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Showing posts from December, 2016

Who's the Daddy?

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Some of the more savvy readers will immediately recognise the scene above – it is, of course a screenshot from the magnificent movie “Scum” starring Ray Winstone as a new arrival into a Youth Offenders Institute (Borstal as was), brutally fighting his way to the top of the pecking order to become the Top Dog ("Daddy"), and coming up against a system of abuse and violence towards vulnerable teenage boys who had gone off the rails. “Has he gone mental” you’re thinking – “He’s gannin’ on aboot borstal ‘n that. When’s he gonna start tellin’ is aboot snapping a hoose?” Well it was a hoose….a big hoose right on the junction of the A1M and A177 at Bowburn in County Durham. It was a bit of a last minute job, slotted in after an afternoon journey to a house a few miles nearby. The EPC guy Andrew followed me in his car, and I pulled up to where my Sat-Nav decided to deposit me. I had no idea what sort of building we were going to – just some keys, and a postcode. I ended up k

Christmas Greetings

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It’s that time of year again…….the goose is getting fat, the wallet is empty due to the obsession with purchasing Chinese plastic shite from Amazon, and fighting amongst men who work in offices will be breaking out in market towns and cities throughout the land. It’s Christmas folks! This is obviously an enforced period of time-off for me, with the marketing of property and commercial premises put on hold for a few weeks. It’s a time to reflect on what your family means to you, and an opportunity to press the reset button for relationships with all the people in your life that mean something to you. Our friends and family have been the cornerstone of our efforts in overcoming Tina’s cancer this year, and we owe everything to a handful of people who pulled out the stops to help us in every way. Many people in hospitals and emergency services will be on duty right over the festive period, and our thanks go out to those teams of people as well. Without their skills and dedication

Give a kid a camera

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My kids are used to having camera equipment lying around the house. Almost every night sees an army of batteries from flash units, remote control equipment, and cameras being charged for the following day’s jobs. They’ve been successfully trained to never touch my stuff, which is an amazing feat as any parent will tell you, as anything in view becomes a toy to any child. We actually adopted the same attitude towards other things like the fireplace, stairs, & kitchen cupboards. Way cheaper and easier than buying all the shite that was never needed until the media decided that kids would die without them. My eldest – who is aged 8, went on a residential school trip to an outdoor pursuits centre in the wilds of Northumberland during the summer. She asked if she could take a camera to take pictures of her pals when they were doing their activities. The school wouldn’t allow digital cameras on the trip, but disposable film cameras were permitted, so I bought a couple of cheap ones fr

Tilt Shift in action

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This is the Nikon 24mm f3.5 ED PC-E lens. I’ve mentioned it many times throughout this blog, and it’s one of the items I simply couldn’t do without in my day to day operations. It costs about £1300 new (although it’s due to soar in price due to recent currency fluctuations – IT JUST DID), and it can be picked up on the second hand market for a little less. Mine is a bit battered and worn due to the amount of work it has undertaken. It is usually fitted with a polarising filter (that’s for another post). It’s a wide angle lens (not ultra-wide like my 14-24mm f2.8), and is coated in Extra Dispersion materials (ED) which reduce flare and internal reflections etc. The PC stands for “perspective control”, and the E denotes that it’s aperture is controlled electronically by the camera via the metal contacts around the bayonet fitting – where the lens connects to camera. So what makes this weird looking thing so invaluable when photographing interiors, architecture (or product

Paperless Office

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I finally did it. My aim of getting rid of all printed stuff on a day to day basis is complete. For ten years, I’ve amassed thousands of bits of A4 paper – bank & credit card statements, receipts for expenses, model & property releases, letters, contracts, and more. Even though you only need to retain six years of documentation to satisfy the wonderful machine known as HMRC, it builds up into a solid mass of stuff that takes over your home unless you hire somewhere to store it. When I had the studio, it wasn’t an issue – the paperwork was piled in plastic boxes, and every now and then I would dig something out to check it, or send to someone. My accountancy system is quite simple, but effective. I used Sage Instant Accounts for years, which required me to have Windows installed on my Mac – via a bit of software called Parallels, which allows other operating systems to be run alongside the native OS. The beauty of a Mac is it’s relative simplicity, and I always hated hav

Unsocial Media

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What is Facebook? Facebook used to be a platform for US College kids at Harvard to communicate with each other simply and effectively, so they could organise parties, and do the things that Harvard College kids used to do. It was called “The Facebook”, and it served a definite purpose. The posts were all personal communications from one person to another, or a group. It was a way to link up with people. This morning, my Facebook home page feed has the following posts in order: Someone sharing that they have stocked up on PG Tips due to the Tesco/Unilever spat. A shared video from “Superstar Magazine” about a plus-size model on a fashion catwalk. An advert from “Vintage Photo Lab” about scanning old prints. One of those Minion memes asking to be shared if “You love your niece”. An ad for Fuji Mirrorless Cameras. An ad for the AOP (Association of Photographers) about exhibition space rental. A promotional post from a business by someone I know. A comment on a c