Monday, 22 May 2017

International Serendipity


Thanks to gentle Southerly breezes and clearing skies, the early temperature soon rose to the low 20's C ... the warmest day of our year so far.

It seemed like a good day for the sixth of our Staycation Excursions to local tourist attractions. At breakfast we leafed through our collection of publicity brochures and chose this one, just half an hour away by bus. Note the title!

An hour earlier I had been checking some of my favourite blogs, two of them were overnight postings from the USA.

Dave Lawrence [Jackson Michigan]had published an interview with Steve Gray, a photographer from Hertfordshire whilst CJ Chilvers [Chicago Illinois] featured a book published by a small company in Shoreditch, London.

As this one was new to me, The Do Books Company, I  checked out [and ordered!] CJ's recommended title before browsing the rest of their site. Wow! This is truly MY type of publisher in so many ways.

My closing photo is from their page promoting Embrace the Unexpected by Robert Paynton ... sorry, couldn't find a photographer credited ... but I liked the active street scene, even although I couldn't recognise the location.

So there you have it. Within a couple of hours TWO references to expecting the unexpected, TWO American bloggers featuring British creatives from the South of England on the same day ... one about books/small business and the other about photography.

An intriguing start to an enjoyable day out in hazy, hot sunshine. us
P.S.  Owing to quirks in Blogger, what I create and layout on my screen is not always what appears on publication. Sorry about that and I am too PC illiterate to know how to fix it. Despite this, please stop by again soon.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Photo Journaling Week 1


I am a person of average intelligence but limited abilities, Combine these with a low threshold of boredom and a laid back attitude and they create a thin veneer of knowledge about a wide range of things with hopefully, a little more depth about a few of them.

For instance, I have a fascination for ... and experience of ... small business entrepreneurship, books across a broad spectrum   of genres and subjects, art and photography. I deliberately leave aside the softer elements of 'emotional intelligence', feelings and relationships for this post, despite being OK at most of these too.

So that's where I am coming from and it is outlined here to help create a perspective for what follows.

The internet offers many examples from photographers who have embarked on '365 pictures projects' involving a shot a day for a year. This would have been too expensive for me in the days of film and chemicals but is now very affordable and, unless you print your results, almost free with digital gear. That meant I no longer had any excuse for not walking the talk on this as a project proposal.


I have kept journals, on and off, for well over half a century in a wide variety of book formats. With a nomadic lifestyle involving frequent house moves, it has been essential to develop a zen like attitude to possessions. hence the habit has been to ditch and destroy each previous one when starting a new book.

A couple of journals actually made it into print as self published books for my own pleasure and family. Such photobook creation is now an expense too far, I DO have one which has survived my frequent book culls. It has plenty of photographs and very few words to invoke some fascinating scenes of Italy.

Raffaeele Celantano has a street scene, reportage style that is almost timeless and, from him, I learned to move in close and use a wide angle lens. I discovered his work at an exhibition in Sorrento a few years ago.

ars vivendi 2008 ISBN 978-3-89716-807-7

the text is in German but the pictures speak anyway
More next Friday, if all goes to plan,  Until then, what motivates YOU and is it time to start your own new project, whatever it may be and wherever it may take you? Unless you try, you may never know.

Thanks for being here. 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

I wasn't expecting this.

Field Notes Brand publicity shot May 2017
It IS Field Notes, but not as we know it.

All the details of this ever-so-limited edition of 'old school exam books' are on their email to subscribers.

Full marks for always coming up with a happy creative difference guys.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Mists of Time

 This was actually a bit of a wake up call I suppose.

Several years ago I made an album of the dozen or so ships that I had sailed on between 1956 and 1966.

That album, like the originals of my photos has long gone. I scanned the pictures from various internet sources and printed on normal A4 photo paper here at home.

As a spare time project I have decided to recreate this record of my maritime years and, as a first step, bought this postcard from an eBay seller.

My point today is not about the ship but about the sheer tactile and visual delight of handling a picture on genuine, heavyweight, photographic paper with its wonderfully deep contrasts and clear definition. It has been way too long since I last experienced the utter quality of genuine film and chemistry based, monochrome photographic prints.
At my desk May 22nd 2017 0630 Hrs

My budget is severely restricted these days so, of course, I enjoy the cheapness of digital-everything compared with the costs of the way we were. So, although it may take a while, I aim to seek out REAL photographs for the new album.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Staycation Journal Happening Now

 I am using a low-cost, flexible approach to the journal of our 2017 Staycation/weekly excursions. The idea is to hit one local attraction per week using our bus passes and having a budget that'll average £20 a visit/day between us.

So far we have limited to indoor destinations until the weather warms up and the wind drops. We've been to Margate Shell Grotto, Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine's Shrine in Ramsgate and Ramsgate Tunnels. We retrurned to the town as it was open day at Pugin's [pronounced pew-gin] gorgeous house.

Back to the journal then.

The medium is a delightful Mini Album from The Range. It has 36 pages of slip-in pictures or documents. Best of all it was only £2.50

Of course this is no use if you prefer to write a journal when you are out and about. I find it ideal because I prefer to write stuff up after the event.

I use normal A4 paper which offers plenty of scope and, by creating a 5 x 7 text box in the top left hand corner I can fold it to present the 'first page' which goes on the right with pictures on the left and bits of ephemera tucked in behind.

I collage my pictures using good old fashioned cut and paste techniques with scissors and glue stick which are then scanned and reduced to 5 x 7" format.

Maybe I should let these pictures do the talking here. Of course there is no right or wrong way to create a journal or anything else, there is only the way that is right for you and that harms nobody.

Travel safely. Travel light. Live light and be the light. Travel not to escape life but to ensure that life doesn't escape us.

Found the final photograph on the Scription site where Patrick Ng, prolific user of Instagram and regular traveler, offers regular lifestyle updates. Here he says he 'met a quiet Sunday afternoon at home' by framing ephemera from his various travels.
Beats dumping it in a rubbish bin and could offer a viable alternative to keeping a bound journal or, with a bit of collage photocopying, as an addition to your travel souvenir stash.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Weekend Coincidence and Irony

Photo by 17 Oct 2016
Very early yesterday morning I was meandering around blog sites whilst getting my first caffeine fix. 

I landed on David Lawrence's blog for Friday 12th May where it became apparent that he and I had hit on the same topic for our postings... 'Project Planning'. It was also where he mentioned another post that I had previously missed from ... dead/

Having got my synapses in a twist when adding an erroneous caption to one of Dave's I was intrigued by Johnny's caption to this photo. It went like this: LeicaM2+Leica Summicron-M500m f2 [Kodak Tri-X 400 in XTOL over exposed by one stop, overdeveloped by one stop]

Now that's what I call an eye for detail bordering on the obsessive! Back in the day [around 1952] when I used black and white films and had a home darkroom, I could hardly recall where I was at the time, let alone all this gubbins.

Now for the irony. Johnny used this picture [below] to head up his post. I would have expected someone with his eye for detail to use a state of the art exposure meter or, at the very least the guide that is always printed on, or in, a film box.

Cheat Sheet from J.Patience Esq.
But no. He uses what looks suspiciously like a Field Notes pocket book as a cheat sheet. Now THAT I can understand ... even altho it is still way more techno than my 'set it to infinity at 1/250th at f8 - unless it is sunnier or gloomier and then adjust the speed up or down a notch'. This may explain why my professional photography career was rather truncated.

So he is a notebook using human after all!

As for captions, some people say that a great photograph should speak for itself and needs no caption. When I was editing magazines I always created a style journal for staff and one rule was that every photo must have a caption and credit the photographer's name. Maybe they don't teach this stuff in 'meejia studies' at university [Sorry! 'Uni'] these days?

My caption for that header pic would be 'Sunday Morning at the Coffee Shop' and, speaking of coffee ... after all, this stuff about the details and captions is never as important as 'regular Americano to drink in please'.
Ramsgate Sea Front Wednesday May 10 2017
Canon Ixus 70 digital
Set on auto everything

Photo by Colin

Friday, 12 May 2017

What's Your Current Project?

 I have worked with a few people who were always talking about 'the next big thing' around which they would create a 'scheme' or 'project' to create a vast fortune.

Most were really impractical, some were immoral and a few were downright illegal so it is fortunate that none was ever launched. 

Instead, their originators got into earning a living in a tick-tock 9 to 5 job helping someone else to get rich or, making babies, or both. That's when projects concerned weeding the garden, household DIY and car repairs and schemes were just the stuff of dreams.

One of my seafaring buddies and I came up with one project idea that might have happened if we had been able to find the courage take the plunge. 

We were on a tanker making regular trips between Rotterdam and various Italian ports. The idea involved buying used Riva speedboats in Italy where they were in plentiful supply, shipping them back one at a time as deck cargo when we could restore them during our off-watch periods and then flog them in the UK via signing up 2nd.hand car- dealers. Yes, daft I know but in my early twenties on the midnight to 0400 watch, such ideas tend to grow beyond all proportion. 

Whilst trolling the web for pictures of the classic Riva boats [I still lust after one] I came across Brigitte Bardot photographed aboard hers which had been a birthday gift from husband Roger Vadim. My male readers of a certain age may understand the notion of lust in a less wholesome context which was quite normal in the 1950's.

I never did get to meet BB nor to own a Riva, although I did get to ride one in Venice a few years ago.

Oh yes! That project idea is that you should always have one as chewing gum for your mind during otherwise boring flights or rail trips or even when on a long drive. Planning such flights of fancy can help you get off to sleep or provide escapement from the stresses of the real world. The only condition is that they must always be  different from your current responsibilities and essential tasks that need your priority.

Don't expect them to come to pass - although one might make it. I guess you'll never know for sure unless you try. 

Sweet Dreams and thanks for your time.

P.S. I just had an amazingly superlative project idea whilst writing this. 

P.P.S. A fully restored 1938 Riva will cost you at least €500,000.