Monday, 19 August 2019

Stepford wives

stepford wives in the kitchen

A first for me; a themed studio day. With three models and a lot of work building the sets. It was a four hour shoot with one other photographer. A well planned schedule meant we shot separately; one model, then two and finally all three. We came away with different pictures, not normally the case with workshops and studio days. They usually encourage a queueing ritual, where everyone waits for the flash trigger. Hoping the current holder doesn't take too long and the models adopt the same series of poses. It's not their fault, there isn't time to chat and bounce ideas around. Even worse is when the person leading the session tells everyone what settings to use and places the lights in their never to be changed positions.

Not the case this time; there was advise from very the experienced models. But I had time to experiment.

The first time I had been to this studio was way back in 2017.

Beforehand I had some ideas for shots, bold colour, and a more posed look. We talked about the plan at the beginning, to make sure we all were going in the right direction.

To be honest I was a little unsure about the style the models had in mind. And I worried my mind would draw a blank.

I shouldn't have worried, they had plenty of ideas. It took me a while to change from my default shooting style, I relaxed and it flowed much better.

Rachelle built an incredible set; you hear the saying, brought everything except the kitchen sink. She can now say, "I bring everything, including the kitchen sink".

In addition to the kitchen set there was a living room. Again bold colour blocks were the theme.

light ironing

I had an idea to have Rachelle ironing Nicole. Have to keep that young appearance, no wrinkles allowed in a Stepford household.

That was the part of the session I took time to latch onto; if you have suggestion, the weirder the better, say it.

Nicole's idea to be blown away by double hair-dryer wielding Rachelle took a few attempts to get right. We had time and it was another example of a shot I wouldn't have got at a busy workshop.

blown away by hair dryers

 The bathroom was a little restricted by Scarlet made it work. The blue tiles a great contrast to bright orange.




Always eager to do what it takes, here is a novel way to change someone's mind. Give it a quick whisk

brain mixing

If you haven't seen the film, the women in the town are implanted with a computer chip. It makes them into the men's ideal spouse's. I prefer a more independent minded women.

So this last scene is Scarlet and Nicole persuading Rachelle it's for the best.

inserting the control chip

All friends again.



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Sunday, 4 August 2019

Two dry rides

cycling paraphernalia tea backpacks

A hazy morning followed the last two Sundays theme. But this weekend differed from the last two; Saturday was much better this time. I had hail and thunder on the 20th, and "just" heavy rain on the 27th.

It made for a great weekend. Although it wasn't without it's trials. The picture above was taken after a dangerous trek through stinging nettle lined paths. We had planned to have our tea in the middle of a field, with far reaching views of the countryside. But the ground was wet, so we carried on towards the church yard. This meant tackling the terrible path; shorts, t-shirts and poisonous chest high plants should never be in close proximity. We made it through unscathed and stopped for tea at the log shown at the top of the post. The picture shows all our paraphernalia, we don't worry about precious grams when we need a cup of tea.

RideLondon is happening this weekend. I did it twice and I really wish I was doing it again. Then I remember the very early start. I had to be at the Olympic park by six in the morning. The other hurdle is getting a place. A friend and I both entered the lottery two years in a row, neither of us got a place. The reason I got in was through a charity. I had been raising money for them for years, and my usual sponsors were getting fatigued. It didn't seem fair to keep going and stop someone else raising more money than I could.

The route winds its way through London and out into Surrey before coming back into London and ending outside Buckingham Palace. The first year it was torrential rain and flooded roads, the next it was warm sunshine. Both times the route was altered so I have never completed the full distance. I cycled home afterwards so the total miles were still over a hundred.

I have completed two Caterham to Canterbury rides, (2017, and 2018) a distance of just over sixty miles, and a few to Brighton, which is around eighty miles. It's a great feeling to just switch off for the day. Not completely of course, increasing numbers of motorists take exception to cyclists. You have to be aware at all times of other road users; some of which don't have safety and consideration of others on their mind.


I don't want to end on a negative. There are still a lot of my fellow road users that show patients and intelligence.

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Saturday, 27 July 2019

It gets easier


Out in the rain on my bike this morning, the weather wasn't as bad as last Saturday. As I left the house it was a light drizzle so I set a target of Westerham the long way via Beadlestead Lane; around twenty six miles.

Now that I am use to it, I don't really mind getting wet. If I want to do this during the winter I'll need better riding gear. What I have won't keep me warm, something I don't have to worry about at the moment.

Unfortunately the weather worsened and I decided to turn for home before I started the final descent into Westerham. Maybe I'm not that happy getting wet, eighteen miles was enough!

I kept cleaning the camera lens as I went, it's disappointing to get home and watch an hour or so of video with a huge water droplet centre screen.




I reached home soaked, so the shower felt really good. But how to dry my trainers? Last weekend the weather improved so I hung them outside in the sun.

I haven't read a newspaper for a long time; I now get my biased, poorly researched and written news online. But there is nothing like a cheap red top scrunched up and stuffed into wet shoes to absorb the water.


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Sunday, 21 July 2019

What a diff'rence a day made Twenty-four little hours

Westerham road bike flowers


Brought the sun and the flowers. Where there used to be rain.

After yesterday's grim weather it was good to be out in the sunshine. I was alone again so the road bike was my chosen steed. I think as I add miles to it the brakes are improving. Before I bought it second hand, the bike had only been used occasionally. It still has the new bike health and safety stickers. The last time I had a new bike I was as a kid. I don't remember any such stickers being on my Raleigh Chopper. The only warning was to not carry passengers on a seat clearly designed for two. I was never joined by a friend on the bike, it was too heavy with just me. With only three gears any hill was tough enough.


There are at least three stickers suggesting you check that the wheels and pedals are attached. There could be more that I haven't noticed yet, they are very small. 

Because the sun was shining I travelled further, to Westerham. I didn't stop at a cafe, that's for when the team is riding. This meant I was home early to start the chores for the day. Once that was done I could sit down to catch up with the Tour de France. It's looking good for the French with Alaphilippe ahead by just over two minutes after stage 14 of 21. 

Cycling is the only sport I watch, maybe with an occasional cricket match.

Motorsport is influenced more by money now. There is a human element to it, but it's not the deciding factor.

There is big money in cycling, Ineos and the other top teams spend millions. But if their top rider has an off day it could be all over. 

It's easier to relate it to my cycling. I know my bike is worth only a very small fraction of theirs, and I don't ride as fast or as far. But when they are pushing themselves on a climb, I know what it feels like.


I do a few all day rides but miss multi-day routes. Riding to Paris with two mates a few years ago was great. We arranged everything amongst ourselves and carried cloths etc on the bikes. Being self sufficient made the feeling we got approaching the Eiffel Tower even sweeter. Four days just thinking about cycling. It was tough at times, but worth it.


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Saturday, 20 July 2019

It felt good to be out in the rain

sheltering from the rain

My bike hasn't got a name so I think the post title is fitting.


It was to be a lone ride and as I walked to the garage the rain started. Not too heavy so I kept walking.
As I started the ride it got heavier, the further from home I was, the worse it got. I haven't ridden in rain like it since my first RideLondon. But I was wet so decided to carry on, and then thunder rolled in. Followed by hailstones.


It wasn't cold, and once the clothes I was in became saturated my body warmed up the water.

I only went to the bus stop at Tatsfield, around 17 mile there and back. I took my gloves off to take pictures and it was then I realised just how wet I was. My outfit was very heavy. Putting the gloves on again wasn't pleasant, they had cooled considerably.

Near home I passed along a stretch of road that always floods. There are specially built culvats at the side. Constructed a few years ago after the whole area almost ground to a halt due to a long period of torrential rain. The local water treatment plant was close to being swamped.


As I write this the sun is out and the rest of the day looks good.


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