Monthly Archives: February 2010

The day the music died?

Rock-ola jukebox, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

Today’s blog post has absolutely nothing to do with photography and rather a lot to do with saving something that I love. The Times newspaper is reporting that the BBC intends to close BBC 6Music, pretty much the only music radio station that I listen to; a station dedicated to providing an alternative to the mainstream teen-oriented dross pop of Radio 1. This decision makes me very, very angry indeed. Yes, I know it’s only a radio station but it keeps me sane. I can’t imagine a world without Adam and Joe, Mark Riley, Guy Garvey, Jarvis Cocker, Craig Charles, Lauren Laverne, etc, etc

6Music is MY radio station. It plays the music that stirs me and inspires me. It seems that the BBC is bowing to the pressure placed on it by James and Rupert Murdoch and, by extension, the likelihood of a David Cameron government. That it can even consider this while keeping BBC3 (endless repeats of ‘Two Pints of Lager’, sensationalist documentaries about yoof, repeats of Eastenders, repeats of Doctor Who, you get the picture) is an absolute utter disgrace.

So, if you agree with me and would like the BBC to re-consider then write a complaint here.

If you are on Twitter use the hashtag #savebbc6music.

Or join the Save 6Music facebook group.

It may be futile pissing in the wind but at least voices of opposition will be heard.

“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Ghost boats

Ghost boats, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

This week is speeding by in a bit of a blur and I am having difficulty finding the time to slow down and enjoy the view. Not only am I extremely busy at ‘real’ work it’s also been quite hectic photography wise, what with the exhibition going up in Didsbury and my first proper photoshoot at Pinchjo’s tapas bar on Monday. To say I was nervous would be a bit of an understatement and so I had everything planned to the nth degree: extra memory cards, tripod, monopod, flash gun, etc, etc. However being the amateur that I am I forgot one vital piece of equipment (no, not the camera even I’m not THAT stupid). I forgot the attachment that screws the camera to the top of the tripod… Now when you are shooting inside a restaurant, at night, in subdued lighting this is a quite a problem.

After 5 minutes of panic I calmed down enough to ask the Didsbury Life people if they had a tripod and could I borrow it. Thankfully, the answer was yes on both counts. The shoot went OK and some of the colours were pretty amazing but given that this was a commission I am not sure I should be blogging any of the images until Joe, the owner of the restaurant, has seen them. Thankfully, the restaurant was open only to a select invited gathering who knew they were there to be photographed so all was well (although I think the free [and gorgeous] food and proseco might have helped oil the wheels of conviviality). So, disaster narrowly avoided and another experience to tick off on the imaginary ‘things-a-photographer-should-do’ chart.

I still have a load of pictures from the weekend to process which have sort have gone on the back burner in light of all the above. So today’s picture is from several weeks ago and is another one of the pictures I took on the river Dee in Chester, during January. So why this picture now? Primarily, at the moment, for its stillness and calming influence. I can shut my eyes and remember the conditions in which it was taken: early evening, heavy snow, total silence, on my own. Also, its another one of those pictures that has taken on a second life. I initially dismissed it out of hand but when I asked friends to suggest photos to include in the exhibition, this one kept coming up. Therefore, I revisited it and converted it to black and white; in fact the print that is hanging on the wall in Manchester now is the black and white version and it looks pretty good. This is the original version though and thanks to everyone who prompted me to go back to it. If I had to sum it up in a word it would probably be ‘ethereal’ and that would probably be the wrong word anyhow.

That’s it for now but before I go a reminder that my small exhibition of pictures is currently hanging on the walls of the offices of Didsbury Life, 212 Burton Road, West Didsbury (opposite Folk bar).

My photographs are being exhibited in the vicinity of a wonderful painting by a proper, talented artist, Lisa De Prudhoe. In order to raise money for the UNICEF effort in Haiti, this painting is to be raffled and can be seen here. Very soon you will be able to buy a virtual raffle ticket online – however, in the meantime, if you’re near to Didsbury you can buy a real raffle ticket from either Didsbury Life or the Wendy J Levy Art Gallery, Warburton Street, Didsbury Village, Manchester M20 6WA [0161 446 4880].


Photographer reflected

Photographer reflected, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

Just a very short blog post for today so apologies in advance. Not a great picture either if truth be told but there is a very good reason, honestly. On Saturday, I delivered 15 framed prints of my images to the offices of DidsburyLife, which is on Burton Road in West Didsbury and spent most of the afternoon hanging them (with a little help from Helen and Pete from Didsbury Life). This all came about following a chance encounter on Twitter; to cut along story short, a tweet by a friend of mine regarding this blog was picked up on by Helen who liked what she read and saw. After a short e-mail dialogue I went in to see them and was amazed when they offered me some hanging space on their office walls.

So, in effect, I now have myself an exhibition. True it’s small (15 pictures in total) and imperfectly formed but an exhibition nonetheless. The pictures look really good framed and on the wall and I’m really pleased with them. Even if this exhibition achieves nothing in terms of generating a picture sale or making my work widely known (i.e outside of Chester) it is still something that I am immensely prouf of and that I still find difficult to believe compared to where I was this time last year, a time when this blog was not even a half-formed idea.

I wanted to blog about this event but did not want a photograph that showed pictures of pictures on walls; the idea of this image was to utilise a silver ball hanging from the DidsburyLife office ceiling and use it to reflect the exhibition and myself. The fact that the pictures on the wall were taken by me and liked by other people is a fact that is difficult to fathom, espcially as I am less than 2 months into the ‘year of positive thinking’. I am regarding this as a happy accident, that serendipity word again, and am content to just go with the flow. I have friends and contacts on Flickr that I consider to be be better photographers than I am and I’m still not sure how this has come about. I can only conclude that all this proves is that a) maybe I’m a better photogrpaher than I think b) Twitter is a great marketing tool and c) writing this blog was the best decision I have made since picking up the camera.

For this I owe a debt of gratitude to Stewart Randall, the pro photographer that showed me how to use the camera properly and suggested that I document progress in a blog; to all the friends and family that have supported and built my confidence on the way; and to all the people from the blogosphere and world wide web that have taken the time to comment on the photos that I post.

Tonight, I am undertaking my first comissioned shoot for a restaurant in West Disdbury; yesterday, against my better judgement, I got some really good images at the RAF museum in Cosford (good if you like planes that is) thanks to my son’s obsession with all things military. Photography is taking my life in some interesting new directions. Thanks, everyone and depending how tonight goes things could get interesting.


Blow out and break down at Mow Cop

Wall spikes, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

First up many apologies for neglecting the blog of late; all will be revealed (and the blog title explained) in this post I promise. Previously, I have expounded at length that sometimes things go incredibly well in photography and sometimes they go incredibly badly. As I am sure you are all aware this is also very true in life.

Last Wednesday my wife’s car broke down leaving me stranded for several hours in the freezing cold somewhere in Ellesmere Port as I foolishly agreed to go out and sit with it and wait for the recovery van. It’s a long tale of woe in which two separate recovery vehicles had to come out and which resulted in a huge bill for £800 of repairs…

On Friday I had a day off and intended to spend all day taking photos. I had my itinerary planned, starting at Mow Cop Castle (see picture) a grand folly/summer house in the shape of a castle on the Cheshire/Staffordshire border. I set out quite early but unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and the pictures I took weren’t either (this one is probably the best and the others can be seen here on my Flickr stream). On returning to the car (my car this time) I was greeted with not one, oh no, but two flat tyres. It seems the long climb up to Mow Cop was not one my car was going to do without complaining about it. Of course one flat tyre is an inconvenience but thankfully there is a spare; two flat tyres is a different matter involving recovery vehicles. Also, when you are stranded in a car park high up on a hill, the address of which you don’t know, then the fun is tripled. In other words by the time I got home, organised new tyres (£160), etc, the day was over.

Still, I thought, at least it’s the weekend. And I have a stay in the luxury 4* Hard Days Night hotel in Liverpool (courtesy of Stephen King competition win) to look forward to… Admittedly, the hotel stay was marvellous (although if you don’t like the Beatles and city centre noise don’t even think of staying there) but on Sunday morning I started to feel a little peaky and by Sunday afternoon I was bed-ridden and dosed up on painkillers AND antibiotics.

So it’s been a week of physical and mechanical breakdown in which all I have achieved is 11 pictures of mock castle under a glowering sky. I was going to call this blog post ‘Blow up and Break down’ in homage to the 60s film starring David Hemmings as a swinging London photographer but I soon realised that not only was it not accurate it was also not reflective of my shit week [although the more observant among you will notice that I now reference an underrated Brian De Palma film starring John Travolta). To be honest I cannot wait for this week to be over…

This weekend I deliver my framed pictures to the good people at Didsbury Life for a mini exhibition and next week I undertake my first commissioned piece of photography, the outcome of which will either lead on to more interesting things or demoralise me further.

On a final note, any other amateur photographers based in the UK who are reading this should have a look at this and send off to their MP. As @Glinner says on Twitter ‘The planned photography laws show copyright is a one-way street. They want to take your stuff for free, but make you pay for their stuff’.


Mud, mud, glorious mud

Mud flats, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

Well, what a week this has turned out to be! To be honest, whatever picture I chose to blog next after my last post is probably going to be a disappointment. Who would have thought that a simple picture of my daughter’s face paint would have proved so popular? Certainly not me. But perhaps I should go back to the start of the story…

Earlier this week I deliberated quite hard about which picture I should blog next. I am really pleased with some of my landscapes from Thurstaton beach on the Dee Estuary from a couple of weekends ago (of which this is one) but want to break things up a bit. I am very aware that I am in danger of focussing primarily on landscapes, which is not a bad thing as most photographers specialize, but this is not going to help me develop my skills. I would love to take some more portraits but need to find some willing victims; you can’t just take pictures of complete strangers and stick them on the Internet without getting some sort of consent. But I digress (yet again)… Anyway, I thought the face paint picture was quite cute and different to what I have posted of late so decided to go with that one. This is the point at which things went a bit mental. First, was an e-mail from one of the Editors at WordPress (thanks guys!) saying that they had decided to feature my blog post on the site’s front page; in other words that they had chosen to highlight my blog of the hundreds of thousands of others, many of which are far more witty, insightful, campaigning, and intelligent then this will probably ever be. What their criteria for choosing is I don’t know; I’d like to think that it’s not a random process and that it wasn’t simply ‘my turn’ and I like to kid myself that maybe someone really liked the picture or what I wrote or both. I’ll probably never know but thanks anyway.

One of the great things about WordPress is that it provides the blogger with statistics showing how many unique views a particular post has had each day. Recently, I got very excited when almost 100 people read my blog in one day. However, following appearing on the WordPress front page I experienced 4595 unique views in the 24-hour period that my post was centre stage. Not only does has this demonstrated the power of WordPress to me it has also demonstrated that most human beings, wherever they live or what whatever their background are genuine, kind and supportive. I have had comments from all corners of the world that have been warm, supportive and generous and I thank you all! Again, you have proved to me that perhaps I do have a talent for this and that is worth persevering. How many of these people will come back though is the more interesting proposition. I have no idea how many of those people have bookmarked this blog or added it to their blogroll. If you have I thank you! And if you let me know I will endeavour to do the same.

Interestingly, many of the comments were from people of a similar age to me who have also taken up photography relatively late. This set me wondering as to why that is and I can only conclude that it’s only when we reach our later 30s and early 40s that we start to feel comfortable in our own skin. Maybe by this time we have done the things we are supposed to do be it get married/find a partner, have kids, travel the world, realise that work is a means to an end and that sometimes its actually a relief to let go of the greasy pole of career and ambition. Some things in life are more important. Health. Happiness. Love. Friendship. I used to beat myself up about why is was that I it had taken me so long to find photography as a hobby but I think the truth is that I wasn’t ready for it; also, if another truth be told, there was no such thing as digital photography and traditional darkroom photography was a mystical art. At the age of 42 I think I have finally worked out who I am, what I am good at and what my limitations are and once you have worked this out you can relax a bit.

The world at the moment is a pretty scary place. My 9-year old son (despite his interest in all things army related) is very aware of the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq and they upset him. My daughter is the ‘eco warrior’ for her class at school and is constantly berating me for ‘killing polar bears’ if I leave a light on. The earthquake in Haiti has reminded us all of the fragility of human life. But, at the same time, the world is a beautiful, amazing place full primarily of ordinary decent, honest human beings who do not (in the main) make judgements based on skin-colour, accent, dress sense or hairstyle. You know these people – they are your friends, neighbours and work colleagues.

Today’s picture is a seascape taken on the mudflats of Thurstaton on the Dee Estuary, The Wirral, England, UK. I think it’s beautiful. I hope you do to.


Makeover madness

Cheek detail, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

Something a little different today before I drag you all kicking and screaming back to the landscapes. First, it’s a picture with an actual real-life person in it (my daughter) and second, it’s a picture that was not taken with the wide-angle lens (which has proved especially hard to put down since it cost so much). Many moons ago in my post ‘Nifty fifty’ which appeared somewhere right at the start of the blog I eulogised about the cheap Canon 50mm prime lens and how wonderful it was for portraits and getting great depth of field. Since then I have used it quite a lot for pictures of the family but I haven’t blogged a picture taken with this lens for some time.

So here it is. On Saturday my daughter went to her friend’s ‘makeover and pampering party’ and it appears to me that the life of your average 7-year-old girl is a never-ending whirl of parties and social engagements. On picking her up I was surprised to find that my daughter had been replaced with a seemingly older child with nail varnish, hair extensions and a rather interesting facial disfiguration. It’s also fair to say that she had gone for one of the more ‘subtle’ looks on offer. Of course, knowing full well that it would have to to be washed off come bath time, she asked me to photograph her new look for posterity.

It is said by many, and to a certain extent I agree, that children, especially girls, grow up to early nowadays. Certainly, in our celebrity-obsessed culture they seem to be under increasing pressure to be slim, beautiful and able to sing and dance at a moments notice. You are expected to know about High School Musical, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Camp Rock (featuting that strange phenomenon known as The Jonas Brothers) or face being ostracised from your peer group. Thankfully, my daughter seems to be quite level-headed and sensible and has realised quite quickly that feigning interest can be just as acceptable (don’t tell anyone but she doesn’t actually like Miley Cyrus that much). She seems to have a huge group of friends and works hard to ensure that circle is maintained through choir, dance classes, musical instruments, gift and card giving, friendship bracelets, etc, etc.

My son on the other hand has fewer friends but it appears that his friendships are closer. Not being any good at football has had an impact, but thankfully there are many kindred spirits who are as au fait with the world of X-Box, Doctor Who and trench warfare as he is. Maybe this is a basic difference between girls and boys and I have wasted many hours trying to figure out a certain dichotomy that exists in that my daughter, the social butterfly with a wide circle of friends, finds it a lot more difficult to interact with people she doesn’t know than my son who doesn’t think twice about walking up to an unfamiliar child and striking up a conversation/friendship. If, as a family, we’re on a beach my son will make a friend within minutes and be off playing cricket with some another family’s children, whilst my daughter will take hours to build up the confidence to join in. Of course the answer is that it’s just human nature; we are all at the mercy of our own genetic make ups and maybe first-born children have that period on their own when they have to strike-up friendships? Second-born children always have the lead of their elder sibling to follow, which can perhaps result in a lack of confidence.

Of course the wearing of a mask or disguise can do wonders for your confidence and the little girl who came home from the party with a painted face & nails and purple hair extensions was a supremely confident individual. Unfortunately, it all washed off in the bath.

As for the image, I like the shallow depth of field with the eye and design in sharp focus and the hair and ear (and, thankfully, the purple hair extensions) becoming blurred in the background. I really must do more with this lens as I have been focussed more on wide open spaces (as the rest of this week will no doubt show) than intimate close ups. Comments are always welcome on any of my ramblings…


Runaground

Runaground, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

Was burning the midnight oil last night going through all the pictures I took on the mudflats of Thurstaton beach on The Wirral. As posted previously it was one of those days when things seemed to go right and I think I’ve got some really good shots. Unfortunately, following wrangling the kids into bed, cooking tea, eating tea (or dinner if you are poncey) watching ‘Mock The Week’ & The 10 o’clock News, I did not have much time to spend on the photos and didn’t get that far into them before I had to retire to bed. Of the few I have looked at so far I think that this is probably the best, but I am hoping that better are to come. It seems to me that whenever I go out with the camera my photographs tend to improve as the day progresses.

This could be for several reasons: it could be because it takes me a while to get warmed up; it could be because the light changes as the day progresses; it could be that I get ‘in the zone’ [apologies but couldn’t think of a better way of expressing it]. Either way, the longer I take the better the pictures I seem to take. This picture was taken very early around mid afternoon but has the look of a picture taken much later. I’m not sure if its the cloud cover or the darkness of the mud (I can’t really call it sand as I was up to my knees in it and it was most definitely estuary mud). Luckily for me, although it was a rainy day it seemed to only rain on the other side of the estuary (ie in North Wales) and I have high hopes that some of my other photos will have captured this. Anyhow, I’ll be working on the rest of them this weekend with a view to uploading more and blogging about them next week.

I think that I like the ‘texture’ of this photo the mud is slimy, the boat is weathered and the clouds are fluffy. I also like the fact that the horizon seems to go on forever. This pictures was taken with my 10-20mm wide-angle lens and although it has been cropped it still has that cinematic sweep that you only get with a super wide angle. This lens has changed my photography so much, particularly my landscapes, that it has made me realise that sometimes it’s worth saving that little bit extra to pay for quality. Still no near getting that macro though; and I think a decent zoom might need to come first anyhow.

Speaking of cinematic [spot the seamless link] the Oscars were announced this week and I must admit to being underwhelmed. Whilst I can marvel at Avatar’s technical brilliance and appreciate why it’s my 9-year old son’s favourite film (100 out of 10 in case you are interested) it’s still Dances With Wolves in Space. I did really enjoy The Hurt Locker, particularly as I like films that ratchet the tension up to 11 but at the same time I found it impersonal with no female characters to connect to (unless you count a brief cameo by LOST’s Evangeline Lilly) and no real insight about what drives someone towards a career in bomb disposal. However, the biggest disappointment me for me was the best Actor nominations. Jeff Bridges probably will win (nominated 5 times before without winning); Colin Firth probably should win; Morgan Freeman’s accent slips too often for him to win; Jeremy Renner is great in The Hurt Locker but the role has little emotional clout – the character is too dulled by the horrors of war. George Clooney is brilliant in Up In The Air but isn’t he just playing George Clooney? The reason for my disappointment is that Sam Rockwell was not even nominated for Moon, possibly the best film I saw last year and certainly the best acting performance. Maybe it was too niche, too low budget, maybe the studio didn’t send out DVD screeners to the Academy voters; for whatever reason it’s a shame. Rockwell’s performance in Moon is a cut above all of those named previously. Get it on DVD and you’ll see what I mean. At least it’s Director Duncan ‘Zowie Bowie’ Jones has been BAFTA nominated…

I seem to have digressed again with that little rant but at least film is a linked discipline to photography. Comments as always are more than welcome. Until the next time…


One man and his dog (and Gormley)

Man and dog and Gormley, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

The more observant among you will have noticed that I changed the layout of the blog. One of the great things about WordPress (apologies for the shameless plug) is that idiots like me can construct a photoblog and get it up and running in seconds. This new theme is a bit more contemporary and, dare I say it, a bit more sexy; not to mention modern and shiny looking. Nearly a year ago, the pro photographer that I spent a day with urged me to start writing a blog or diary as it was the best way of tracking my progress. This was the result and, after only 9 and a bit months, it has already proved its worth in terms of generating interest and meeting new contacts.

One of the other new-fangled inventions that I use regularly is Twitter. Now Twitter is one of those things that you either ‘get’ or ‘don’t get’. I know many people who use it brilliantly to make people laugh (@serafinowicz, for example), to make people angry about the Daily Mail culture that we are now living in (@antonvowl, @uponnothing), to promote local businesses and things to do with the kids on a wet weekend (@didsburylife, @kidsguide, respectively). Twitter is a very powerful tool and there is also a thriving community of photographers using it to promote their blogs, point people towards their Flickr streams or just share photographs with friends. Yesterday I read a brilliant blog post on why photographers should use Twitter and you can read it here. Many thanks to @smashandpeas for the original blog post and @LightStalking for pointing me in its direction.

It is often said (and I am sure that its a sweeping generalisation) that young people don’t get Twitter; in fact I read recently that the average age of people that tweet is 31 which would seem to support this view. And while it is true there are a lot of ‘I am having my lunch’ or ‘I am sitting on the bus’ tweets there is also a lot of laughter, discussion, thought provocation, bubble pricking, truth-finding, channelled anger, political comment and, yes, really great photography. Twitter only works if you are focused on getting your message across as concisely as possible (there is a 140 character limit on all tweets) and have something interesting to say. People who say nothing apart from telling you what they have had for lunch are often cut loose (or unfollowed) and it is these people who think that Twitter doesn’t work, is pointless or will contend that it’s a passing fad. I myself must hold my hand up and say that I am guilty of tweeting the mundane but I try to be funny, witty and erudite most of the time.

The Twitterverse (sorry, but I couldn’t think of a better word) has real power; think about the political dissent in Iran – it is only via Twitter that we know that there is a young, switched-on, tech savvy generation of Iranians that do not agree with their political leaders on every issue; think about how Jan Moir of the Daily Mail was exposed as a homophobic bigot following Stephen Gately’s tragic death.

It is thanks to Twitter, or more importantly my friend @uncouthamerican, that I am in the position of framing some of my photos to hang in a small gallery space. This is proving to be a very difficult process as I just cannot decide what to include. I find myself changing my mind on an almost hourly basis. Pictures that my wife really likes I’m a bit less confident in and vice versa. Should I try and theme them or is an eclectic mix better? To try and help make the decision I asked friends on facebook to suggest their favourites but this didn’t really work either as everyone suggested different pictures and pictures that I hadn’t even considered. It seems that beauty or ugliness for that matter really is in the eye of the beholder and this was proved beyond doubt with the reaction to my lighthouse picture (the one where I was playing about with spot colour) which people either loved or hated.

Thankfully, there are a few pictures that everyone agrees on and this seems to be one (sorry I’ve taken so long to get to this point). It’s probably not the most striking of the pictures that I took in Crosby but it is probably the one I like the most. I think, and this is only a theory, that it’s the human element that lifts it. I took this picture on one of the coldest days of the Winter and although I was on Crosby beach for almost 3 hours saw barely a living soul apart from this man and his dog. Presumably a Crosby resident he must be as used to the Gormley statues now as if they have always been there. And while I, the visiting photographer, was marvelling at their beauty and power – especially when coupled with stunning winter skies – the dog walker shrugged his shoulders, pulled in his neck against the cold and carried on with his 4-legged friend. In other words, I think that I might have made a decision about one picture at least.


Hill view with fluffy white clouds

Hill view, originally uploaded by Zardoz67.

It’s February already and today’s date 01/02/2010 is a palindrome (reads the same backwards as forwards) which must be a good sign. To be honest January went a bit too quickly for my liking although it was certainly eventful what with the extreme weather and the developments on the photography front. To recap, January saw acceptance of some of my images into a large photo library, a connection made through twitter that has lead to some exciting projects to get my teeth into and a gradual realisation that there are people out there who genuinely like what I do and who read the blog regularly. So results all round. I think therefore the key word for February is going to be ‘collaboration’ as may well be undertaking my first commissioned work this month. I also hope to press on with selecting and framing more pictures and have asked all my friends on facebook to select their favourites with a view to whittling the field down somewhat; however, as it’s all subjective I am getting some suggestions that I would not have contemplated myself.

Today’s picture is a landscape taken last week in leafy Cheshire. The great thing about my workplace being located in Bollington (despite the daily commute from Chester) is that it is only minutes away from the countryside. Last week was a very hectic one at work and sometimes the only way I have of escaping the stresses and strains of office life is to get out at lunchtime and take some pictures, no matter how few. When I took this picture I had in my mind that it was going to show that Spring is on its way – the sky is blue, the grass is green, the clouds are fluffy – but overnight it has snowed again and the temperature is back below zero; nevertheless I think it’s quite a nice picture, primarily because of the clouds.

Yesterday (Sunday 31st January) I managed to get out with the camera and headed for Thurstaton on the Dee Estuary. As usual I ended up taking loads of pictures and have got quite a good feeling about them as things seemed to go well; in fact the location, the lighting and the general vibe were very reminiscent of the Crosby beach shoot which probably ranks as one of my best so far. I have written in the past about how sometimes things just go right (or wrong depending on the frame of mind) but it has also been heartening that friends have suggested framing up some of my pictures from the shoot I did on the River Dee in Chester one early Saturday morning, a shoot (you may remember) in which, to my mind at least, almost everything went wrong.

In Thurstaton, despite wearing wellies, I ended up knee-deep in estuary mud and also covered in it so I hope the pictures are going to be worth it. I seem to be getting into the habit of getting wet, falling down holes and getting covered in sand/mud on a regular basis but like to think that this is helping to improve the photographs – some of my best pictures have been taken whilst going out on a limb, dangling precariously or knee deep in water, so much so that my wife has suggested buying me some fisherman’s waders for my birthday or maybe that’s a fetish thing 😉

I often ask myself ‘what am I trying to achieve in my photography?’ and I suppose the answer is simple: either to capture things and places that have probably never been captured before or to make the familiar seem fresh/unfamiliar. Whether I am succeeding or not I will leave up to you good people