Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Friendly Reminder

Tomorrow is June 1st.

This is six months since New Year.

Could be a good day to think about the resolutions you made back then.

If you didn't keep any it could be that you simply set the wrong ones.

There is no law that says they have to be set on January 1 anyway.

Think about what you want, what you really, really want.

Then take one action every day with this in mind.

A good place to start is to buy, read, learn and inwardly digest a book on The Law of Attraction.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Books and another bit of serendipity

painting by
Last Monday I revealed how a blog entry from C J Chilvers in USA led me to buy a book from a small UK publishing house.

I don't usually do book reviews here, so I'll just tell  you that I ordered the recommended book and it arrived last week.

Brilliant author and entrepreneur David Hieatt has such an unusual name that it was lodged somewhere in the back of my increasingly unreliable memory.

As soon as I read the back story for his own company, Hiut Denim Co, I recalled that I once subscribed to his entertaining blog and newsletter. 

More about the book another time. If you can't wait, search

Visit and hit the blog button to find enough entertaining video clips on a broad variety of topics to while away the next passing springtime rain shower. Sign up for their free newsletter while you are there and they'll send you a link to download a free pdf of their first year book. This magazine, heavy on photos, graphics and short articles is now in its 4th edition. Well worth a read.

Thanks again to CJ Chilvers and also to Peter at Start Bay Notebooks for the link to this header picture which has absolutely nothing to do with the words. It just pleased me. So did this  one courtesy of Paperblanks blog. 
A gentle reminder ...
I am a blogger, not a peddler. 
This means that any products mentioned in these posts is there from my own enthusiasm for them and they earn their place on merit ... free of any fee, reward, sales pitch or commercial consideration on my part.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Photo Journaling Week2

Welcome to the second phase of my approach to photo journaling ... the first was here last Friday May 19th.

The objective is to address a few of the snags that stop people  having a go or that result in them giving up after a few days or weeks. There are many sites with ideas of what to journal about and what to photograph, so those topics are off limits here. Similarly, I have no intention of devising a log-book that lists reams of details about the photos you take.

This time out I offer you some ideas based on other photo journaling approaches. Never to imitate of course, but to use their success strategies as models.

Before we get to that, I have a couple of points about motivation. I simply forgot to include them last week.

The ONLY effective and lasting motivation in any endeavour must come from within. So do your photojournal because you want to. Not because you have been told to. Yes. It is OK to be 100% selfish about this! Only you can identify what you want out of it and how you aim to use it. In my own case I have no intention of creating my photojournal for publication or to leave as a legacy. It exists simply to try out a concept which I believe to be original. Well, at least I haven't discovered it anywhere else so far.
Photo via Google Search

If you put your journal out on social media or on line as a blog, do take sensible precautions to stay safe. One or two that I have seen almost gave out the writer's home address, or offered enough clues regarding family, friends and location to amuse a stalker or weirdo with malicious intent. So yes, a journal has to be personal by definition, but if you go on line with it as part of a 365 or Daily Prompt project ... please proceed with care.

At this time next Friday I hope to look at some of the resources that you may need to consider.

This picture cropped up during one of my web surfing sessions and I'd love to give it a credit, just cannot remember where I found it. It is here for a little light relief as your reward for reading this wordy post and because it makes me feel good.

Happy dreaming and planning ... now if I had a chalet like this .....but I DO have the sea less than 200 metres away [when the tide is in, add another half mile when its out]so I shouldn't complain.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A note for notebook and journal lovers

As part of our 2017 'staycation' we took a trip to nearby Quex Park with its amazing museum and Quex House, home of the Powell-Cotton Family.

Two particular items caught my eye, in amongst all the bigger and more dramatic stuff. In one of the many show cases of explorers' artefacts there was an opened page of a pocket notebook, truly a Field Notes book which any user of the Field Notes Brand would instantly recognise. Similarly, a modern photographer would be familiar with the circa 1920 box cameras and film boxes displayed in a nearby case.

Then, in the house, there is a desk with a bound journal and a display note nearby saying that the occupant 'had kept a journal as a boy, a daily habit that he maintained whilst at sea on an East Indiaman and resumed thereafter until his death'.

I find it odd how my attention is unconsciously drawn to such artefacts and how often they appear in unexpected places.

If you come to Thanet, be sure to take in a visit to Birchington and The Powell Cotton Museum, Quex House and the Gardens.

Meanwhile, the closing photo by an unknown lensman - or lenswoman - almost  reflects my own passage through journaling media. A hefty leather ledger beneath a quarto notebook, beneath an A4 book and topped off by a Moleskine pocketbook.
Generic notebook shot from internet

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.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Watch Stuff

The Friday before last, on May 28, I posted this picture of a Chicago Camera Shop which reminded me so 
much of the places that existed in every town when I was growing up.

I have had an email from Dave Lawrence [link over on My Bloggers' Hall of Fame] pointing out that I had erroneously credited the picture to one Eric Kim. I clearly had a moment of mental aberration because the photograph is by none other than Dave Lawrence. I have now corrected the caption.

No excuses! My own daftness! I had been checking out Eric before getting lost in the enjoyment of, and admiration for, Dave's archive and became confused.

Three  big lessons for us all here! Use your own photos instead of borrowing them from other people and, if you do become inspired to use theirs then always give them credit correctly. And ALWAYS give credit whenever you use a picture.

By the way, I temporarily added Eric K to my blog list but, after a couple of weeks deleted it because of the sheer volume of his postings ... sometimes three in a day. I also dislike his frequent use of the sort of language that I expected to hear when I was seafaring, but not to read in print. Not then, not now, not ever. My apologies if any of you came across his indelicate choice of words by accidentally linking to his site.

Now to happier matters!

No, my wristwatch is not / was not a £200 Armani but, a similar looking black faced piece by an outfit called Neon.

It was good for a tenner until the night it stopped and even a new battery couldn't give it the kiss of life.

I was reminded of my 12th birthday when my Dad spent the equivalent of one week of his wages £7.10.6d to buy me this Kelton watch as a reward for passing my 11+ scholarship exam in 1949.

It was clockwork of course and I was warned not to over-wind it, or turn the hands backwards or submerge it in water under pain of mortal sin or, at least, invalidating the generous 12 month guarantee.

A few years later at sea, it gave way to an Omega and then a Favre Leuba ... a self winding ton of chrome metal and, of course a black face and  bright enough luminous paint to cause a nuclear radio active scare. For over 20 years I owned an expensive gold plated Raymond Weil timepiece where only genuine straps would fit at £60 per pop along with, 'we recommend an annual clean and service Sir'.  Yeah! Recommend away!

And so to last week. I treated myself to another amazing timepiece. Here it is. And, in a better light, below.

The final picture shows its source and price. I don't expect it to last long, so I bought three of them while I was in the mood.

I took this shot - all others on this post are from
files on the the internet.
Now when was the last time that you actually noticed  someone who  was wearing a watch that cost them north of six figures? And if you did, then did you care? As long as they felt good about it we should be happy for them I suppose.

So banish any thoughts of a fool and his money or of more money than sense.

As for the golden coloured 'dress watch' of last summer ... it was donated to a charity shop as I couldn't read the time in anything approaching direct sunshine. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

A Photographer's Embarrassment

No, not this portrait below which is actually from my first ever passport photo way back in 1947. In fact it's kinda cute but would not meet today's high security requirements.

Neither is it the xillions of photos that I have taken around the world since the first ones in that same year with my first camera. 

In fact I had NEVER felt embarrassed at anything photographic ... until last month.

That's when I ventured out to learn to use the camera on my smart phone for the first time. Holding a real camera up to my eye seems natural. It even felt OK holding a medium format film camera at waist level. I eventually made the transition [mentally kicking and screaming] from analogue film to digital. 

At least the hold and stance were similar.
But, out in public, holding something that looks disturbingly like my deceased Dad's old cigarette case, at arms length and trying to see an image in bright sunlight on a flat screen? Aw! C'mon! That's no way to appear in public!

Almost as embarrassing as poor old John Sergeant must have felt. What a shame it was to see this once competent and professional veteran tv commentator reduced to clown like credibility. I don't mean his excruciating appearances on Strictly Come Dancing. I mean that fortunately short-lived series of a few years before, where he revisited some iconic sites to picture them with a modern take. 

What idiot of a producer allowed John to adopt a low 'knees bent crouch' to look through the viewfinder or screen of an obviously digital camera whilst the special effects department over dubbed a mechanical click from an analogue camera? And for EVERY faked shot too.This truly was a laugh a minute and not for the right reasons. 

But even his public humility was nothing compared with how I felt attempting to take photos with a phone. It just ain't natural.

As for selfies ... no way! Let's not even go there!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Dan, Dan,The Journal Man

 I do not often - if ever - recommend that you buy a book. This time out I make an exception for this very small and unusual book, just 5 inches wide x 6" high. It only has 118 pages which are all hand-written and of which you can safely ignore the last 32 which are, frankly, fillers to make it look thicker. But at 1p plus Amazon's £2.80 postal charge it really IS a 2nd hand bargain. It was first printed in 1999.

What Dan Price has created here, apart from its unusual format, is what I consider to be one of the most practical, effective and down to earth books about starting and keeping a journal. No psychological or philosophical bulldust here. He tells it like it is.

If you want to find out the basics, or need a kick up your fulcrum to get back into the journaling mode, this will fit the bill.

And no, in case you are wondering, I was not paid for this endorsement ... this blog is always ad-free. 

To give you a taster, here are the first 4 pages which show you what to expect. Sorry old chap if this breaches your copyright! 

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Viva la Vivi Revisited

This posting from CJ Chilvers sent me to the recesses of my toy box.

I still had this once loved little object of desire. I had owned several and then sold them on. Stupid boy! This one remained because, although it worked fine, it was too shabby to be flogged on eBay.

It was 2012 when I wrote this book all about the Vivitar UWS ... a lightweight plastic box with absolutely zero gadgetry. 
It was cheap and had an incredibly wide 22mm lens. It was fun and the results were unpredictable.

I had kept the book on file so copied a few pages to share here. When I have finished drafting this post I shall head on over to eBay to see how much a cassette of 35mm film will cost.