend we wandered up to the West Midlands. We stayed in Oldbury, in one of those identikit hotels, on a short visit that encompassed the ScaleSeven Group’s AGM at the nearby Warley Model Railway Club’s premises. We travelled up from darn sarf on Friday, had the AGM on Saturday (feeling relaxed and refreshed by not having made the journey on the day), and pottered back home on the Sunday.

With time in hand, we made a slight detour to a local attraction before heading home.

Blakesley Hall, according to Wikipedia, “is a Tudor hall on Blakesley Road in Yardley, Birmingham, England. It is one of the oldest buildings in Birmingham and is a typical example of Tudor architecture with the use of darkened timber and wattle-and-daub infill, with an external lime render which is painted white. The extensive use of close studding and herringbone patterns on all sides of the house make this a home that was designed to show the wealth and status of the owner.”

The house and gardens are run by the Birmingham Museums. Originally a farmhouse set in its own land, the hall is now surrounded by 1930s housing estates. Nevertheless, once you enter the property, it is a tiny oasis of calm in the bustle of a suburban environment.

There is a modern entry block, with the gift shop, toilets and a tea room. On the day we visited, there was a display of various birds of prey. Volunteers were on hand to guide round the house, explaining about the building and its contents, and the histories of its various owners.

If you find yourself in the Birmingham area and have a couple of hours to spare, visit Blakesley Hall. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and you might too.

You can see some more of the images I took on our visit on my Flickr page.

A week later!

Telford was an excellent exhibition, a credit to the organisers and managing crew. I spent the weekend talking, buying, and ending up tired out! I handed finished models to clients, and collected some new commissioned work. I think it was a good show.

Lots of nice textures and colours were about. I wonder if all the cast plates were made on the site?

As is now our habit, we stayed in the Telford area for a couple of days after the exhibition. Our plans were flexible, with museums and the Severn Valley Railway high on the agenda. Monday saw us visit the Blists Hill Victorian Town. The link explains what the place is all about, and it proved a pleasant afternoon of wandering about. I spent much of the time cursing my DSLR, which is really cursing myself for being thick. I really need to get out with the beast more often and learn how to drive it properly again.

It would have been lovely to have seen more activity around the town. It was rather as if the inhabitants had all gone on a charabanc trip to the seaside and left everything unlocked.

Our last day we went to Bridgnorth and visited the SVR. We took the digital sound recording gear, in the hopes of more excellent recordings such as we had last year. Sadly, I hadn’t slept at all well the previous night, so our visit was somewhat curtailed. I still haven’t had a chance to edit the recordings we made. In fact, I’ve not even listened back to them, which is quite telling on what I think about them.

So, that’s the Big Exhibition over for another year. Back at home, I spent the rest of the week nursing a toothache and setting out plans for the year ahead. I have, it seems, a lot of work to be getting on with!

And there’s more!

While I had the lightbox out for the diesel photo shoot, I thought it might be fun to take some mini diorama shots of some model aircraft I’ve been building on and off as part of my ongoing Summer 1940 obsession.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Bristol Blenheim MkIVF WR-L, No 248 Squadron Coastal Command, is prepared for another patrol over the North Sea, some time in 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly pickup; Flightpath Fordson tractor; Matador Models Albion AM463 refueller.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Summer 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Summer 1940. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Armstrong Whitworth Whitley MkV, GE-B of No 58 Squadron Bomber Command, Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire, gets some last minute attention before being bombed up for a night raid. Airfix 1/72nd scale kits for the aircraft, oil bowser and Standard Tilly and Bedford ML pickups; Flightpath Fordson tractor.

Traditionally, the Battle of Britain is seen as the mighty Luftwaffe, with four types of bomber and two types of fighter, ranged against the plucky RAF sporting two types of fighter and a few hangers on. My view, and of some historians of the subject, is once you take into account Bomber and Coastal Command numbers, the odds were much more even. So, as kits have become available, I have been adding the other commands to my Royal Air Force collection. In my stash I have a Handley Page Hampden, and I would love a decent Vickers Wellington and Airfix to reissue the Fairey Battle to make my Bomber Command fleet complete.

The only problem with all this model aircraft malarkey is where to store or display them! Outside of cabinets, they’re proper dust magnets!

While the sun shone

It was a nice day yesterday. While wondering how to spend my time, trying to relax for a change, I stumbled across my big camera. It was my fault for leaving it on the floor of the living room, I suppose. Anyway, dusting it off and checking the battery still had a charge, I wondered if I could remember how to operate it. Out to our back yard I went, and tried to find interesting things to snap.

I uploaded the selected best shots to my Flickr photo stream. Please go and have a look.

There might just be an inkling of a glimmer of interest in photography making an appearance. I must try to cultivate it again. I have got in mind a long term project, but I’m trying to get the enthusiasm together to get it started.

Finding my photographic mojo

With one of the wettest winters on record, 2014 didn’t seem to hold much promise for photographic expeditions. Having killed the Shutterbugs last year, I found much of my time involved elsewhere (that’s the workbench, obviously), and I completely lost my interest in photography somewhere along the line. The gear sat in the cupboard, unused and unloved.

Even the promise of some pretty good weather for much of the summer didn’t make my trigger finger itch like it used to. Perhaps the travails with the car, too much work to do and various other things taking what little spare time I had that just made me wonder what I ever found interesting in going out with the camera gear.

As the weather begins to turn at the end of what has turned out to be a pretty good summer, the prospect of a fine start and a sunrise at a reasonably sensible hour began to make me think it might be worth a trip. I charged batteries, formatted cards, cleaned things, chose some lenses and packed the bag.

After a short night’s sleep, I got up at 0445hrs BST, jumped in the car and headed off to the Isle of Grain. As I drove down the M2 I wondered about my sanity…

Reflections

Floating

Weathered

Blue

You can see the full set over at my Flickr stream. I think it was well worth the effort, and I think it may have helped me find my photographic mojo. My next planned trip is to an agricultural fair on the Hoo Peninsula, in about three weeks. I hope it doesn’t rain!

It’s everywhere! | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

 

It’s everywhere! | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

I spent the day being driven around south London by a client as we worked on getting photos of their operation for their new web site. Almost everywhere we looked, there was the Shard, looming over everything. It looked just like a spaceship had just landed right there in amongst all the other buildings. Even in the rain, it was an impressive sight.

Just in!

Earlier this year my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary. They were married in 1962, and had been together for 50 years—a milestone to be admired as well as celebrated.

I was deputed as official photographer at the celebration party. Those images came out well enough, but I wanted to make something more memorable. I decided a one-off self-published photo book would be just the ticket.

I persuaded my Mum that I should pay a visit with my scanner and laptop so I could scan the original wedding photos, as well as the scrapbook from the event—Mum is a great one for scrapbooking such things: she has scrapbooks covering most of their major wedding anniversaries as well as other significant events in their lives together.

I won’t say I slaved over this book. I will say it took me ages to figure out how to join the two sets of images together in some way that made sense. In the end I hit on the idea of including information about 1962 and 2012 that would let someone looking at the book in say another 50 years understand the period, and some of the changes that happened between them.

There is a page—you can see a segment in the above image—which has each decade between 1962 and 2012. I felt this was a good way to segue between the “black and white” early 1960s to the ”technicolor multi-channel” 21st century. I spent a while picking out historical, social and family events that marked each decade, and put them across the page in a kind of grid.

I designed the book using Blurb’s book design template plugin for Adobe InDesign. This sets the page size and layout for you, with some basic instructions on making sure you have even numbers of pages and so on. Once completed, the plugin then provides a cover template design based on the number of pages and the chosen paper stock. The output was to a Blurb-specified PDF, which was then uploaded to their web site. All in all, a seamless and relatively painless process, even if the 130MB PDF took a while to upload!

I went for a hardback cover with wrapped-around colour image and reasonable quality paper stock for the insides. It’s not a fat volume, but it looks very smart indeed. Sadly, I made a silly error which resulted in each page being one place forward of where they should have been, which meant some of the spreads haven’t worked as intended. While a nuisance, and something I ought to have spotted, I am still chuffed to bits with the finished book. I hope my parents love it just as much as I do!