Experiments in photography…

Dark, moonlit image of a small house surrounded by trees
Tripod mounted shot of our house in Glen Arklet under a gibbous, waxing moon, the night before the first full moon in October 2017

A couple of nights ago I saw this when I was out with the dog and snapped it with my iPhone.

I went inside and despite the late hour decided to head back out with my best camera and a tripod – this is the result, with which I am fairly pleased, though I am looking forward to the next moonlit and clear night so that I can try again…


More photos from my shoot with Merrique Sainte

I only managed to post one image from my shoot with Merrique at the beginning of June, so here are some more images that I have posted on the usual photo websites. What with publishing the pictures of Jin earlier in the week I wanted to do a proper job of showing off some of the results from the shoot with Merrique.


More new photography…

On Tuesday last week, sandwiched between 2 days of meetings in London I was able to organise another shoot with a model visiting from the US, and indeed another model who had heard of me thanks to Floofie (see posts passim – first of the two images in this post after the copy of the poster.).

So, I present the fabulous Jin N Tonic (she has several web presences, but her current IndieGoGo is ending at the end of this week, so it seemed like the best link)


New photography…

While we were in The Philippines I took a break from shooting with models. There were lots of reasons for this, but the main one was that I was not comfortable with pursuing my particular area of interest, specifically fine art nudes, whilst we were there.

Now that we are back in the UK I am going to be doing more of this again, and I started off with the opportunity to shoot a friend of the last model that I worked with before we went away. In fact it is through meeting and working with Floofie that I came to notice the work of the estimable Merrique Sainte and as luck would have it she is in London at the moment.

Anyway, here we are; here is the first image I am “putting out there”…


Travelling with kids – it is NOT easy, but it is worth it.

kids running
My kids, running and playing together at the Hōryū-ji temple in Nara, Japan

The thing about working in startups is that sometimes, as you become the kind of person that makes up a part of the senior team, you have to put the company ahead of your own needs and your own self. As the Head of Engineering at Zipmatch I had, from the beginning, had an honest dialogue with the founders about the fact that there might come a time when they needed to ask me to step away as part of a readjustment of the company’s cost profile. That moment came just after New Year this year, and as promised I agreed to take a bow and step off the stage so that the company could go on. I was not the only person who left, to be sure, but that this decision came so early in the year did have one knock-on effect for me and my family; we could no longer afford to take in both Australia and Japan on our way back to the UK as we had planned. We talked about this and decided on Japan – Lee-Anne and I have both wanted to visit Japan for almost all of our lives – and I have to say I am very glad that we did.

Anyway to the purpose of this post…

Travelling with kids is not easy. That’s not to say that I suggest you don’t do it. Quite the contrary if you have kids and you have the money I would strongly urge you to travel with them, but don’t believe some Pinterest / Facebook / Instagram mashup of well meaning lies that it is easy.

It is not.

It is rewarding though, in all kinds of little ways, and some very big ones as well. The photograph above was one of those precious moments that simply would never have come into my life if we were not committed to travelling with our children. We were coming to the end of a very interesting and engaging visit to Horyu-ji Temple, just outside Nara, and the kids had been a little bit difficult the whole time. We had been forced to constantly remind them to not kick the stones that were so clearly raked every morning by the monks, to not climb on the temple buildings, and to not fight with one another, or scream at a temple-inappropriate level at random intervals. Even with these many micro-aggressions against our calm, it was a lovely visit, to a beautiful, serene and utterly unique place. We were walking back to the bus stop, through the temple precincts when I caught this image. The kids, the Geeklings as I have started to refer to them, are still at a place in their lives and their relationships with one another that they are “best friends”. The whole day had been one of imagined play between them, races between point a and b, pretending that this temple building or that was their special base – the kind of play that we all have almost forgotten as adults and yet when we see it in our kids we know it instantly and value it almost above anything else. They had been very lovely (when they were not being awful), and then to see them running together like this was just a piece of magic.

These moments, and the ones where they break character and are actually interested in something that we are seeing / learning about, and the ones where they try some new food or taste and a look of unalloyed joy spreads across their faces… This is why I do love travelling with my kids, and I know that Lee-Anne feels the same way, but in her own different way too.

We are two-thirds of the way home and I am typing this in a departure gate area in Abu Dhabi Airport, waiting for our connecting flight to Manchester and home. The predominant thought in my mind after seeing Britain again, and seeing Mum and Dad is, if I am honest, the excitement I have for the promise made by my parents to take the kids for three or four days so that Lee-Anne and I can get away (once we are over the jet lag) and just be by ourselves for a little while.


Pictures first, words to follow…


photograph of cup of coffee and plate of toast by a swimming pool

Our Man in Makati..?

So, finally, after two and a half weeks of being here – a BLOG POST!

We arrived in the Philippines after a remarkably easy journey… Seriously both Lee-Anne and I were experiencing a considerable amount of anxiety over how the kids would fare with two eight hour flights back to back, but they were fantastic little troopers. There was one flash-point – what shall forever more be known as “The Abu Dhabi Incident” – but to focus on that would be to completely ignore how wonderfully behaved they were compared to our least terrifying nightmares.

Stepping off the plane, we could tell it was hot, but the corridor we walked into was air conditioned. It was leaving the Baggage Reclaim when we realised that it was in fact HOT. By the time I had turned some dollars into Philippines Pesos (forever more to be known as PHP, which will amuse a tiny fraction of this blog’s readership), walked twenty feet to the man running the official airport taxis and arranged our fare and I was praying that the taxi would have air conditioning.

It did, of course, everything is air conditioned here, even the lifts – or perhaps that should be especially the lifts? We found our AirBnB place – taxi drivers here do know their way around, but it’s not the same as “The Knowledge” in London, it’s more like a Private Hire cabbie in Basingstoke, you know? The place is small, but we expected that and had planned and packed accordingly. I can honestly say after two and a half weeks in the place that we love it; we’ve even toyed with staying in it longer, but I pointed out that as the kids get even a few months older we are going to need a little bit more space to enable us to escape, and to allow them to run about (more).

The first day I was hideously over-confident about the jet-lag. I was soon back in my place, having fallen asleep on the couch before 2100h (local), and thus began the horrific process of trying to recover from jet-lag while one’s own children are failing to recover from jet-lag. I tried to take the advice; swim (no really it helps), eat when you need to, stay up later than you think you should but not too late. I tried, I really did, but the day before my first day at work I woke up at 1400h; not “I stayed in bed until 1400h desperately trying to get some more sleep unable to get up”, I WOKE UP at 1400h.

During that re-adjustment period I did a little exploring, found the nearest thing to what I recognised as a supermarket, and as a family we went to farmers’ market on the park a block away from our condo. The rest of the time was spent sleeping, doing prep-work for my new job, playing Minecraft – I have dragged Lee-Anne over to the dark side and got her on my server, Mwahahahahaha – sleeping and watching BBC World News, oh yeah and swimming as much as possible.

Yeah, I know, “cry me a river” – there is a pool outside your patio, dude! Even so, I was very worried that my first day at work would be a season in Hell. So, I tried to go to bed at a reasonable hour – around 2300h – and I got up with plenty of time to have a swim (cold but genuinely worth the effort), and found my way to the office on the first try. Of course I was the first Westerner there, but that’s ok. I’m not suggesting that my Western colleagues are tardy, they most certainly are not, but they arrive at around 0900h and on my first day I was there by 0820h. A lot of the Filipino members of the team arrive at the office between 0630h and 0730h in order to beat the morning traffic in and to leave early to beat the afternoon traffic on their way home, whereas most of the Westerners are living so close to the office that none of us are driving here, so traffic is not an issue (more on driving in Makati and wider Metro Manila in another post).

Day one was a series of meetings and chats with various people and was over before I knew it. I wandered home, happy and tired, via the “supermarket” and then proceeded to collapse into a heap on the sofa – Lee-Anne was not best pleased. Of course, that was not the whole story, I perked up at around 2300h and then could not get back to sleep…

I am mostly back on a sane sleep / wake schedule now, and the kids are almost there too, but that first week was HARD and the pool + coffee, and the support and encouragement of my awesome wife are the only things that got me through it.

Work is, as I expected, a lot of plate-spinning, a lot of cans of worms to be opened and dealt with, decisions made etc. and I am loving it. It feels as though I am exactly where I need to be professionally, and the people I am working with are all pulling in the same direction, which is something I came to take for granted at the BBC, but am now quite sure that I would be unable to handle the absence of such shared purpose in this new environment.

The next couple of weeks are going to be very busy and very stressful – I don’t imagine that I am going to be able to blog about them because of time constraints – but in a month or so I think that I will be fully in control of the technical side of things, and I hope to be able to get us into a good groove in terms of adopting some good practices and improving on our approach to Agile working. There is a great foundation to work with, but we definitely need some fine-tuning and so that’s what I am going to be doing.

So, in the meantime, please be assured that there is more to come and I leave you with this thought;

"There is no greater stroke of genius, nor is there any greater enterprise of evil than to make it possible to have Burger King delivered to your door up until 2100h at night, that is until you realise that McDonalds deliver 24 hours a day here. Stay Classy, Makati!"

I hope that you are all surviving the extreme weather about which BBC World News has been almost gleeful in the telling, and that this despatch from the Orient finds you all in good health and good spirits. We do miss Blighty from time to time, and many of you far more and more often than the place herself, but it would be dishonest to say that we are doing anything but enjoying the new experiences and the new way of life that this adventure has brought thus far.

More to follow.
.
EOT


Scott Church Legacy Show 2015

Ok, so with thanks to all those who weighed in, here are the images that I am submitting to Scott Church‘s Legacy Show for 2015, after being invited to contribute.

Here is the flyer for the show

Legacy Show Flyer 2014

I have ordered the prints and will be sending them to Scott as soon they are delivered and I have time to make sure that they have been printed correctly 😉

Floofie - Nymph
Floofie – Nymph
Rachelle - Personal Time
Rachelle – Personal Time

Help Me LazyWeb, you are my only hope…

I have been asked to contribute two images that I have created this year to my friend Scott Church‘s New Year gallery show in Pennsylvania, and I have narrowed the shortlist down to five, but I need your help, Dear Reader, in deciding the final selection, so please can you have a look and tell me which two you think that I should pick.


Another image from Saturday…

Last Saturday (as per entries passim), I spent some time photographing a model from the US, who works under the name Floofie. We spent some of that time in a local studio in Sevenoaks, adding to my “Shadow Walkers” project.

The image above has been chosen for this post specifically because it is Facebook safe (or ought to be) so I can publish this post ‘everywhere’ without fear of repercussions, but if you would like to see the rest (NSFW), you can see them in either of the following locations (the Flickr link will require that you are signed in, to at least a free account, and that you have set your content filter accordingly, whereas the 500px link will just require you to toggle nudity):

Shadow Walkers – Floofie (on Flickr)

Shadow Walkers – Floofie (on 500px)

Comments / feedback always welcome 🙂