Plane crazy ..

wings
Heading home on Ryanair and yes, believe it or not, both these shots were taken on the same small 90 minute flight back from France to Manchester. No prizes for guessing which shot is Manchester. In fact, one little girl behind me asked her Mum “Why is it not sunny at England?”..

I’ve always loved aircraft, and taking photographs of aircraft, and just plain old standing and gawping at aircraft. As a lad I used to catch the number 500 bus to Ringway Airport, as Manchester was then called, just to stand on the roofs of the termini for a couple of hours watching and snapping the jets. And yes, you were allowed to stand on them in ‘the old days’ – right above the gates and mere feet from the jet-fuel smell and the screeching engines. It was great ..

Thing is, I never got to go on a jet until I was 18. My parents simply couldn’t afford to take us anywhere. And I know that plane-spotting isn’t everybody’s cup of tea but when I left for France last week I saw the saddest sight I’ve seen in a long time. Ok, keep it in context but ..

.. as I was at the gate, waiting to board, I was back to being 15 and excitedly watching all the aircraft taxiing past me. A plane I didn’t immediately recognise was identified for me by an app on my phone, and I was delighted to realise I was looking at my first Airbus A350. I strained my neck to watch it disappear around the corner then looked down to see .. a boy of about ten, with his back to the jets, playing games on a tablet. I almost threw up on him ..

Anyway, gotta go dust off my 500mm mirror lens. I’m off to the International Air Tattoo this Sunday..

Car Insurance .. a crash-course!

CarCrashArchive

 

It’s been an interesting start to my day ..

I needed to renew my car insurance, so rang for a chat with the company who currently insure me. A new policy, they said, would be £205 more than it was last year.  “What?” .. I said, er .. politely “How come?” ..

“Well ..” said the lovely chap in the call centre “It seems that, last year, your insurance was underwritten by the Co-op, and they don’t seem to want you any more!” When I asked why not he said it could be because of my job.
“My job?” .. I said, protectively.
“Well, yes ..” he said “They’ve probably seen ‘Freelance Photographer‘ and lumped you in with all the “Lady Di paparazzi” types! Your occupation is right up there with the most risky types like .. journalists!”
What?” I gasped “Not that crazy bastard loony driver bunch. No way ..”

He chuckled and I heard his keyboard tapping again “There’s something else ..” he said, and I gulped.”You have the highest risk car on the entire list!”

(At this point he must have felt a bit sorry for me, as he added “You’re not having much luck here, are you?”)

“What do you mean, the highest risk car?” I asked.
“Well ..” he said “You have your Ford Ka kind of thing .. that’s down at level one for risk. A BMW 5 Series is at level 50. Your car ..” he said, building up the tension ” .. is level 61 !!!”

I thanked him for his time and went to an online comparison site, putting in exactly the same details as he had on the old policy. I’ve got a great new policy now, for £10 less than I paid last year.

It’s with .. the Co-op!

Back at ya ..

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I pulled a muscle in my back last week, causing pain sufficient for me to go to the doctor. Nothing, though, has been able to wipe the smile from my face these past few days. Firstly because I’ve had another great weekend .. with two fun family portrait shoots, and a ‘Shoot ‘n Tutor’ photography workshop on Saturday afternoon. Thing is, all the sessions had an extra glow about them as I’d had some great news beforehand ..

The first piece of news was that I’ve had a Wedding enquiry .. for St Tropez!! .. and the second was that another of my clients has said that – once I’ve moved to France – they’d be happy for me to return to the UK to shoot their bigger events. It’s so reassuring to know that my PR work won’t cease once I move abroad ..

I’ve had some fantastic feedback from Weddings and portrait shoots, too. “Gorgeous” was the verdict from one young Mum on her daughter’s photographs and “He was lovely and everyone commented on how great he was, and how funny he was” was from another of “my brides ..

Sorry if this blog sounds a bit “braggy’ ..

My back still hurts, if that’s any consolation! ..

Getting my fix ..

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I’ve had a fantastic weekend, with a Wedding on Saturday and a Wedding Fayre on Sunday. I actually had to leave a photograph of myself on the sideboard so that Lesley would remember what I looked like ..

Saturday was fab, with the Wedding of Jane and Christian in Winsford and a reception at the delicious Willington Hall near Chester. I love this intimate little moment as the newly-weds emerged from the church. Many congrats, you two ..

Sunday was spent at Hollin Hall, where I had a stand at their Wedding Fayre. I spoke to lots of lovely new brides and have my fingers crossed I’ll be shooting for at least a couple of them very soon ..

There’s now a break in my bookings until next month, so it’s just as well I got a good Wedding ‘fix’ when I could ..

Book me now ..

coverApparently today is World Book Day, which seems to be another of these commercially driven ideas that’ll cost the nation’s parents a fortune in character costume purchases. However, it reminded me I’ve not said anything about my new book for a while. New book, Martin? Oh yes, didn’t you know I’d written a book? It’s called ‘The Boy who missed Next Year’ and is available from all good retailers for ..

Actually, it’s not available from any shops. I mean, it would be if it had been taken up by a publisher but, for some bizarre reason, of the 30 odd I sent it to, not one could see the amazing potential in the story! Still, in true JK styley, I am persevering and have made it available on Amazon Kindle for all you discerning readers to buy ..

Actually, I’ll be testing it out soon when I give a reading at a local kids’ book club. As it’s basically a children’s adventure story I’m really keen to see how it goes down with youngsters and who knows? Next year you could be splashing out on fancy-dress that makes your child look like one of my characters ..

Back to school ..

I’m going to talk about our gîte again. Oh no, I hear you cry, this blog’s supposed to be about photography. Ah well, it is, because today I want to tell you that the latest people to book our place have also booked .. my photography workshop! Yes! Can’t wait! It’s (probably) the first time I’ll give it in France ..

My workshop is a simple day’s photographic fun. A couple of hours on mechanics: aperture/shutter/ISO etc .. and then we move onto the good stuff .. composition and framing and seeing photographs. More importantly, it’s an afternoon concentrating on what the ‘students’ actually want to shoot. It might be portraits or ladybirds or sausages but the main thing is they’ll get the chance to photograph their subjects alongside a professional photographer. A debriefing follows, when we download and compare our photography and then, well .. it’s France .. wine and cheese .. bien sûr!..

Spring forward ..

 

Yippeeeeeeeee … we’ve made it! January’s done and we’re heading into Spring at last. Ok, I know it’s still cr*p out there at the mo but things are on the up, most definitely. The dreariest month of the year is over and it’s already light by eight o’clock. Reasons to be cheerful, or what?..

I changed cars last week and had to swap all my accumulated garbage from the old car to the new. Reader, I had 53 CDs scattered around it. They were everywhere. In the glove box, in door pockets, under the front seats, stuck into my sun-visors, spread attractively around the boot – everywhere, in fact, but in the CD player. In amongst the discs was a small collection of cassettes. Yes, C90s! So, as other drivers are getting blue-tooth and built-in Sat Nav and combination tv/microwave/toasters in their cars, I’ve finally got rid of a car that still had a cassette player in it. Another reason to be cheerful? You betcha! Yippeeeee …

We wish you a merry montage ..

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I’ve gone montage-mad! You can tell I’ve finally finished work for Christmas ‘cos I’m actually getting chance to look through my recent personal work and get it out there for all to see. Gloves, selfies and my trip to The States have all had a work-over and been put up on Instagram and Flickr and, I have to say, I’m really pleased with what I’ve been shooting lately. That brings up the all usual New Year intention to ‘commit’ to projects; to find time to photograph ‘for myself’ and to get more exhibitions but, to be quite honest, as long as I’m shooting then I’m happy. Weddings, portraits, food, properties .. I don’t care. I love it all. Perhaps I should put up a montage of solicitors head-shots ..

Leave it out ..

autumninthecity

 

Looks like we’re set for a wonderfully colourful autumn, with the leaves already showing some fantastic shades of yellow and red. I’m minded of the one time I went to The States in ‘The Fall’ .. when I visited a pen-pal (yes, it was that long ago) in New Hampshire and got to see the trees in all their glory. The countryside was breath-taking although, as you can see from today’s shot, the leaves in the city didn’t let their concrete surroundings stop them coming up with the goods too ..

Landscape photography is way down on my list of photographic faves though. A tree on a hill? Big deal! Give me PR and people every time. I’ll be in my element tonight when I cover a dinner that will kick off a conference I’m photographing tomorrow. A late night, and an early start tomorrow morning, mean I’m being put up in a hotel by the client, and they’ve sent me two full A4 sheets of shots they want me to get during the event. Obviously don’t want me to ‘leave’ anything out!..

(See what I did there?..)