Strange life of a Running Widower

Life of a Running Widower (to Gabrielle) can be a strange one… tough at times, early mornings (earlier when it’s warmer), there can be hours sitting in the rain, mud, the cold and steamed up cars. But sometimes, there can be just the best weather, location and things you don’t normally see.
Having a dig through photos and came across a couple from 2013
No need to guess where it is… but as the song goes “the sun comes up over……”

Apparently this sun rise business looks like this a lot here... I was more like "whoooooaaaaaaa, WT-fffffffffffffffffff awesooooome" [drool]

Apparently this sun rise business looks like this a lot here…
I was more like “whoooooaaaaaaa, WT-fffffffffffffffffff awesooooome” [drool]

The lonely one wheeler, in search of a new wheel....

The lonely one wheeler, in search of a new wheel….

Then another appears

Then another appears

and they formed a gang and went a-roamin

and they formed a gang and went a-roamin

I've seen spy meetings, murdered folk and shootouts on that pier #justasyin

I’ve seen spy meetings, murdered folk and shootouts on that pier #justasyin

Oh... and she's back.... yup, looks like it was murder ;)

Oh… and she’s back…. yup, looks like it was murder😉

Movies Shot at Santa Monica Pier

Tillie’s Punctured Romance
Quicksand, Elmer Gantry
1941
The Opposite of Sex
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
Night Tide
Bean
The Sting
Her
A Night at the Roxbury
Miracle Beach
Titanic
Forrest Gump
Not Another Teen Movie
Iron Man
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls
Dark Ride
Cellular
The Hottie and the Nottie
“Falling Down”
Ruthless People
Love Stinks,
Hancock
She Wants Me, and
Hannah Montana: The Movie n.

TV Shows

The Rockford Files
The Incredible Hulk
Three’s Company
The Amazing Race
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Star Trek: Voyager
NCIS: Los Angeles
24,
Gilmore Girls
Castle
90210
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
Monk
Charlie’s Angels episode “The Sandcastle Murders”

and a lot, lot more……. not to mention far too many music vids to list.

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  

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

Devastating few months in British Music History

 

It obviously can’t have escaped many people’s notice of the close proximity of several deaths from the archives of British Rock history.
I don’t know where to go with this other than to add my little bit:
Music for me started in 1976, it was the early days of punk and when I got to boarding school, we had an amazing teacher called Adrian Schoeberl who, once a week would introduce us to a couple of different bands until we gained a vast spectrum of knowledge in the area and even took in a Buzzcocks gig once.
It was while at home on school break I watched a show called “The Old Grey Whistle Test” (star kicker) on the BBC when, before my eyes a live concert with a school boy running around grabbed my attention Old-Grey-Whistle-Test– and there born was my love of AC/DC.
I left the school and attended another in Sheffield and this was the first time I ever saw people wearing merchandise. A kid and later a friend came up to me and asked what bands I was into and he was wearing a Led Zeppelin and a Genesis badge, I said both names and he accused me outright of just reading his badges – well yes and no, I had every album by Zeppelin and nothing by Genesis.
As we flew into the 80’s we were so lucky, Sheffield City Hall was a major venue on the UK touring circuit back then and every major act played there. We also had the Top Rank Suite, The Wapentake (a rock pub), local bands like Def Leppard, Saxon and got to see everyone. Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz was a show that got me interested in Audio Engineering which I was fascinated with. Girlschool made me slightly more deaf in the right ear than the left – for life!! We saw everyone. And then I worked in a Merch shop right opposite the City Hall (gone now) called Impulse Records… the only place I ever knew of back then that sold the leather, studs and bullet belts – so much so that when touring bands finished sound check at the City Hall they’d come in to buy gear on their way to the Wapentake bar just down the street. It was a great time in my life.

Then it all changed, City Halls were taken over by Arenas, the record shop became a parking lot, the Wapentake changed hands and then changed names.Wap reopening ded.The only other bar with the a Rock reputation as close or even better than the Wapentake was a long way away, in another country in fact and I knew it would be highly unlikely to ever visit…

 

And then, 3 years ago I did, with Gabby aka Gabsatrucker. In fact I mentioned it briefly in the post LA to Sin City : Las Vegas
A life time later from 1982, and we had been shooting  about picking up a few things in West Hollywood and were starving hungry… a few blocks away Rainbow Logowas this little place : The Rainbow Bar & Grill… not the kind of name or  look from the outside you would associate with a bar like the Wapentake, but I’m told the name was from the Band “Rainbow”.
So we went, we parked and we entered… got a booth and ate a hearty burger… as it got later the faces of 80’s, 90’s and early 2k’s rock scene were everywhere, I was surprised I guess, but not star struck, it was like a reassurance that such great places still exist, where people can be themselves and no pretension entered into.
Age has had a strange effect on me, whether I’m becoming an old romantic or just that little softer – but as we left and a famous individual said “sup – brother” as an informal greeting  – I knew then I would probably return.

I miss music…
And as the deaths of Phil Taylor, Lemmy, the final demise of Motorhead and David Bowie sink home having left a true mark in history, I feel that in these rare places – they will always be as alive today and in the future as they ever were.

 

Motorhead-Raw-cut-out12345

I tweaked the album artwork for the purpose of this blog

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