Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Four generations

four generations portrait photography

My photography lately has been largely of my bike and the views when cycling.

Over a year ago I was asked about doing a shoot for a family to capture four generations.

Everyone we busy and so it wasn't until last Saturday that all diaries matched.

One speedlight would produce enough illumination. I used a wide 24mm prime for groups, 50mm for pairs and the 85mm for close ups.

The baby was never still, trying to keep her interested and focused wasn't easy. If there had been more room I could have put more distance between us. It makes tracking a fast moving subject easier.

I kept firing away to catch the moment when everyone was looking in the same direction and relaxed.

People often say don't work with animals and children. But I find they add to the shoot. You can rely on them to keep everyone distracted from the camera; most people aren't comfortable having their picture taken.

It worked; the time flew past, I don't think anyone noticed just how quickly we had the necessary shots in the bag.

A couple of days to choose and process the best ones, then upload and share the results.

This is always my most anxious time, waiting for their reply after I have sent the link to the picture library.

Will they like the ones I choose; were they expecting more?

Here are two of my favourites, catching a fleeting expression is always so rewarding.




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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Pay it forward




I'll start by saying this is not a post looking for well dones, or virtual pats on the back. I helped because I could.

I was nearly home after my Saturday morning ride when I came across a couple trying to move some flat packed furniture.

At first I thought they wanted to put it in the garage; but no, it needed to go to the house at the top of a long steep drive.

Their idea was to drag it up with an invalid carriage and a bit of pushing. This wasn't going to work.

As the load met the bottom of the slope the tractor unit's drive wheel started spinning. Applying weight just overloaded the electric motor.

The wife said her husband shouldn't have tried to move all of the packages in one go, she was right of course. But any man would have tried it. After shopping I always try to carry every bag in one go. I'd rather break a finger than make two trips.

I tested how heavy the first box was; I could carry each to the house quicker than they would be pulled up.

A few minutes later, all done. They shook my hand, said thanks and offered a coffee. I said it was fine. And then suggested they could do something for me: when driving give cyclists they see more room, and tell their friends.

Hopefully my good deed will be paid forward when they and their friends approach a fellow rider in the future.

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Saturday, 1 February 2020

An unusually long one.

turners hill bicycle

Stop sniggering at the back.

A more normal ride at the weekend is around twenty miles, Westerham or Smallfield being the far end of the loop.

But today I was on my own, and really needed to clear my head. The past week wasn't great, I just felt low and unmotivated. It was a real struggle to get out of bed. I haven't been eating properly either, a sure sign I wasn't in a good place.

My default destination for a solo ride has become Smallfield. It wasn't going to be enough so I continued to Turners Hill, adding an extra ten miles. The weather was great, much warmer than expected. I concentrated on keeping a good pace; that way my mind hadn't time to ponder any of life's worries. I can't tell you how much I need cycling, I tried in a previous post. The pain in my legs felt good as I pushed myself to go faster. An average speed of 12 mph on a mountain bike is doing ok I think.

I was tired all week, this morning before the ride was no exception. But now I'm back I feel energised. I had thought about spending Saturday and Sunday in bed. That would have been a mistake. It was so good to get out.

Tomorrow's forecast is for rain in the morning, maybe I'll go out a little later and avoid it. I don't want to stay in if at all possible.

I have a gym only a few minutes walk away, I'm not going to join, it's £53 a month. But they do spinning classes that make if much more affordable. If the weather is too bad it might be a good alternative. Simply riding an exercise bike is too boring, I never manage more than ten minutes.

February and March are normally the months for snow, I may take a walk over there soon.

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Monday, 27 January 2020

Music, it doesn't sound like it use to

status quo whitesnake rainbow

I have been listening to music transferred to digital from vinyl.

And it struck me that it sounded different, more raw. Maybe because it was originally on vinyl. I can't put my finger on it, today's music seems more clinical. I'm not an audiophile claiming vinyl is best, or that old tech can't be beaten. I don't have the space for a sound system like I use to. It's all on the computer or iPhone. I wish I had had the time to record all my records to digital.

My record collection is now lost to me. I could buy them in digital form. Or subscribe to a streaming service. If I collected a new album or downloaded part of my old collection every month, the subscription would kind of pay for itself. The problem would be that I am renting the music, if I end the subscription I lose access to it. Maybe it's my age, I need to change the way I access music.

I had the volume up, I don't often get to do that. And it was through speakers, not headphones. It took me back to seeing live music, often at the Hammersmith Odeon. Always rock, from heavy; Rainbow, Deep Purple to lighter; Status Quo, Foreigner etc. Before you write off Status Quo, listen to their early work; up to 1981. After that it went down hill.

For me; part of the listening experience is feeling the music. You can't get that unless you fill the room with sound. The better the amp and speakers, the greater the feeling. Unfortunately for my neighbours it also needs volume.

In the early days of CD's, the music sounded flat because they just re-recorded the mixes they had for vinyl. I wonder if going straight to digital has a similar effect, or is it just the way I listen now; the quality of the output device?

As a photographer, the album artwork interests me. Today though most is just the artist or group. I guess if you are primarily going to release you music online, why bother with creative imagery. The big format of vinyl meant it mattered more.


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Saturday, 18 January 2020

Wow, that was cold

sunrise mountain bike

I left the house and walked across the heavily frosted grass to the garage. It was definitely the coldest day of winter so far. At least it meant no rain.

This time of year; it's either mild and raining, or cold and dry. Dry is always better, the thermal socks I got from the grand kids for Christmas helped to ensure I didn't get too cold.

The roads were treacherous in places, a bend looked slippery so I slowed my approach. With no skill on my part I stayed upright, both wheels slid away from me but found grip before I fell.

I turned for home early, the further I went into the countryside the more dangerous the roads felt.

And then just as I started the last short climb to home the gears locked up. I couldn't change down from top. I had to get off and push the bike.

Took it to Ross's; was told Shimano shifters never break, must need greasing. Went back later, it's broken.

Obviously I can't ride my newer bike tomorrow so I've had to pump up the tyres on the Carrera.

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