Time for a Breather….


Over the past few days I have been rewatching Game of Thrones and especially the last season and I have to say on the whole it isn’t that bad.   I would agree that it did seem somewhat rushed.  I guess some on the internet would argue that it was rubbish and that is fine but it is also worth recalling that it is just fantasy and isn’t real.


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On the Common…


Well that was an interesting experiment – bolt a couple of Canon FD lens circa 1975 onto a Sony A7 R3.  Suddenly you come to appreciate just how sharp modern lenses are!   I find when using these lenses the best images are usually black and white.   Interesting as the experiment was I don’t think I’ll be repeating it anytime soon.

In the afternoon autumn light the old trackways across the Common are secret glades of light and autumn fruit.  Occasionally a Coney’s tale can be seen bobbing through the undergrowth.  Less than 500 metres away a new brewery is coming to life yet along trackways there is a timeless feel.   People have been living in this area for milenia – the Roman armies that marched along the nearby Fosse Way are closer to today than they are to the first houses and farms in the area.  Somehow, in the autumn sun you get a glimpse of what the world was like back then.

The next day’s dawn breaks through the mists of autumn.  Another year seems to pick up it’s skirt and cantor towards the  winter solstice.  However, this year, unlike the last, the common has seen little flooding.  Whether that will last is really in the hands of forces much larger than anything that man could unleash.

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Sniffed by Bullocks…


“Our lives can no longer be put on hold,….We must learn to live with it…”

Rishi Sunak


Whether I agree with his politics or not this just about sums up my views of the Covid 19 crises.   The world is changing before our eyes and we have just got to somehow learn to live the situation.   It is not going to be easy and we are all going to have to give up things that we don’t want to but that is the way life will be for the foreseeable future.

On other Covid related news it was recently reported that going on an awe-inspiring walk will help you deal with the mental effects of nights drawing in and Corvid bad news.   So today I did just that – well not awe inspiring but went for a walk in the bright autumn sun.

And along the way way I was sniffed at by a herd of fisky bullocks.

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Eastman Color…


After the black and white images of yesterday I thought it would be nice to blink once more into the world of colour.   Yesterday was a busy day.

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A Long Day…..

It has been a long day.  At dawn I was out to catch the first light of probably the last day of what has passed for freedom this year.   Tomorrow promises to bring more restrictions for most and sorrow for some.

So with this in mind we made a dash upto Liverpool to catch the Don McCullin exhibition.  McCullin is a wonderfully forceful photographer  who has recorded some of the worst things man can do to man over the last 60 years.   He has also been a huge influence on the photography that I make.   I didn’t really realise just how much until today as I stood by the display cabinet and saw McCullin’s work in the Sunday Times Magazine.   This is the same magazine I used to consume as a kid each Sunday and so perhaps without knowing it was exposed to his work.

As for the photographs well what can be said?   Nothing I guess other than I have seen many of them before and they don’t lose their power.

It has been a long day and I am tired.  Tomorrow I have the welcome task of sorting through the 1000 images I have captured today….There are worse ways of spending a day.

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I blame Holbein….


Over the past few weeks I have been wading through Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy and I have to say it has really coloured my world view at the moment.   We, the UK ( Yes around 40% of Scots voted for Brexit as well as a similar number in Northern Ireland) are going through yet another convulsion in our confused relationship with continental Europe.   We have a fickle leader who doesn’t seem to know from one day to the next what he thinks.   His supporters claim that this is a cunning plan to put the nasty Europeans on the backfoot.  Unfortunately, the only foot that seems to have been injured in this latest example of government thinking is our own as we seem to have shot ourselves in it.

On a wider scale this whole thing does remind me of the divorce of Catherine of Aragon from Henry 8th – a very disunited Europe coming together only to condemn the English King.  Eventually some form of compromise was found although it took years.  This sounds oh so familiar.

As a result of Wolf Hall I started to look once more at the sketches of the English court by Hans Holbein.  One of them caught my eye, Thomas More and Family, and this was the inspiration for the drawing above.   I wondered whether Jacob Rees-Mogg should have been included, even though he is such caricature in real life, as he is being frozen out of the whole Government process.  Then of course he went and opened his mouth.  Endless Carping!  This is a Government that just keeps on putting their foot in their huge mouth!   I think I’m going to stop with these foot metaphors .

So maybe it was all a cunning (or is that Cumming’s?) plan and we will get a deal of sorts with the EU, it won’t be the end but just the beginning of years of squabbling, and we may well hit the Prime Minister’s 500k testing capacity by the end of next month.   But given the current incumbent of No 10’s performance who knows other than there will be yet another  unforced error just around the corner. Then another…then another…then…..

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Strange Bedfellows….


Strange the way that inspiration takes you!

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Silent Running….

Another day another test of my new Sony A7 R3 camera body so I decided to take the electronic shutter for a test whilst hanging around the Clock Tower in Leicester this morning.

The overall result was that it wasn’t bad at all.   I had the shutter set to 1/500th and a mixture of F stops between f2 and f5.6 whilst using the Sony 50mm f1.8 – the so called ‘nifty fifty’. Things seemed to work out really well providing you don’t try to pan too quickly.   The big problem I did get, and I had found this out the previous weekend whilst again walking through central Leicester,  was that letting the camera rest off my shoulder when it wasn’t being used meant that many of the setting set by both the wheel and function button kept setting themselves to wildly inappropriate settings. Compared to a small amount of rolling shutter this was far more serious.

The best solution to this I have found is to switch the camera off when not using it as at least that way I can guarantee the setting will remain the same.  (As I shoot RAW this is an annoyance but if was only shooting JPEGnot sure why you would do that with a 42M Pixel sensor but some people might) – it could mean that many images would become unusable as opposed to needing work in post.) The time delay caused by the camera booting itself up, about 1 – 2 seconds, is less than the time I would have to waste checking that the setting are correct for what I want to do.   This is really annoying but hardly a show stopper and when compared to the glorious results this sensor gives is something I can live with.

So the electronic shutter isn’t a problem for me for the way I use my camera compared to changing of settings whilst the camera sits on hip between shots is.   But again I’m old enough and ugly enough to have come up with an work around.   It hardly enhances the user experience  and could be described as a major problem (there may be a solution if I dig deep enough in the menu system, which I have done, but haven’t found a solution to date).  I like the images I have captured with the camera  and, as I have mentioned more that once, they are only meant to please me – if other people like them is a very welcome bonus.

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A few Days in the Garden….


Another period of immobility – getting old is a real pain!   So nothing more to do than to pass the time of day in the garden.

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‘Tis the Season…

It only seems like yesterday when Brexit was the talk of the town – not sure what replaced it?   Anyway, it is Brexit season again and this time it is for real (where have we heard that before?).  We have blood curdling articles about how this is crazy and this is wrong.  Steve Baker has once again become a thing and the European Union is threatening all sorts of craziness.   I am currently listening to the Wolf Hall trilogy and I have to say much of the blood curdling language was being used then about Henry 8th’s split with Rome (Of course martyrs are not being beheaded or burnt alive at the moment so that is a significant difference!) sounds very familiar. However, the period and the book does does give some perspective to the current pointless pissing competition.

Will a deal be struck?   My belief is that it will because the last thing the Johnson government needs is another mother of all ‘fuck ups’ at Dover in January next year.   We are told that the plans are well advanced to deal with no deal (or is that an ‘Australian Deal’?) but given the way that this government has handled the Corvid crises and the Examination Crises it can ill afford another mess on top of a probable very bad economic picture caused by Covid.   Equally, the EU can ill afford a No Deal either because of all the problems associated with Covid (I have written before about the problems facing the EU should trade be disrupted but it is worth reiterating the EU has c €100bn trade surplus and much of that goes through Dover/Calais and a reduction in this is going cause big problems for the individual EU countries/companies.)   And then there is Ireland which has the potential of going very badly wrong very quickly.  The Republic’s economy is built upon very dodgy tax policies as well as a very weak government at the moment which means it could collapse and usher in a Sein Fein lead government which is certainly not going to be friendly to a British government.   This would be compounded   should Joe Biden win the election because of his romantic connections to a mythical Ireland which would mean that he would take a very keen interest and no doubt want to  ‘help’.   In short there is little advantage to any of the parties to walk away with a No Deal.  Of course that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

The Wolf Hall trilogy ends with Thomas Cromwell losing his head because his European machinations.   If Boris Johnson makes a mess of Brexit then he could be quickly shown the door – the Conservative Party is much more blood thirty, metaphorically speaking,  than Henry 8th.   When Cromwell fell the Duke of Norfolk is supposed to have said that ‘…that was for the Thetford Priory (the last resting place for the Howard family which was closed by Cromwell)…’.   When they come for Boris will his replacement, perhaps a local North Yorkshire MP,  say…’ and that is for Barnard Castle…’?

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