Friday, 15 October 2010

Exciting New Toy!

Ah well it's been a while since I've posted on here. To be honest for health reasons and lack of time I have not been out with my camera in quite a long time. Too long!
I have however, after watching the documentary on tigers recently, bought a trail camera.

The general idea was if I could capture any wildlife on video with the trail camera, I could then have an idea what to expect, and what time said animal was out and about so I could then set up a hide for me and my SLR.
I set the trail camera up in the woods at the back of my property and set it to 30sec video captures and was lucky enough to capture some muntjac deer on a couple of videos and one of a fox although unfortunately Mr Fox didn't come out of hiding until the timer had nearly run out!

The second attempt a few nights later wasn't quite so successful. My brother and I set up the camera in another clearing and although we got something in the region of 15 video captures, they were all of one very lucky grey squirrel stealing all the peanuts we had left out. That's one squirrel that wont go hungry this winter!

It's all been tremendous fun (and more than a little addictive) and I'm already saving for another Trail Camera - this time in HD!

No sign of any tigers yet though.......

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Photo Auction

Apologies for the lack of new posts recently, I decided rather than go on about my health etc here on what is after all a photographic blog, I would create another blog covering my health issues and renal related subjects, and that has taken me away from here somewhat!

I am currently experimenting with Ebay as a means to auction off some of my photographic prints in aid of The British Kidney Patients Association. All profits after cost will go to the charity. This is a worthy cause and one obviously close to my heart!
Anyway the first of the prints is live now at: eBay

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Late night ravings of a mentalist Pt II

After reading through my previous post a couple of times and the tone of some of the others, I'm going to give the flip side of things tonight!
Living with Kidney Failure is a challenge there's no doubt about it. Some days it takes all my effort just to put on a brave face and err... face the day ahead, trying not to show how I actually feel.

But overall? When I look back over my life and take a long hard look at myself I realise that there were times - even years that went by where I was foolish, selfish and narrow minded. Not able to see beyond my own wants and needs. And I hurt a lot of people along the way.
My kidney failure changed all that. I slowly but surely began to see things from a different point of view.
I've seen much worse off people than me, I've seen much braver people than me, I've seen people giving up tremendous things for the ones they love - without question or want of recourse.

And been well and truly humbled and put in my place.

I like to think that although it is a terrible thing to happen to someone, I wouldn't be the person I am today without my kidney failure and all that has transpired along the way.

And that is: Someone that I like.

It's no longer all about me and what I want, although I still have hopes and aspirations (I at last realise no-one resents me for those), life for me now is more about how I can get both the most out of life and also help those whom I care about.

I no longer cast my thoughts inward (so much) anymore, but rather spend a whole lot more time and energy trying to see other people's points of view and trying to help solve their problems. And I'm enjoying it.

I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do sometimes get the distinct feeling that someone is watching over me - and that I occasionally I have been brought to Earth with a bump - with a good few lessons learnt along the way.

So overall I remain upbeat and positive with my occasional weak moment (I think we're all entitled to those...) and will confront the future with my head held high - although occasionally with gritted teeth....!

Anyway enough rambling here's another photo from Blakeney:

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Late night ravings of a mentalist

Well its now in the wee hours of Sunday morning and I've just heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. My room is hot and stuffy and after treating myself to a couple of glasses of wine I'm still wide awake. Sometimes my brain or what's left of it is working overtime, flitting from one thing to the next, never really settling on one continuous thought - this is one of those nights!

I don't know how many people actually read my blog and to be honest I'm not too worried, I created it so I had some sort of outflow for my passion for photography, but also for times like this where I feel I have to vent pent up thoughts and emotions.

Something that I find hard to express vocally to those that care about me is that I do struggle emotionally at times. I guess like anyone in my position I don't wish to be an added burden to family and friends who not only have their own worries but also worry more than enough about me already.
So perhaps just putting it in writing/type will help - sort of a catharsis!

So what's bothering me tonight then?
I'm very good at compartmentalizing things and pushing things to one side in order to deal with problems at hand. Dad calls it "bottling it all up". It's a "skill" that's probably kept me sane and relatively upbeat through the years of varying degrees of illness. The down side is that although I've packed these thoughts and emotions away, they are still there waiting to be dealt with at a later date.

Something that I've never really confronted head on is the fact that I'm not a normal person who decides his or her own fate, but rather someone who has to try and make the most of a shitty situation, a situation where you have no control over your overall future.
I'm simply not the person I was before my kidney failure in so far that I will never be able to do a lot of the things that I always dreamed about doing.
I dreamed in the run up and immediately after my first transplant that I would go to Uni and study photography and then travel the world.
I managed the first part - just, after fighting Hodgkins Lymphoma in my final year - which damaged the kidney (the lymphoma not the final year, although it was hard graft!)
For a good few years I have spent the time with a slowly deteriorating kidney helping my parents with their work while I tried to get some level of "fitness" when in fact things became harder and harder due to gradual failure of the kidney ultimately leading to the present where I'm of very limited use to my folks and have to travel to Cambridge 3 times a week for 4 hours treatment just to stay alive, waiting for a transplant that may or may not work.
I've been here before of course and this time I'm not a scared 19 year old, but I am now 34 with bad Gout that seems to strike at any time which I will most likely have for the rest of my life.
Dreams of travelling to far off places seem very distant right now, and as for a career in Landscape and nature photography? Well that may no longer be possible full-time at any rate. It would be a great challenge for a healthy person these days.

So its with an element of sadness but also relief that I write what is turning into an epic post.
Perhaps if I'm lucky enough to get another transplant that works and lucky enough to find someone who will employ someone like me on wage where I'm lucky enough to have a place of my own and lucky enough to be able to treat myself to the occasional holiday abroad with my camera I'll be happy. Maybe, just maybe I might be lucky enough to meet someone on the way who understands my situation and falls hopelessly in love with me!

Oh, and I want a pet dog at some time too!
Not too much to ask for is it?!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Brancaster Staithe

After enjoying Pensthorpe I decided to carry on up to the coast since it was such a fine day, and peculiarly for me I still had some energy left. I pulled into the quay at Brancaster Staithe, attached my 28 - 105mm lens and went for another walk.

At first nothing really sung out to me and I took a few lack-lustre images before retracing my steps and walking round the back to the boat yard where bits of piping, old fishing nets and lobster pots were gathered along with machinery that I can only assume were meant for sifting mussels, since there was also an abundance of empty shells lying around here and there.

The machinery sparked my interest as I thought they may make strong images as low saturation pieces with the rust just showing through, but after having a quick play in Lightroom I decided the images were stronger as they were but with added vignetting.

Two other images that got the same treatment was one of a boat and one of what I guess is a mussel bed.
In all it was worth the extra mileage, though today I've paid the price and I'm crippled! Still, I have the weekend to recover!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Back to Pensthorpe

I was originally planning on going to Pensthorpe Wildfowl Park on the weekend when we are taking part in the food and garden fair, but after thinking about the mass of people and problems parking I went today instead!

Springwatch are filming at the moment so Pensthorpe is even more popular than usual, and I did keep an eye out for the Greater Kate Humble, but alas she was nowhere to be seen...

The weather was bright and beautiful and it was a joy and revelation walking around this time of year. The "wildfowl" are certainly not shy and many were with young so were a bit combative, one goose flapping right up to my leg to show me what's what as I tried to walk past.

There was one fella that caught my eye - a greylag goose poking his head up by the handrail of the first bridge as you leave the viewing centre. Thought it made a great image.

Obviously while I was there I had to get a few pictures of the young chicks, so I attached 150-500mm Big Bertha Lens so as not to intrude and got a few good images

I'm already looking forward to going back

Monday, 31 May 2010

A Day on the Marshes

I had an exceedingly good week last week, and feeling stronger than I have in what feels an age I traveled up the coast to Blakeney Quay on Thursday 20th May and had a walk about on the quay and salt marshes. I totally knackered myself out, but enjoyed every minute of it, recording with my camera as I walked. These are just some of the images captured.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Disaffection.....

So today's the big day. All the political ping pong and empty promises haven't done anything to make my mind up who I'm going to vote for. I'm pretty sure however who I won't be voting for, so that's a start I guess.
It was said to me the other day that it is nigh on impossible to find a honest politician, as even if that person has the best will in the world, he or she must follow the Party line even if they disagree with it - if they wish to have a successful and prolonged career. 'Nuff said.

I'm thoroughly disgusted with the whole expenses scandal, it was the final insult to the public after all the mistakes, dishonesty and incompetence's of the past. I guess this is what happens when any group is left to be self-regulating.

As someone with serious health issues I should be looking for the candidate whose party is promising the least cuts to the Health Service, but all parties if boxed into a corner with no escape (or wriggling room) would have to come clean and tell the truth, and that is cuts will have to be made regardless of which political party wins over. Cuts to all our services not just health.
Tough times ahead for all of us I fear.

Now who was I going to vote for again...?

Anyway now I've thoroughly depressed you, here's a photograph I took in better times to make you feel better

Flower Power!

I think my recent fascination of things floral has my mother slightly concerned that I may have turned to the pink and camp er... camp, but she need not worry I'm just desperate to keep plugging away at my photography even when the body isn't so willing. The good thing about flowers is they don't run off while your trying to photograph them and you don't have to get up at ridiculous o'clock and hike three miles to get that stunning image!
So don't panic just yet mother dearest, all is well.

Now where did I put my fluffy pink slippers....?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Sea Shells

I'm not getting much time to myself these days, certainly not enough to go out and photograph landscapes, added to which I've been having difficulty getting about, but I am determined to keep snapping away when I can! We have a collection of sea shells on display in the dining room so I pilfered them and set up a mini studio in the conservatory. Once again I have desaturated somewhat and added vignetting.
These were some of the results

Thursday, 29 April 2010

More Flowers!

Still not being very mobile, I decided to carry on with the subject of flowers indoors, only treating things a little differently this time. I had envisioned creating black and white studies of tulips inspired by such greats as John Blakemore, but as I experimented I found a rather pleasing effect instead - that of low saturation, something I tried before on some of my Coast scenes.
The photos were taken in the conservatory with a large piece of white paper for background using available light.
Hope you like

Monday, 22 March 2010

BBC iPlayer - Diet or My Husband Dies

BBC iPlayer - Diet or My Husband Dies
Not about photography I know but something else close to my heart - or kidney I should say.
A truly inspiring story about Sam who underwent a rigorous training scheme to lose weight in order to donate a kidney to her husband. Her total commitment and strength of will has given her husband the precious gift of life and the chance to see their child grow up.
Simply unmissable and utterly inspiring

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Saturday the 13th March saw me experimenting with my macro lens, trying to get a suitable photograph for a friend as a house warming present. Time constraints meant I only had a few minutes to get the photos, so I took some flowers which were on display in the hall and set them up a well lit room.
I'm not sure what the first flower is I think its a
chrysanthemum but it was taken with a EF50mmf2.5 Compact Macro set to 70mm with ISO 320 at 1/8sec @ f4

The second is a close up of a rose on the same settings on 1/10sec @ f2.8

Sunday, 7 February 2010

My fathers cousin is very keen on his family tree and I have been asked to repair and enlarge some family photos from years gone by. The whole experience for me is so far very enjoyable - the heal brush on photoshop used to get rid of scratches and other blemishes. In all I'm working on 9 pictures during spare evenings. This image is of my great grandfather who I'm told was one of the last sailors to train on a rigged ship and went on to be the captain of the Leviathan - what was at the time the worlds largest dredger
It was with bitter disappointment that I was unable to get out and about with the camera during our big freeze due to health reasons, I missed many opportunities for great photographs, but once I was better I decided to try out my 150-500 lens that I have had for over a year but not really had a chance to put through its paces. On the 26th Jan I went for a day trip to Pensthorpe Wildfowl Park ( - host to BBC Springwatch. The park is beautiful even at this time of year and I look forward to returning in the Spring and Summer.

This image of a stork was taken near the main complex on 1/320 at f16 with the lens set to 300mm. I used the camera without a tripod which is a fatal error particularly with someone with as shaky hands as I have! You cant tell at this magnification but slight blurring is apparent when blown up - An excuse to get back to the park as soon as possible!

The bird feeder was taken from inside one of the hides on the walk, I could have stayed there in the relative warm for hours burning up battery and Compact Flash Space - the volume of birds using the feeder was huge a reminder that natural food for birds is scarce this time of year so keeping feeders continually filled is a must. The image was taken at 1/640 at f6.3 with the lens set to 500mm ( ISO 500). The last two images were taken at 1/320 at f5.6 - 300mm and 1/400 at f5.6 - 205mm -all three images using a monopod I hasten to add....