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Fifteen years, two months and twenty one days ago I wrote my first blog post. Today, I write the last. It’s been fun – mostly – but these days I seem to blog largely for the sake of blogging. And too much of it involves typing angrily into the internet with little real purpose. I wrote that first post as an optimistic 30 year old, about to embark on a backpacking trip of a lifetime through Mexico, full of wonder at the world surrounding me. I write today as a slightly jaded 45 year old, rather fed up with the amount of ignorance and prejudice that has come to the fore, and unconvinced that the planet is heading in the right direction. Fifteen years is quite a long time. The world has changed greatly. As have I. I am sure you have too.
An awful lot of people pass through our lives, disappearing as quickly as they entered it. This is particularly so when you are travelling the world with a rucksack on your back, flitting whimsically from one town to the next. They leave a few memories, and hopefully you’ll learn a little something from each encounter. But by and large, the only permanent reminder of their presence in my life is a face in a photograph I’ve taken. Continue reading
I’ve used Flickr, as a paying subscriber, for over a decade. And I’ve been a happy subscriber, for two reasons. Firstly, Flickr displays photos beautifully with powerful organisational tools in the background. Secondly, because although Flickr hasn’t done much with regards innovation for years and years, there’s still no other photography sharing site that comes close to beating Flickr’s product. Till now… Continue reading
The Fuji X-T20 has a number of film simulations built in, as plenty of cameras do these days. One of them is Acros, reproducing a well loved film for the digital age. When I was reading comparisons between the X-T20 and the new budget Fuji, the X-T100, a recurrent feature of the reviews was disappointment that the Acros simulation was missing from the X-T100. I’ll be honest – I hadn’t heard of Acros before. But seeing as how many fans it has, it seemed silly not to shoot off a few frames with it. Which was a worthwhile exercise. I really like it. I’ll be using it a lot over the coming years, I’m sure.
Do you remember Harold Camping? A bible thumping christian who made his living from predicting the end of days and sharing his theory over his radio station. He built up quite the following over the years. And they didn’t all desert him when the world repeatedly failed to end on time. But that’s not entirely surprising – that’s how cults work. A dedication and devotion that goes beyond any arguments from fact or reality. Harold Camping’s cult was pretty harmless as cults go. It was fringe, and laughable rather than dangerous. Continue reading
Things in photography that just don’t work out. Shooting into the sun. Moving objects in low light. Subjects behind glass. Except sometimes you break the rules and it’s ok, because it just works. Like this one. In my opinion, anyway. Mrs P sat in her seat on the ferry, refusing to come outside on deck in the early morning cold.
Umbrellas make unusual street art. But art is art. And Mary Poppins 2 is on the horizon, so it’s topical. This street is in Cherbourg, a small port in Normandy, not so far from the beaches that the allies stormed on D-Day. Mrs P and I visited on a day trip from Poole, one of the English ports from whence the D-Day troops departed. Our ferry across the channel was a far more relaxed and comfortable affair that the troops enjoyed in 1945. Our greeting at the other end of the cruise was a lot more cordial too. Ferry employees shooting off instructions is considerably more preferable than German soldiers shooting machine guns.
I discovered about six months ago that my Adobe Creative Cloud Photography subscription was a 12 month contract. And not a rolling monthly deal, as I had assumed. My contract renews on August 28th. Or it would have. But I ignored the offer of 3 months free to encourage me to sign up for another year, and cancelled my subscription. I love Lightroom, but I really don’t need to pay for it anymore. Because these days, I do most of my work on my iPad. So adios Adobe. Sort of. And hola, Adobe. Lightroom is free on the iPad. There is a premium version available – on a rolling monthly deal for £4.49 – but I don’t need the premium features. Free suits my needs and budget. Continue reading
I’ve had a Goldilocks moment with my new Fuji X-T20. I bought it with a new prime lens, the weather resistant 23mm f2.0. I’ve had a few prime lenses from the Fuji XF range over the last five years. The 60mm f2.4 was a nice portrait lens, but it was an unnecessary extravagance considering how little I used it. For practical everyday use, the field of view was too narrow. So I sold it. Same goes for my 35mm f1.4. Bit too narrow, but less so and it’s a bright lens so I kept it. Continue reading
I have no unboxing video for you. I don’t get the fad for unboxing videos. I know what a box looks like. I know how to open a box. Can we just see the product, por favor? I’ve also no intention of producing a series of tutorial videos. They’ve already been done, and done better than I could do. If you’re interested in learning how to get started with an X-T20, I highly recommend watching the relevant videos on Omar Gonzalez’ YouTube channel. I watched a few just before my camera arrived, and they were a very helpful introduction.
Whenever someone utters the word ’emotive subject’, you can safely wager that what they really mean to say is ‘everyone just calm down, please’. Or ‘this topic is probably best avoided’. The subject will often be about money, religion or politics. Or a rage inducing mix of all three. Brexit is an emotive subject. Exceedlingly so. Partly because of the money angle – we’re going to be poorer. And almost everyone, on both sides of the debate, now agrees on that point. But Brexit is emotive beyond the financial implications it will have upon our lives.
It is a fine week for anniversaries. On Wednesday, I marked ten years of marriage. And today marks three years since I started my job on the railway. It’s been a good three years. Don’t get me wrong, if they stop paying me, I’ll stop turning up. But as far as jobs go, it’s a good one. It could, however, have been my fourth anniversary. Or fifth. Or sixth. I had three unsuccessful attempts at gainful employment in various roles with London Underground before striking gold with a proper Train Operating Company. Continue reading
The older one gets, the more one’s calendar seems to fill up with memorable dates. But today’s is special. Ten years ago today, on the 08/08/08, the Beijing Olympics opened with a lavish ceremony. Oh, and Mrs P and I got hitched. A less lavish ceremony in Milwaukee. But just as fabulous. And I bet we’re in better shape than a lot of that Olympic infrastructure. Congratulations to us. And here’s to another decade of happiness. And another after that. And so on.
When Mrs P and I decide to go to London, we catch the train. For us it is free, so there’s not really a decision to make regarding mode of transport. It’s a comfotable way to go, and quick – we’re in the capital in about an hour and fifty minutes. The end of the line for us is Waterloo station, the country’s busiest in terms of passengers entering and exiting. Nearly a hundred million of them every year. We’re doing our bit to try and heave the station over the line into nine digit territory. Continue reading
It rained for a couple of days at the beginning of the week. Quite heavily in places. This was the first serious rainfall we’ve seen in weeks. But we have returned to Mexican Weather conditions. Hot and sunny – at least in the south of the country. As is the norm, it’s grim up north. For those that gripe about the heat that they should be enjoying, here’s a photographic reminder of our British summers normally roll. The Notting Hill carnival of 2014, which was riot of colour, noise and smells. And rain. Lots of rain.