Thursday, 26 December 2019

Christmas cycling

Christmas arrived much quicker than expected. Every year it creeps up on me. 

Not exactly the Norwegian tree in Trafalgar Square
Last Saturday was a total lose, strong wind and heavy rain. I have been defiant of the weather this year, rain hasn't forced me to abandon many rides. This time I just couldn't face it. As I typed the abort text to Matt, I was interrupted by the arrival of his.

I went for a walk to my local bike shop, Ross Cycles. He'd also passed on a morning ride; it was an off road route. I can't imagine how muddy it would have been. Or maybe I can; two mates and myself rode the South Downs Way many years ago.


The first day was torture, thick mud all the way, several times we were forced to push our bikes. At one point so much had built up on the wheels they beary turned, I'm sure the bikes had doubled in weight. I don't know how the gears still worked.

Last Sunday I did get out; I waited until the rain had stopped so it was a solo ride. I didn't have much time so it was all close to home.

Back to work Monday and Tuesday, and a ride first thing Christmas day before dinner with the  family.

black and white leaning against a fence

I went to Smallfields, a village on my route to Brighton. I was surprised to see so many other people out running and riding. Two runners, and five cyclists.

Today was another solo ride, Matt have family stuff to do.

bright shop window interior design studio
Not cycling related, but a bright beacon on a very grey day.
The weather forecast was for rain all day, but it was just overcast and grey when I woke up. So off to Westerham I went, it's not so hilly as the road to Smallfield, my route yesterday. I had a strong headwind most of the way, which help when it was time to go home. And the rain stayed away, until I left Westerham.

I cycled passed the shopfront above, but turned and stopped for a photograph. This time of year can be very dull, the very expensive chandeliers really stand out.

Foolhardy count; two runners, no cyclists.

I'll have to wait until next weekend for the promised and much anticipated cake.

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Sunday, 22 December 2019

initial abort

Yesterday morning, in fact most of the day, the weather was horrendous. Matt beat me to sending the abort text. I didn't mind not going out. I did miss cycling, but it wasn't worth the soaking, freezing conditions.

Today I awoke to similar weather and wasn't surprised to receive another abort text. But I was restless, the weather app said it would stop around eight, so I got up and dressed ready for a ride. I knew if I went out late it would have to a local one. And with the threat of rain, I could get home quickly.

As it turned out, it was a great but lonely ride. On my own there was no reason to stop, just out to Bletchingley after a loop of Happy valley. Eighteen miles wasn't bad considering I was never far from home.

The rain we have been getting wasn't as bad as some have had to endure, but the road flooding is worse than I remember in previous years.

Even going through them at the center of the road results in wet trainers. I wrapped my thermal socked feet in cling film. It seemed to work, I felt the cold water but quickly recovered.

It's worse when a car is coming the other way, if they don't stop I have to use the side of the road. The water is deeper and the bow wave they produce ensures I get even wetter.

Too big to coast through, pedaling gave me wet feet. 

There are some considerate drivers. Stopping to allow me take the crown of the road. Avoiding a worse soaking.


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Sunday, 15 December 2019

Only six more sleeps

van driving through a huge puddle

There was a short window where it didn't rain on Saturday morning, we got out in it. There was a lot of mud and debri on the road and many of the usual puddles. I normally build up momentum and coast through with my feet held high off the pedals. It keeps them fairly dry, but not this morning. I kept to the centre of the road where the water would be at its shallowest. But as I reached the mid way point the depth of the water was such that the bike really slowed down. I thought I'd have to lower my feet and pedal. Luckily I made it through but still had wet trainers. We didn't go much further, just to a church yard at the top of the next hill for our tea stop.

The return journey meant passing through the new Church Lane lake. This time oncoming traffic necessitated more caution and riding closer to the edge of the road. The van did slow down but the bow wave was pretty big and the water much deeper. I also had to pedal, which resulted in soaked feet. It wasn't a cold day so it didn't cause much discomfort. Wet feet are just part of cycling at this time of year. I have said it before; riding through the winter makes me appreciate the warmer months of the year.

I got home, showered and life started; breakfast and shopping. I have printed a few calendars featuring pictures taken over the past few years. Matt will get one tomorrow, I delivered to Ross Cycles on my way to the supermarket.

2020 calendar

It is the third year for what is likely to become a very collectable item. The previous two have been desktop A5 size. This time it's wall mount and roughly 8x10, a much better choice.


Saturday night had strong winds and heavy rain. Thankfully as the sun rose on Sunday there were clear blue skies.

A similar route to Saturday had us fording the Church Lane lake again. It was much deeper this time. Pedaling through had us dipping more than our toes in the cold water.


It wasn't too bad really, and was quickly forgotten once the tea came out at the bus stop.

Considering how much rain we saw last week, a mostly dry thirty mile weekend was better than I had expected.

Only six more sleeps until we can do it again.


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Friday, 22 November 2019

Lifestyle

dogs garden model

It's been a while since I did a photoshoot that was just to work on my ideas.

I wanted to produce the type of images you see in those lifestyle magazines included with the Sunday papers. The glossy suppliments.

It's not easy to find a good location, studio sets look too staged and a lot of houses don't have varied enough areas to make it interesting. I found a great model who had access to the perfect house; it all seemed to click.

You know it's going to be a good shoot when you both synchronise quickly and there is no initial awkwardness.


The garden is massive and seemed to go on for ever. With so many areas, with different looks.





The dogs were brilliant as well. Varying their poses from looking at Rose and then the camera like pros. Even looking away into the distance to keep it all looking natural.



The sun breaking out of and then disappearing into cloud made it tricky, but we worked to make sure  the scene was exposed correctly, filling in with flash when needed.



The house has an incredible number of rooms, again everyone a little different.



We could have continued shooting for a lot longer, next time I'll allow for a longer session.

The final room, didn't need extra lighting. I wanted a moody shot, lit by the window.


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Sunday, 17 November 2019

Why do I cycle in the winter?


Now that I have warmed up, I'm glad I got out. But as I cycle with gradually cooling feet I do wonder why I do it.

This time of year tests my determination. I recently wrote about getting cold feet and my attempts to combat it. Over the years it's been a recurring theme for this blog. This weekend I don't feel I'm winning the battle, no matter what I try. Special socks, multiple layers, I've tried lots or permutations. Some have lasted a while, but none have worked for the whole ride. It's not like I'm out for long, maybe two hours maximum.

 I know I could use indoor exercise equipment, apart from not having the space, I have to admit; I wouldn't use it.

When I'm not on my own, there is humour to be had, and general good times. Solo rides are more tricky to get motivated for. There is satisfaction at overcoming the temptation to stay inside and keeping fit.

Photography is always a motivator for me; the late sunrises can make for more interesting skys. I need to include new routes, the usual places have yielded all they can.

Lastly there is answering the question my wife often asks; who else was stupid enough to go out when it's so cold?

Yesterday was a busy day for cyclist spotting, not so good today. I only saw three other hardy souls this morning.

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Wednesday, 13 November 2019

No value, character, significance

No value, character, significance or physical form. A line from an interview I read with an image creator Shane Balkowitsch; he doesn't really call himself a photographer. It was predominately about a shoot he did with Greta Thundberg

He said because pictures created using phones aren't printed they don't mean anything. He could be talking about any digital camera.

The shoot is discussed in more depth here. Maybe you can tell me why it's powerful, or beautiful. The headshot is distorted and poorly lit; to me at least. Had it been taken with a modern camera, with less distortion and better exposure; would it have been less powerful? In the full lenght picture Greta looks lost, and vulnerable. Maybe that's the intent, but it's a picture I would quickly scroll over.

The pictures are created using a 165 year old process called Wet Plate Ambtotypes; I'll let you look that up. He has pictures hanging at the Smithsonian.

The article seemed to suggest a contempt for digital images.

He needs a big camera, and glass plates coated in chemicals. Each shot requires conditions to be perfect; the right amount of chemicals, temporature, humidity and even wind if it's outdoors. It then has to be developed straight away.

I do agree that never printing a picture is a shame, but just because an image is ones and zeros instead of the result of a chemistry experiment doesn't make it less important or worthy.

More people will see a digital picture, most are uploaded to social media straight away.

Another point was that this method ensures the image will a hundred years and a digital image will only be viewable as long as there is a device to read it. An apocalypse would leave us just his prints. If the worst happened, art may not be our top priority.

The way I understood it; in his opinion a picture should be physical and be difficult to achieve to have value. He went to great lengths to describe how much effort it took, and that if everything wasn't perfect he may have nothing to show for his time.

I know we are taking more pictures than ever, and the majority will never be viewable without a computer, but is he being fair?

They all have value however fleetingly. 

More people can now document their lives, their family and experiences. Isn't that a good thing?

The process appears more important than the end result, or the end result is of more value because of the process.


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Sunday, 10 November 2019

Cold toes

sunrise with mountain bike
I just missed the best part of the sunrise, but the clouds kept the picture interesting. 
It's been threatening to get cold for the last week or so. The car windscreens have been frosted on my road once this past seven days.

As predicted on the last post, my feet were freezing shortly after leaving the house. The rest of me was lovely and warm. The cold took my by surprise, as it always does. It gets gently cooler each weekend, and then suddenly I have painful toes.

I'm still thinking about the summer, and longer rides to little villages and pubs. How are they now so far in the past?

I am determined to get out no matter the weather, I'll stay at home if it gets too dangerous though. December last year, had me slipping, sliding and eventually going down. I have been lucky so far. Matt and I do go out in the snow, it's not that bad until it starts to melt. The fun wears off quickly, as we get wetter and colder. The likelihood of ice is what keeps us inside. Hit a patch and it's almost guaranteed to end painfully.

Today was a lone ride, Matt has been plagued with punctures. It's become very common to get an abort due to a flat text; very frustrating.

Being on my own meant I could choose a different route. I rode along roads that normally lead to Brighton or at least a pub a few miles short of the coast. I knew I wouldn't have time to go that far, so at ten miles I turned around and headed for home. Unfamiliar roads gave the ride new interest. Matt and I rarely have the spare time we use to so we do less exploring.

The picture below was taken yesterday as we sat at the bus stop drinking our beverage of choice, I have had the mud guard for years. But the humour in the name only just dawned on me. They're a British company based in Cornwall. It does as good a job as the big guards you attach to the seat post, but doesn't work loose all the time. I think it looks neater too.

mucky nutz mudguard

Next weekend it'll be time to increase the layers of clothing, and maybe avoid the slow way to the bus stop. It's always the first to get icey and both times I have fallen, it's been on this road. The problem is the B269 is an unpleasant place to cycle. People drive along it with little regard for cyclists, and the cycle path is poorly maintained and at this time of the year thickly covered in wet, slippery leaves. I'm sure it's where Matt picks up his punctures. On the way home we part company at the start of the road; I turn off down a twisty lane, and Matt often takes to the path.

Thirty six miles this weekend, with plenty of hills; I'm really pleased with that. Apart from holidays, I have barely missed a ride.

Can't wait for next weekend.

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Saturday, 26 October 2019

A blustery day

This morning's ride was almost missed. I went to sleep to the sound of strong wind, it was the same when I woke. The weather had been unpredictable all week. But it wasn't raining so I went out.   

Other cakes are available, but not in my cupboard .
Wet leaves, slippery roads and gusty wind is not a great combination, but I had to blow the past week away.

Seventeen miles, some of it off road was a good chance to do just that. It wasn't cold, so a pleasant hour and half was spent in the saddle.


On the way back I decided to get a move on, the meandering route meant a mixture of head and tail wind. The picture above is from my go-pro. I had a tail wind but was still impressed when the speed display went off. Until I heard the car approaching. Maybe I won't be entering any road races on my mountain bike.

Back at the house there was one cake left in the packet, no good for sharing with the wife, so I did the only thing possible, ate it quickly.

Tomorrow is predicted to be bright and sunny, it'll also be the first day of winter. And I'll have had an extra hour in bed.

The next few weeks are normally dry but the temperature starts to drop. Each year I get better at choosing a warmer cycling wardrobe, I haven't quite perfected it for fingers and toes though. I'll complain about it, but still get out. What else am I going to do?


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Sunday, 20 October 2019

You can plan a pretty picnic But you can't predict the weather

autumn leaves, bike tree trunk

I didn't have a pretty picnic planned, but I hoped to get some cycling in. It had rained most days during the week, I knew I was going to be on my own for Saturday at least. All of these weren't helping my motivation as I woke up yesterday. But as I looked out of the window I could see it was going to be a glorious day. I headed to Westerham, my default target if I have a little extra time. It's twenty two miles there and back, with a few challenges to get the heart pumping. I felt over dressed, within no time I was boiling hot. Considering the past week, I wasn't going to complain.

black and white in westerham
A black and white shot at Westerham
Today was a little cooler, still dry and not really cold. I didn't have so much time, so it was a loop to Tatsfield via a little lane for the picture opportunity at the top of this post; seventeen miles in all. Plenty of fallen leaves, a reminder how slippery the roads can be. This time of year there is always the threat of wet roads, manhole covers and potholes. In a month or so ice and snow will add to the drama. It won't put me off, indoor trainers are no good for me. After twenty minutes I get bored and stop. If I'm out on the road, and stop, I still have to get home. There is no roadside assistance or rescue vehicle waiting for my call to action.

I have tomorrow off work, so I might get a cheeky ride in. The world, or at least Surrey and Kent, is my oyster.

Hope you had a great weekend.

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Saturday, 12 October 2019

Open your mind, only gates need to be kept closed.

close the gate sign

Like last weekend I kept it close to home. It's not cold, but a soaking was not in my plans.

This time I was out on my road bike so I added an extra climb. The route is gently up and down with only one serious climb. It was at the bottom of this hill I noticed the gate in the picture above.

It got me thinking about the many issues in the headlines at the moment. And how the internet generates a lot of discussion. It's a shame most is from closed minds. Maybe people should be fined for not having an open mind. There is nothing wrong with being passionate about your views or beliefs. It only becomes a problem when you are blind to differences.

Think of any subject, do a search on the internet, and you will be faced with polarised groups.

A few good rules I use to decide if I want to comment on an opinion are;

Check for name calling. A sure sign that one or both sides have nothing contructive to say.

Are facts quoted, without any checking? A lot of the time it's biased interpretation, highligting just part of the report, or just plain lies. If enough people share this, it takes on a false lagitimacy.

Another good one is to label people, it's much easier to shout this at anyone you don't agree with than to listen. It's usually a sign you don't have anything else to say.

I'll sign off now.

Be kind, and listen.

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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Dodging the rain

black and white bike on the hill

I went to sleep on Saturday to the sound of very heavy rain, and woke up to it this morning. It was fifty-fifty whether I'd go out or not. It's not the rain that was putting me off so much as the cold. This year I resolved to not be dissuaded by rain. I haven't done bad. But it's not summer anymore, did I really want to go out that much? I knew I'd regret it later if I didn't. I faffed around the house, not ready to give up, but not keen to go out. And then it started to easy off so out I went. By the time I closed the garage door it had stopped. I set off on a very local circuit, if it started hammering down I could return home.

The weather improved the longer I was out, it was even warming up. I was still getting a soaking from the wet road and puddles, no big deal.

I had to concentrate more than usual, some parts of the route was under water, there were slippery wet leaves and manhole covers to avoid. And the potential for potholes to be hidden by deep water.

I made it home safely, very few cars helped.

When I got home I looked at the app on my phone, somehow I had done fifteen miles.

I have been thinking about cycling to work, but it really isn't safe enough. Most of the route would be on Croydon's twenty miles per hour roads. But no-one comes close to that speed, when I am on those roads in my car it can be very dangerous. Like when I'm on my bike, everyone is desperate to overtake no matter how unsafely.

There is talk of subsidising the move to electric cars to reduce polution. It may mean less polution near roads, but it won't make them safer or more efficient. Ultimately people need to be persuaded to use altenatives. The money could be better spent making public transport cheaper, and more plentiful and on improving cycling infrastructure

There just too many cars, electric or otherwise.

This video from my ride could be of almost all roads; full of parked cars with little thought for anyone not in motorised.


My wife is in a wheelchair; how are we to pass along this or any road like it? Maybe by going down the middle of the road! Anyone with a pram would be faced with the same dangerous choice.

We can't go anywhere that is accessed by a minor road, unless we drive.

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Sunday, 29 September 2019

Shimano Tiagra 4700

Shimano Tiagra 4700

Back in May I bought a second hand Giant road bike. I have ridden around two hundred miles on it since. A British summer being what it is, these rides included sun, heavy rain and even hailstones. I said it was a vast improvement over my Carrera. But I wasn't impressed with the brakes. The Carrera has Shimano Sora's which aren't brilliant, but were better. I planned to upgrade, and when the bottom bracket bearing started to seize I took the opportunity to have the Shimano Tiagra 4700 fitted whilst the bike was in for the warranty repair.

I was watching the tour of Britain and during the pre start section an expert and ex racer was explaining the difference between rim and disk brakes; which was better and why. He mentioned disks are more dependable in the wet, could require less pressure to work, and maybe have improved modulation, they could be heavier though and slowed wheel changes. But then he said something that puzzled me; rim brakes were for pros or at least more experienced riders. He said newer riders wouldn't know how to anticipate the delay you get with rim brakes, especially in the wet. So that makes me a pro, I think. Although my mountain bike has twin piston hydraulic calipers and bigger than standard rotors, so I maybe not that much of a pro.

This pic shows the new brakes, it was taken straight after a ride. It's used all year round even in hail and thunderstorms.

What did I think of the upgrade?

The brakes look almost indentical to the originals, but are totaly different. There is no lag, they bite straight away, and are much more powerful with retardation in reserve.

I could modulate the force easily, the original brakes just had to be grabbed as hard a possible to slow down. I'm sure it would be possible to lock the front wheel with the Tiagra's.

When Ross said I'd notice a massive improvement, I was a little sceptical. How wrong I was.

I wonder how much it would add to the price of the bike if they were on there to begin with.


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Thursday, 26 September 2019

Ross Cycles

ross cycles caterham shopfront

A while back Ross at Ross Cycles talked to me about his website. He wanted to personalise it. Emphasise him as the face of the shop.

One of his advantages over bigger establishments is that he is there when you visit. He will do the work on your bike. He'll remember the last time work was done.

You'll likely be dealing with different people every time you visit one of the chain stores, and they may not be as passionate about bikes as Ross.

Sometimes I just go in to talk bikes, or the rides he organises. I wouldn't do that with the chain stores. It's handy that he is only a few minutes walk from my house.

The big companies have left my area. They have moved away to retail parks.

I started to think about what shots would be neeeded. I had also to consider how bright the day would be; Ross wanted a shot of the exterior, I knew the interior would need extra illumination. Hiding the two flashes and bouncing the light off the ceiling worked, after a little experimentation.

There is a section on the website listing the many workshop packages on offer. They all had the same image. I wanted to add variety to the page.

cleaning

adjusting gears

adjusting gears

adjusting gears biked on electric lift

And lastly some close-ups.




Like me, Ross doesn't feel comfortable in front of the camera. For this reason I shot the exterior first, then shots of him working on the bikes. Only when he had relaxed a bit did we do the close-ups.

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Saturday, 14 September 2019

Sigh… there goes another summer, Snoopy!


Chafford arms garden

Last weekend Richard an I cycled 48 miles to Fordcombe and back, for a drink. Well not exactly, we hadn't got together for a long time, so needed to catch up. As is the case with good friends we were soon chatting as if no time had passed.

It was a tough ride, with some challenging hills but Thatchers cider at the Chafford Arms coupled with good food made up for it.

thatchers cider at the chafford arms fordcombe


We arrived a little before it opened, so we had plenty of time to find a table in the big garden.
Once open it filled quickly but the service was speedy and efficient. We were quickly tucking into a tasty lunch. I'm not normally a cider drinking, but I'm glad I choose to be. It was delicious, just what I needed to top up my energy for the ride home.

It had started out a bit chilly, within a few miles the temperature was just right. By the time we sat down for lunch it had become a very pleasant afternoon, just right for a pub lunch in the garden. We talked about what we had both been up to and our plans. Richard is a beekeeper, I'm looking forward to some honey next year; I'll start saving some jars. It's a lot more work than I thought it would be, and if he's not careful they could just fly away. It's now all about building their reserves for the winter, having taken the honey during the summer Richard has to feed them quickly. He'll be wrapping them up soon, to ward off the winter cold.

Today was a solo ride, Matt having returned from his holidays late yesterday. So I took out the road bike. 

The hills felt a little harder than usual, even the flat was tougher that it should be. Am I getting old all of a sudden? Nope; the bottom bracket has started to seize. A quick trip to Ross Cycles to drop off the bike after my shower will have it sorted by next weekend. I took the opportunity to have the brakes upgraded. They have improved a bit since my first ride, but not enough.

This morning was really chilly, I didn't take my jacket off until I was heading home, a real sign of impending winter. It's beautiful now, with better promised for tomorrow. 

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Bold and bright

court basketball


I have been working hard on my photography, trying new styles and pushing myself with new challenges. Personally I have seen improvement, both in the quality of my work and my confidence.

But it's great when others see it.

I have had a number of photoshoots with Saskia, the last one was a few months ago.

Her mum approached me about a shoot for a designer. (facebook page) She had been asked to recommend a photographer, and Janise suggested me. That was a big boost, and a new challenge.

The theme was sporty so a tennis court was an ideal location; would the weather intervene?



I had hoped for a sunny day feel; but it rained for a short time and was overcast. A typical summer day.

A remote flash added a little punch to the scene.

At one point we had quite a crowd; moving to a different court cured them of their curiosity. I don't usually mind an audience, Saskia is use to it too. But when they stare from a few feet away it can be off-putting.

Janise got involved as well.




We tried to vary the poses and use every inch of the courts.





 Janise noticed one with pink chairs, although faded, they still added to the variety for the pink outfit.



This last outfit was a little less sporty, no-one is going to play tennis in those heels.


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Saturday, 31 August 2019

Deeper into Kent than normal

oast house kent

I don't normally cycle very far past Westerham, there isn't the time. But today I had some of that precious commodity. It was to be a lone ride, so I set my sights on Fordcombe. It looked like a good distance, just under 48 miles. And I'm due to cycle with some mates next weekend to the Chafford Arms in the village. I wasn't sure of the route, how hilly it was and if it was quiet or busy roads. It was good to reccy it and report back.

Sorry Matt and Richard, there are a few hills, one or two particularly challenging.

Although it didn't seem as bad as the Cyclemeter graph below.



The weather was perfect, not too hot with little wind so I kept up a reasonable pace. The bike has drop handlebars, but I rarely get in to the low drag position. It isn't particularly comfortable and the bumps threaten to loosen my grip. It does make a big difference, but I'm not racing anyone so I mostly stick to the top tube.

fordcombe kent

I arrived earlier than I had expected, so the pub was closed. Leaving later and being on mountain bikes next weekend should mean it will be open. It'll be great to catch up over a pint and some food.

I can guess at the meaning of the village name, a ford across a river in a valley, looking at the graph above it is in a valley. But has a steep climb to enter it, well away from any river. The pub gets good reviews so I'm looking forward to visiting it.

With not much to do, I ate a cereal bar, took some pics and headed home.

I'm starting to rack up the miles on the road bike; it was okay for most of the journey. Every bike I have owned seems to fit, until a longer distance is attempted. It's always the same, thirty nine miles all is well, but as forty rolls past. Thighs, knees and my back all cry enough. Fortunately it was a simple fix; move the seat forward and tilt the front up a bit more. Pedaling and pushing yourself back onto the seat takes its toll, hopefully it's sorted and I can enjoy the longer rides again.

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Monday, 26 August 2019

Remember the good stuff

shadow of the cycle helmet

The long weekend hasn't let us down.

Great weather coincided with a bank holiday, I'm sure it often does but I don't always remember.

It seems most holidays are marred by rain; or is it me holding onto negative experiences?

I can vividly recall mistakes, poor performance and disappointments. But successes, and good times; they're a little more difficult to recollect.

I suppose a diary would be a good idea, maybe that's why people write them.

I guess it could, subconsciously, be why I started this blog. I use it to record photography and cycling, both produce memories worth holding on to; shared experiences with friends, challenges overcome, and achievements.

I read it when I need reassurance or encouragement, a kind of "you got this".

It's too easy to think nothing is going well, but as I write this and think about old posts it has me remembering the good stuff. Not only what I have written previously but the day to day highs, that don't make it here.

We all have them, we just need to recount and value them.

It's said there is always someone worse off, I don't want to feel better at another's expense. We all need to count our blessings and not take what we have for granted. It's a more positive way to live.

Yesterday I caught up with a friend I hadn't seen for a while for his birthday, just four days until the weekend, I am working in London on Friday with the rest of the company and then a week off.

Four blessings right there.

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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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