Look…

I can promise you, that when I was stood in the bar at Bristol airport on Sunday morning drinking a pint at 10 am and thinking, “that stag party’s more pissed than I am, I hope they’re not on our plane…” I had no idea what the next few days were going to yield…

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They weren’t and the yield was phenomenal. Amsterdam delivered, yes there was the girls and yes there was the funky smell that invoked memories of a life more chilled but there was so, so much more  of which I’m sure I’ll post over the coming days but for now, I need to share the highlight of my short stay. The World Press Photo Exhibition a thought provoking and emotional poke in the chest for those of us who live out our comfortable lives with our first world problems…

Really, these photographers are in a league of their own and whilst nature is just red in tooth and claw, these guys show that Humanity is brutal, kind, cruel, caring, selfish, generous, Ignorant and here’s the worst, arrogant!

I only spent an hour looking around the exhibition, I could easily have spent a day and when it comes to Edinburgh, I think I just will.

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Click on the link above and if it’s in your part of the world at some point over the coming months, please, go see…

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You’ve got the lenses, I’ve got the comp…

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Ok, he’s got the fast cars and long lenses and the professional photography career but I’ve got procrastination at a works training day and an eye for the composition… Every single speaker whispered “N.I.K.O.N…” on his walk back to the paddock!

 

Mind The Gap…

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Platforms, my oh my how many platforms?

There’s the obvious; WordPress , It would have just been rude for me not to put this first even though my hit rate here is lowest and I really need to get my website (same platform) updated and refreshed focalthingy.co.uk if you’re wondering.

Facebook, obvious too but their pages feature just feels like a cash cow, eleven quid to “boost” my posts to half the people who follow me anyway, don’t get me wrong, my personal page, great… ish but eleven quid? Come on! I worked for those followers and now you’re monetising them??? That’s my frickin’ job! (Love you followers, really do and you don’t have to buy a print… yet)

Twitter… Come on Twitter, admit it, you don’t like photographers do you, or is that just me being paranoid?

Maybe, I’m being a little too harsh, a little too short minded. If I’d have taken up photography thirty years ago I’d have a couple of albums of pretty pictures stuffed, forgotten in the back of a cupboard somewhere and a dusty old camera sat looking a bit downhearted in the loft, so now I’m going to try and be a little bit more optimistic…

Instagram…  Now we’re getting somewhere. Reactive, responsive and (at the moment) quite subtle with the adds and restricting views (Unless you go Instagram for business… for crying out loud Facebook!) There’s a difference with Instagram though, a more tactile feel to the place a more honest feeling. It might just be me and I know that you do get the followers asking you to pay $25.00 for 10,000 followers and they’ve only got 12 followers themselves… Never been able to work that one out… But, from my experiences, I’ve met people who I would never had through my posts on Instagram, gained insights and inspiration from a fleeting glance of a wonderful photograph and, because I follow the people I do, get to see familiar places with a different eye… That’s invaluable! And, I’m off to my first Instmeet in a couple of weeks at Lacock, which I’m really looking forward to.

See, real, tactile people! I’ll be sure to post a few here… #loveyouwordpress

I’d be awful to not mention a few of the old school and some new kids because they have helped me in their own special ways… Flickr, 500px, Ello and Vero… Or, just Google Focal Thingy… I do, often! ;o)

Oh, and the photo’s one from Lacock a couple of weeks ago. The light in this place is phonominal!

The Lattice Window…

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I expect it’s been done a million times and I think I’m fresh and taking a different aspect on the matter but, when it comes down to it, this is the holy grail of photography and my first time there, so indulge me!

Henry Fox Talbot… Cheers Fella!

I’d like to think that he’d be proud of where we are today and the fact that Lacock Abbey is magnet for photographers. DSC_2152-PanoAnd the volunteers for the National Trust recognise this… Or I hope they do. The light throughout the Abbey was phonominal!

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I doubt If I’ve done Henry Justice but he’s dead and doesn’t care but please, if you give a tiny hoot about photography add the Abbey to your bucket list!

And for the record, my shot and don’t f**k with the shot shot is… DSC_2176

I’ll let you guys come to your own conclusions….

 

 

Even Rails Have Junctions… (Handcuffs optional) AKA… I did a review!!! (of sorts)

DSC_1643Hmm, times they be a changing. With my new Nikon D750 I am now wifi enabled and CC’d to the hilt and while it was nice to be able to take a pic of Portsmouth harbour during blue hour, send it to and then edit it on my phone and eventually post to Instagram all within the space of a short ferry crossing to the Isle of Wight I’m not 100% I’m happy with the result. Sure it looks great with my bad eyesight through lousy glasses on a tiny screen but now I’m tucked up in the hotel room and viewing it on a slightly larger screen I’m not so sure, the noise is still there, the highlights aren’t as crisp as I’d like… Oh, and I suppose I better come clean now, the pic above is the same image edited in Lightroom CC Classic, the one below is the edit from my phone in Lightroom CC on my phone

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And, another confession, I know my way around Old Grandfather Lightroom blindfolded and handcuffed (He’s funny like that…) where as my editing with the whippersnapper CC is at best a rough guess, bit like a pianist stringing sausages in a butcher shop (don’t ask), I know what I want to do but it’s not bloody obvious how I do it and that’s frustrating!

Heh, Get me, the old fashion fart who expects everything to work like it used to, Immediately! And, Whippersnapper, lets be honest, it’s going to be a while until you can do Panoramas like this…

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So, summing up, pass me my slippers, blindfold and handcuffs!

PS, loving the low light performance of the D750 though, ok, there’s some noise at ISO1600 but these shots were hand held at 1/50th f/4.0 nice nice nice! (and I know there’s distortion in the panorama I put it there! ;O)

 

52 Faces, We Are Stardust… But, bloody hell!

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Art is subjective, you can love it, hate it or even a bit Meh! It’s completely up to you and that is the great thing about art… Street furniture on the other hand is a completely different ball game.

We are the universe observing itself but I think we keep missing the obvious…

DSC_1221Thank you Photoshop  for your assistance and to the architects of Solstice Park… WTFF?The hotel didn’t help either!

And, a little side note, The Human Universe by Prof Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. A great listen.

For Lucy!

Turners Preference…

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There’s a story around these parts that once Sir Henry Hoare (The Magnificent) had completed the gardens at Stourhead he invited the renowned landscape painter Joseph Mallord William Turner down for a ganders and maybe a painting or two… Unfortunately Bill was not impressed with Harrys’ arrogance with regards to the new gardens and chose to paint the second lake down. not part of the gardens and known to this day as Turners Paddock. I’m not sure how you give the bird in 1799 but that seems pretty close to me.

On a personal note, the fishing is good (permit from the Gillingham angling club required, mine elapsed 30 years ago…) and I used to catch Jack Pike here when I was a lad and will never forget when a Starling murmuration passed overhead and they all poo’d at the same time… The fishing kind of die a death after that, apparently Starling poo tastes better than maggots… I’ll take the fishes word on that!

Ruff!

DSC_1533Happiness is organic, namely sodium, H2o and whatever elements go into a stick…

Big day today, I have gained an addition and am now a proud owner of a Nikon D750. Please note, the addition bit. I have most definitely not traded in, swapped or otherwise thrown in the back of my cupboard the D3300. That camera has a special place in my heart and D750’s will come and go… (or maybe the odd 850 or two, I can always dream) But that camera has enabled me to become what I am today. Entry level DSLR, kit lenses ( apart from the 35mm 1.8), one exhibition under my belt (and one currently underway, see below) and a few hundred calendars across the globe.

I’m proud of me, so proud I’m like a dog, with a stick on the beach and the sea’s just there…. All that wet!

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All taken today in St Helens and Portsmouth Harbour.

Don’t you just love great Fridays!

Peace Peeps! XXX

PS, I’m showing off here!

 

That’s Life…

Wow, what a rush! I’ve just completed my first day exhibiting at the Beaumont Gallery in Mere, Wiltshire featuring yours truly… (Who had his first life modelling session yesterday and loved it!)DSC_1000.jpg

Rodney Waymen who’s twists and observations on local scenes is something to be seen and some absolutely stunning sculptures by Sarah Coward 

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Even though the weather was horrible we had a fair number of people through the door and I’ve also sold 2 images. It’s so great, as always, to get real, natural engagement to my work.