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
The Opposite of Sex
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
Night Tide
The Sting
A Night at the Roxbury
Miracle Beach
Forrest Gump
Not Another Teen Movie
Iron Man
Desperate Teenage Lovedolls
Dark Ride
The Hottie and the Nottie
“Falling Down”
Ruthless People
Love Stinks,
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
Gilmore Girls
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
Keeping Up with the Kardashians
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

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 :




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








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.



I tweaked the album artwork for the purpose of this blog

My 2014 in a few pictures

A little travel (London, Paris, The West Country) and stuff about the house and dubious oddness
Click on any Image to open in Gallery view

Published in: on 2 January, 2015 at 16:48  Comments Off on My 2014 in a few pictures  
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I Got Art!!

The concept of “me” buying art is rare to say the very least. In fact, few of the things that have ever blown me away, I could never afford anyway and as an engineer at heart, Installation Art is more my cup of tea than most things as long as I can see the passion and uniqueness of the item.

So a few weeks ago I was collared by the site’s editor “Gabsatrucker” to go and have a look at a small studio who’s artist had caught her eye.
On a freezing November weekend, we arrived at Treehuggery owned and run by Jackie Ward. Jackie’s art has anart1 air of irony and simplicity that was so refreshing I ended up buying Gabsatrucker a piece for Christmas!
From making images like people waiting for a bus out of old bus conductor tickets to sport and cycling images from used car tax discs and there’s just so much more besides. To me, the best part is, Jackie is passionate and loves what she does.
If this reads like an advert, well I’m not being paid for it and I can’t recommend a true artist enough 🙂
KMA, you’d love her work!!

Then I see a competition for a piece on Facebook and get this – I won it!!! What more can I say to that?!art2
So If you want something a little different and very individual for a space on the wall of for a gift that seriously will not hurt your pocket – click on TREEHUGGERY and give her stuff a look because if you like quirky, interesting and most definitely original – then you just found it! 🙂


Published in: on 8 December, 2014 at 00:19  Leave a Comment  
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New York, N’ooo Yoyk!

Bouncing out of Nashville we set about attempting a 2am ETA in NYC and made it!


Strangely, after all that people had said about driving in the Apple and it being a city that never sleeps, there was hardly a thing on the road and it was a straight forward navigation to our downtown 6th Ave hotel, where they promptly stole the Snot Rocket (our car) for safe keeping.6th Ave

However, the New Jersey (N’ooo Joyzeee) Turnpike is NOT for the faint hearted or for anyone with a shred of logical commonsense due to the clarity of the signage, or indeed no signage. Thankfully, other than a few other lost souls, all was good.

The following day was a mad rush and full on with Gabsatrucker heading out early to chase her own butt up 20 blocks and pound out the rest of her 7 mile run around Central Park.

I jumped in a cab and headed to Chelsea and the new global headquarters of!rocketboom gold

Set in tasteful surroundings and interrupted from beavering away I sat down and had a great chat with Andrew Baron about how the future for Rocketboom and how other enterprises were rapidly shaping up to be far larger and indeed a permanent existence in the day on day “must watch” web media  listings 🙂

The evolution of Rocketboom has been long and its consistency in what I call intelligent humour – ie Witt, sarcasm and irony mixed in with a variable amount of new or leading tech, entertainment and global web cultural insight is well established and is still leading in this field.

Andrew’s exceptional ability to seek out great talent for presenting Rocketboom is second to none and the present anchor of the show Keghan Hurst is a perfect example of this.

Andrew Baron’s great strength is not just that he is one of the first true instigators of what we term web media, but it lays at the door of not just knowing what he wants to achieve, but also in listening to so many others without being derailed from his overall aim. In this he has achieved a greater understanding than most within this field and in the creativity stakes there are few to rival what he has achieved.

In the evening Gabsatrucker and I headed over to meet Andrew, his stunning and glowingly pregnant wife Rima and their friend Eli for what Andrew termed Korean BBQ which was a fantastic evening with a lot of laughter.

While we were invited to stay for another evening, our plans were forever changing and we were sadly unable to. As we walked back to our hotel leaving great people and company behind us we came upon Times Square which was very much alive and bouncing.


Grabbing pictures and a bit of t’shirt swag we called it a night.




Naked CowGirl

Day 2:

Waking early and packing up our gear, we headed out to catch a few sights before leaving this unrelenting island city.

A fast walk up the street our hotel was on (that sounds like they moved it) and you hit the likes of Radio City and the not so liked News Corp headquarters.


Radio City

Onto the subway and Grand Central Station for crepes (of course)




Then South to the 911 Memorial.. BUT, remember all the trouble I had getting into the Hoover Dam? Well this time, I’m wearing a Leatherman tool and all manner of sharp objects as we headed into security.

The X-ray operator sees the Leatherman and asks to look at it, calls another guard over and then “Sir, where did you get this?”

Me: “Ebay, why?”

Reply: “I’ve been looking for the same model” before handing it back to me…

Now that is commonsense security!! They acknowledge the item, make you aware they have and then carry on as normal – and where? Where this whole terror thing for this country started!! Well-done 911 Memorial Security with their reasoned, professional and very logical approach to what they do.

I can’t really add much more, this place and most definitely this memorial leaves you silent as it stands for so much more now than the day it all happened, and to a far higher loss than ever before.


With that, we left the fair city of New York and headed back south, Philadelphia, DC, and on to Virginia – or ENGLAND as I like to call it.

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