All Change…

Here at TWBrit’s Casa de Blighty we’re entering a world of fluctuational change.
With all things happening around here and with the issue’s regarding the pursuance of an old school having now exceed 6 years and outliving the status of Visa’s, things are about to get interesting on so many levels.

First of course in a perfect world we would hunt down those responsible – prior to dispatch. gettingthereq

Then we’d have to expel all family members, loved ones and pets of every politician and civil servant related to the pursuance of immigration in the UK and let them deal with the pain and not to mention costs of trying to get them back. But alas, this perpetual level of dreaming often proves ineffective at best. At worst, I die before reaching the conclusion of that mind-born dreaming.

Next up, I’m NOT going to turn TWBrit into and site about Photography – I have flicker pages and a separate websites for all my endeavours. So unless I do something remarkable that I want to share, I have done my last post on here for that.

Please also note due to a WordPress update the RWIR site has gone a little weird.  Infact the Portfolio and About Us has all disappeared (gawd bless-em, they iz avin a larff).

Website names are being re-organised at the moment, but everything will be set in stone as soon as possible.
This will return to points of view, travel, beer talk, salacious comments,  and my kinda crazy.

Published in: on 5 May, 2016 at 22:12  Leave a Comment  

So This Photography Lark….

About 3 years ago I bought Gabby (@Gabsatrucker) a camera. The remit was: Something a little better than a point and shoot, but nothing too complicated.
So I bought a thing termed a “Bridge Camera”.fujifilm_hs30exr_PNG
It’s a simple beast, turn dial to auto, switch on and shoot away and enjoy it’s glorious x30 optical zoom and 16 mega-pixels.

Rocking!! No rocket science needed and switching it to “EXR” mode (a Fuji thing) the automation stepped up to another level.
Then one day I take a photo, while in North Little Rock with Gabby, and the return of the colour and everything left me astounded.The-Old-Mill-North-Little-Rock1
But here’s the thing – I’d mistakenly turned the dial to some Aperture mode thing which I thought “dunno what that does, but we’ll look into it” and returned the dial to Auto. Then come the moment I wanted a similar look, I couldn’t get it. Infact the picture of Gabby turned out so grainy even Photoshop couldn’t help that much.gabby mill1--2

It’s strange really; years ago the thought of having to learn this whole new technology, cameras, how they work and why just turned me off. Heck I worked in tech all the time, why would I want to do more techie stuff for fun beyond playing Battlefield 2 and surfing the web?

But it wasn’t only that, and I really don’t know if anyone would understand what I mean by this – but it felt like the wrong kinda nerdy… a language spoken by nonchalant people you probably would, how should I say this…. Not help so much if they were on fire.. (you know what I’m sayin).
However, buying Gabby this camera started to allow me the ability to start taking more interesting shots.

I needed to learn!!!

youtube_logoI’m a firm believer that if there is something you don’t know how to do – someone, somewhere will have created a video for it – and Photography is way up that list.
So one day I was surfing Youtube after talking to an old buddy about buying a “real” camera and he mentioned Sony… To me, Sony = Walkman, Phones, TV’s and bad Laptops. So I did a search and up popped this guy sticking it to people like Nikon and Canon…

That guy spoke my kinda language (less my swearing) and actually gave a damn about the lack of basic modern technologies being applied to cameras. Also, in other videos he went on to mention the very type of unhelpful photographers stating if you want to know something – just ask. I’d never known that other than asking the only other great photographer I knew – Dave Naz.

Well at the time of writing this, I still haven’t bought a “real”camera – but I know exactly what camera(s) I want to buy and why.  Moreover – these videos have changed the way I view photography.
To me the camera has always been the hammer, a tool, the thing you need to get your vision into a set image.  I’ve apparently always had the “eye” whatever that means. But then I take photos often like a hunter seeking his prey.
BUT, and it is a huge but – these videos have shown me that I just don’t need to do all that – learning is key, the great thing about Digital Photography is you have  an instant visual result.  The camera is still the tool, but less of the hammer and more the paint brush. I think I’ve improved from the high definition painting of that of a three year old child, but as with all things, time, practice and learning are all key.

Then there is Photoshop and as many know, beyond cliché work,Ps1 I’ve a lot of experience with it but most of it is Composition work.
But enter Adobe Lightroom which is basically the digital version of what a Darkroom was – and strangely plain photos could suddenly appear to come to life…
Initially when working with Web-Logo1Lightroom you make mistakes, do too much work.  So it was back to studying, learning and combining previous knowledge. Again, learning how to take the photograph and knowing how it will respond in post is something that works hand in hand – not one making up for the other, yet you still want to get 99% done in camera if you can.

How this has changed everything for me…  I watch, practice and learn from people all over the world, but I still return to this informative, sometimes hilarious and down to earth guy and have a mind full of things, place and ideas I want to shoot.
Gabby now has to listen to me talk about this… and I have no sympathy, she has been the one person who has consistently said, “you need to do this sh*t!” I share with her what I want to shoot, the image, the mystique and the captivating or alluring beauty of something you just can’t put your finger on, and how to make an image, or even the people in it look timeless.

Whether or not life (because ours is kinda complicated with us being from different countries and the hassle of that) will allow or afford me to get to a point to do this professionally or remain amateur is to be seen, as it turns out that paying for food, rent, visa’s and bills doesn’t come from taking photos for free.  I’ve only ever been asked once to take a photo for money and that was pretty much the day the shutter started dropping it’s decaying dirt all over the sealed sensor (the lens doesn’t come off).

It could change life for us… sure phones are replacing point and shoot cameras and having a devastating impact on the Professional industry – but there’s things I want to shoot and I would love to do it for a living.  But frankly, I have no clue how to make that art pay without doing other types of work.
Sure, I am not the guy you will or see doing a wedding shoot, but I might do product, portraits, landscapes and those one off pre-planned artistic passionate series of images I crave to shoot. But it’s not going to happen without learning and doing!

Sure, it’d be nice to have sharp camera at the moment, but this worn out camera we have still has functions to practice on.
And as for the guy who does the videos, well there are a lot of people making great videos – so who is he??
I’m talking about Jason Lanier

cropped-logo-trans-workshops2
I’ve never met him – I’m sure one day our paths will cross and then I can thank him for being the only person to effectively shake the tree of this arrogant old fart who now wants to do what I spent my entire life purposefully avoiding.

And that is where I’m at with this strange subject matter.

Check out Jason Lanier :
JL-buttonJL-youtube-buttonJL-Facebook-buttonJL-Insta-button

 

 

 

Can I just add, since I started doing the final edit on this post – he only posted a video stating similar and a whole lot more… lol #life

 

 

Strange Challenge Turns into Enjoyment

So, I have been spending not hours, but days working on an image that has frankly changed the way I do business – i.e. I won’t do that again lol.
Four days in and I get a fun photo challenge from Gabsatrucker’s Aunt who lives on the edge of Death Valley in Nevada, USA.

It was simple really, take and post a photo under the broad title of “Nature” every single day for one whole week.

I’m not saying I’ve got used to my chair but I was like “Wha…. you mean go out *there*….”

Our camera is a Fuji HS30 EXR, it’s far exceeded its shutter life, it takes about one sharp photo in 200 now – but I thought, If I can do this then maybe, just maybe,  if I ever get good equipment I might be alright at this one day.

The week just finished and here are the results for your enjoyment.  I’m not fishing for compliments as I have found in my life, criticism is a far better creative tool and one that makes you learn more. So feel free to complain about them, but note I possibly already aware of blur, aberration etc.😀
Oh and the photo of the big house (Wollaton Hall aka Wayne Manor in The Dark Knight Rises) was taken from 2.05 miles (3.30 km) away.

No points of spotting the TWBrit logo in every pic😉 Copyrights are what they are, TWBrit/RWIR/Me:)

Finally a huge thank you to Cheryl and of course Gabsatrucker for pointing out and showing me some amazing places where I took all but one of these photos.

Gabsatrucker also runs another great site for all you fitness and running type folks called of Runsound Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a little Serious for once…

Living with a runner who loves nothing more than Parkruns, Medals
Half Marathons, Full Marathons and recently completed her first Ultra (who has a dedicated running website HERE), I’ve heard every charity fund raising bit of junk required for entering big runs and marathons – so I don’t really give them any credence what so ever.
Cue something that made me sit up and raise an eyebrow.

My better half (the runner) Gabby aka Gabsatrucker has a regular running buddy called Nicole.  Nicole (whom I call Bam-Bam, due to her accidental use of elbows on a regular basis) is a mother of four boys… she is also a GP and often by the time she makes it home, she has to renew her compassion and re-address herself to the loving and caring that family life demands and needs.

Being a doctor and a mother – an athlete… and still being a wife, a friend and all round core family rock, driver and amateur comedian must take a lot…

Gabby-Nicole

She sounds great right? So when she announces she needs to raise money for two young sisters with a congenital heart problem, beyond herPhotobomb tough but happy exterior, you know something needs doing…  But then adds “I need to run 100 miles to raise it”. So now beyond the raising of an eyebrow, she gets my and our attention.

These two sisters through no fault of their own have had a life of discomfort, fear and uncertainty, and when medical science also fails in rejected heart valves then the situation is dire. But in the same breath kids are so incredibly resilient and this week tests that strength and resilience further as one of them heads into surgery again.

Now… please don’t get me wrong here! I know as well as you there is a tough story like that in every city and country all over the world.  So why should we care? Why should a Doctor, dedicated and yet hardened by every state of life from beginning through to death and it’s dissection after suddenly care that bit more?

Nicole-BlurWell, these two girls are her patients – and I wonder just how many Doctors do anything for you outside of their prime remit?  And how many people do you know that would take the steps to such an incredible level for which this extreme effort that I have no personal experience of – to subject herself, beyond every commitment and thing in her life to state she WILL run 100 miles to achieve what needs to be done?

That ladies and gentlemen gets my full attention, my complete respect and my total and utter support for this endeavour.

I’m not telling you to give money – it’s not my place, but go HERE and have a read about what it’s all about and what Nicole is trying to achieve.

Dr Nicole Atkinson : The kind of doctor we all wish we had, the type of doctor the world truly needs – and one who really will go that extra One Hundred Miles for her patients.

All I have to do now is stop Gabby going with her😉

Fixing-2-Broken-HeartsPNG

Gabby-Nicole-upto-stuff

Published in: on 7 February, 2016 at 22:04  Leave a Comment  

USA vs UK and Vice-versa

US-vs-UK-FLag

For two nations, one born of the other and sharing a common language, both have so many misconceptions about the other, it is frankly staggering!

Nowhere, as far as I can tell, is the belief in the media’s representation of falsehood more apparent than in this very subject.

It’s also easy to fall into the trap of :
Guns
Obesity
Yellow TeethTSq3
British Politeness

But here’s the thing, we need to start by understanding that the USA is NOT New York City, Florida and the West Coast – it is more to do with all the fantastic bits in between and in that very same breath London has little to do with the rest of the UK… the UK being effectivDSCF0518ely 4 countries and only England is, well… England..
So what of the USA? Well lets start with Europe (which apparently we’re part of) and the differences between each of those many countries which are obviously vast – now look at the USA and see 50 states…. They’re effectively 50 COUNTRIES… all brought together by a single figurehead/symbol… not a King or Queen, but a flag! And that is why the US flag is taken so very seriously.

In its short history the USA has achieved much to be proud of – they put a man on the damn MoonMoon for heavens sake… so while we can go through the history of inventions and compare what we’ve done – they’re doing all right.

So lets look at some of those clichés:

Obesity: The UK wins out here as it has far more clinically obese people than the USA per capita, in fact the US is more full of fitness that the UK ever wasGun-Barrel.

Guns: Well until the banning of handguns in the UK, they weren’t such a big deal here, which is fair considering the UK has been the most warring nation in the
history of humanity. But if you’re under 25, the near mention of a gun will probably frighten you because that’s what the media told you that you should be – BUT…. We have guns and lots of them!! You can legally own a shotgun at any age. You can own a rifle up to .50 calibre in the UK and the UK still manufactures a lot of guns.

Heck I’m a Brit (obviously) and I trained in the use of the following albeit in the military:
L1A1        7.62mm Self Loading Rifle (SLR) UK FN FAL variant,
L85A1/2   5.56mm SA80,
L2A3        9mm Sterling Submachine Gun,
L4A6        7.62mm Light Machine Gun (Bren),
L7A2        7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG/M240),
L9A1        9mm Browning High Power,
L96A1      7.62mm AW Sniper Rifle
2 inch       51mm Mortar
L16A2      81mm Mortar,
L14A1      84mm Carl Gustov Anti Tank Weapon,
Milan Anti Tank Guided Missile System,
M72         LAW 66,
LAW 80
and of course the trusty Bayonet
On top of that, Glock, AR15, 1911, M/PSG1, MP5, G3 and a Ruger or two and I’m not going to list shotguns.

In the USA the media and the NRA would have you all believe it’s about 2nd Amendment Rights and self-defence – well while that all makes for great sound bites, it’s frankly bollocks… A lot of people in urban areas simply do not own firearms, but the rural areas, just like in the UK a lot of people own guns and for good reasons – shit out there can kill you!! From, coyotes (which by the way are not some small dog – they’re big, really big), bears. Snakes, deer, (they have a lot of deer) and frankly the list goes on – and lets not forget just how big the place is, if you’re on a horse that gets spooked by a snake, how are you going to walk back 70 miles across open ground in summer heat or winter snow without dying if that’s how far the horse gallops before collapse? So you may literally have to shoot your horse a long time before you get to that distance…

British Yellow Teeth: I’ve seen worse teeth in the US than the UK and Yellow teeth vs white teeth is about even.

British Politeness: Well for the stereotype that is Downton Abbey and just about any other period drama – NO…. we’re generally rude, swear more than people would like to admit… But once you get to know us – we’re our own kinda awesome.

US Optimism…. Actually that is 100% true!! Only you can build your dream, but here in the UK we are more likely to chastise you for even thinking about it – and that alone has kept us in the dark ages for too long.

Here’s a couple of other things to note

A Bill of rights…. The UK is the only western country without one!
Freedom of speech protected by law – there is no such thing in the UK

How to Piss off a Brit and a Yank in equal measure without fail – and show yourself to be a complete dickhead:
Firstly I blame two movies for this
1, Smokey and the Bandit
2, Mary Poppins!
So how to do it? Simple, try to mimic the accent to the face of someone from the opposite country!! This means several things – you are in some way deficient in manners, and, if we think about it, intellect, humour, and most other things too.
So here’s the golden rule – DON’T  F * * * * * G  DO IT!!!!
Only other point would be to actually ask where someone is from before assuming they’re either English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Australian, South African, Kiwi, American or Canadian!!!

So back to how big is America? Well it’s huge and for the sake of argument we’ll just look at the lower 48 states for a start:
In the middle-ish lower part is a small looking state of Arkansas which looks like this:
Arkasa-onm-ap

A few famous names from Arkansas are Mary Steenburgen, John Grisham, Charles “Sonny” Liston, Billy Bob Thornton, Glen Campbell, Bill Clinton, Gauge, Johnny Cash,  to mention only a very few.

It’s population is 2,915,918 and it may surprise you to note that majority of England and Wales fits inside it! and we have a population of 64,950,131 So irrespective of population, our postage stamp size land mass shows the reality of our significance to the USA.
To make is a little more obvious, here is a map of Europe over laid on the US map and you see my point…
Europe-over-USA-Map

Finally those other two states Hawaii, which is just a small group of islands, no biggy there – but the other one, well that’s behemoth known as Alaska and a good chunk of the lower 48 states fits right inside of it.

Difference in visas and living in each country:
It is far, far easier to get a US Green Card than obtain a UK visa, even for a wife/partner!! And it costs a lot more too.
In fact, when we see politicians claiming “We’re open for business” trust me when I say – we’re not, not without a lot of front money.
In fact, assuming you were not moving from NYC or Palo Alto, you’ll find the UK vastly more expensive!
In the UK shops really do shut early and in the US, they really do stay open longer.

Food…. Oh where to start…
UK food is awesome!! Well the selection of it is. The UK didn’t have an Empire where the sun never set without picking a vast kaleidoscope of cuisine in the process, albeit people visiting the UK just after World war 2 would have found it very bland.

In the UK we do some great food variants – Indian cuisine is something for the most part I don’t think in understood very well in the US, and is now our national dish. Mediterranean and Arabic food, outside of NYC isn’t always easy to find.
BUT there are some thing our cousins do better that us!!

Sonic-Triple-Choc-Master-BlastThe US has a couple of things (or more) that we can’t compete with. Ok, several things actually, firstly lets just give a slight mention to Milk Shake: Not only can you go to a “Sonic Drive-in” and enjoy over 25 flavours of Milk Shake (and over 400,000 drink combinations) with your take out and that’s fine but!!! in the USA one thing is notable about Chocolate milk shake – IT tastes actually like Chocolate!!! Not that weak assed junk we get here in the UK.

Steak : The US does steak at the lowest level as good as ours from the best restaurants – they know steak and frankly we just don’t.
Mexican… You simply cannot find great Mexican food in the UK – it does not exist.

Drinks… When you eat out you are ALWAYS given water when you get to your table in the US… and refills of your soft drinks are free… In the UK you have to ask for water, pay for it and there are no refills – not ever, of any kind or anything. (this may be different for one or two US food outlets here).

So what is good in the UK?
Public transport, while not cheap is effective and you can get most places by bus or train.
The NHS… I know I know – it’s financially the black hole of Calcutta… and it may not be the most cutting edge treatment in the world at any given time. But it is effective, it does work and it will save your life and not even ask for your insurance details in the process.
Heck you can book an appointment with your Doctor twice a day, every day of the week if you wanted (Don’t do that btw)… and you will be seen, treated and sorted out with little cost other than for your prescription.

As a final point in both countries:

We may elect our leaders, but as soon as they’re in power we tend to dislike what they do… So to be judged by what your own government does is not only unfair, but it’s wrong.
I have seen this all over the world and even lost friends because of it (by lost, I mean in one case shot dead).
You, me, I, we are not our governments, we are not as portrayed as the media predicts.
So why do it to each other?!

One last point – Brits beat Americans in their loudness😉

So you think you can drive… the End of an Era

I was 23 when I got my Class one Heavy Goods licence (CDL), I loved driving, I just wanted the learn the skills to be able to reverse something as big and heavy as a house into the tightest space – and I did. parking trailer 7side

A few years later and I bought a very old 1978 Range Rover with a 3.5 V8 because I loved climbing and spent my spare time in the UK’s Peak District trying to navigate rocky and muddy tracks in my car.
In no time I realised there was a ton of things I just didn’t know about driving off-road – but I loved driving, so what to do?
I ended up calling the Managing Director of Land Rover directly, we chatted, I told him my plight and my fear of either damaging the environment, the car and worse still – myself.
Land-Rover-Logo--newThree days later I was standing in an office in front of a man called Don Green [in all things Four Wheel Drive – he’s a legend].
I went on to spend the whole day driving the then factory high-speed test track and the once highly renowned Land Rover Jungle Track.
I was so impressed I said to everyone they should open a school.. They said they only train people who really need to know how to use the vehicles properly in off-road environments.

Two years later and I get a call… We’re setting up the “Land Rover Experience” would you like to come along and try it out? Camel Training Eastnor
I went, I qualified as a specialist, then became the 2nd person to ever qualify as an instructor (and when you consider no other manufacturer was running these courses – that’s kinda a big deal I guess). I learned the layout in great personal detail of the proving ground tucked away at Eastnor Castle and while it’s very much a commercial sales entity these days, I loved it. So armed with all things Land Rover, a 110 and issued overly embroidered overalls – I did it for a living!
Landy-Stuff
From Camel Trophy to vehicle testing I loved this incredible mentally tough system of driving and know-how; vehicle self recovery and winching, service and repair in the field, driving through water too deep and how to do it, expedition configurations, load bearing, tires, ice and snow techniques and so on. In fact I later took a telecommunications job in Saudi Arabia just to gain extreme desert experience – and my knowledge and skills were soon taken up by various parties. One of which became an issue with the MK 2 Range Rover, I flagged it up to Land Rover and it caused a redesign of the latest version being tested in South Africa at that time.
But these are bygone days, days, month and years of fond memories. 110 camel
Of course these days I maybe a little long in the tooth for people who believe that by simple ownership of a 4X4 means it’ll just get them through any situation – it’s a bit like this: If I bought a plane does it make me a pilot?!

We tested every type of vehicle made around the world in nearly every environment – but the one single vehicle that came out of even the worse situation was this

The Land Rover Defender 110

LandyThe venerable Landy… started production 68 years ago… and it’s just about to go out of production with no immediate replacement in sight – and that is a crying shame!!
It’s sold all over the world, but not in North America because they’re built literally by hand and Land Rover originally could not cope with the extra workload.

Sure I can tell you all the well-known clichés like 70% of all Landy’s are still running, and for the majority of the world, the first vehicle they ever saw was a Land Rover… but even if you don’t own one or you do and it never sees a field, mud, sand or frozen tundra – it’s still the most iconic 4×4 in the world – few beat it, nothing can replace it and to see it stop production is not just sad – it’s wrong…

This is the shoulder that all others stand upon…

New York City Snow Storm 2016

Blizzard 2016
The Neistat Way

Casey Neistat
Jesse Wellens
Dean Neistat
Oscar Boyston

NYC Snow (1 of 1)

NYC Snow (2 of 1)

To See the Behind the Scenes 

CLICK HERE

To see more of Casey Neistat and Jesse Wellens amazing stuff go here:

Casey  Youtube  :  Twitter :  Beme

Jesse  Youtube  :  Twitter  :  Beme

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 325 other followers

%d bloggers like this: