General

#justmarried

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Hey! I did a thing this weekend! I got married! That’s a lot of exclamations!

I’m going to blog about the day. It was all one big blur. End of blog! Seriously, thank goodness for cameras preserving the moment right?!

I didn’t want a wedding photographer bossing me about all day, I’d have ended up punching them. So I took most of these myself, except the ones I’m in. So with a little help from my friends, and some carefully selected foolproof camera settings we were good to go!

Here are some pictures from the day:

This is where we stood for the ceremony and exchanged vows and rings
These socks were bought by R’s mum. I’ve worn them in every interview since she gave them to me. She couldn’t be at the wedding so I wore these in honour.
Just after we signed the register, the book is a fake register as you can’t take photos of the actual register. Against the law!
We did not kiss during the ceremony, we fist bumped, because we’re awesome!
These shoes are amazing!
A leap into the future?
Uncategorized

Here’s a story about how Brexit is like a kid drinking acid

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Forgive any typos, I’m very passionate about not letting kids drink acid!

Let’s assume you’re a teacher and for some reason that isn’t important you’re at the largest supermarket in town with four students.

You, perhaps foolishly, ask the kids what they want. One of them pipes up asking for some acid to drink.

Whilst you know deep in your heart this is a really dumb thing to do, you’ve heard other teachers discuss how much they’d like the kids to drink acid, so you feel it’s important to gauge general opinion.

Two of the kids are against it. Two are for it. One of those for it is older than the rest by a whole 2 weeks and takes lead, swaying the vote. For argument’s sake let’s say it’s a majority of 52% for and 48% against.

Resigned to a terrible outcome you decide to progress down the path of acquiring some acid. To be drunk. By kids.

Note, at this point you thought about quitting and letting another teacher deal with the fallout of your stupid idea to ask the kids if they wanted to drink acid but for once there’s an eerie absence of teachers wanting to take the helm!

So off you trundle to see the supermarket manager. You tell him you want to buy some acid for the kids to drink. He looks aghast but says if you must, you must. And preferably do it as quickly as possible.

You’re disappointed. You were hoping he’d say NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT, THERE’S NO PROTOCOL FOR THAT YOU FOOL!! But he didn’t. He seems more than happy for you to let the kids sacrifice themselves to their own stupidity.

So you counter. What if we gave them a bottle that says acid on the outside, but isn’t really acid at all. He thinks about this and says, yes, I have just the thing, but this is the only thing, there are no other things.

He hands you the bottle. You read the ingredients. It’s palatable enough. It won’t kill them but it will cause them a lot of pain and hardship. You take it.

You go back to the kids. It took some time to get that bottle. About 2 years. They’ve aged terribly. You think, ah they might be a little older, a little wiser.

But they’ve spent the 2 years arguing over what kind of acid they’ll get and just how good it will or won’t taste when they finally get it.

Some of the other teachers have started to express concern over this idea. Better late than never. They’ve also spotted the ingredients on the bottle and are telling everyone it’s not real acid. The little shits!

They demand a vote, between themselves. The teachers need to decide whether they should eliminate the fake acid leaving only the option to drink real acid. It’s a risky strategy. You object at first, but finally concede.

They almost unilaterally defeat the motion to allow the kids to drink fake acid. You’ve never been so humiliated. Nobody has!

But now they realise there are only two options left. Drink the real acid or forget the whole thing. They look to you for guidance but you hate the kids so much, you always have, especially that foreign one, you want them to drink the acid.

The teachers want another vote. The two kids against it want another vote. You’re tired of all the voting. Why should they get another vote?! The smaller kid who voted for it has changed his mind and also wants a vote. Tough you say!

Drink the acid! Drink the acid!! Drink the acid!!! You chant, maniacally, to yourself, alone in the cleaners cupboard.

The kids start looking to the other teachers. But one of them is looking for fresh lentils in the frozen aisle. Another looks like he could help but he agreed to charge them for education so he’s out. It’s hopeless.

Some of the kids are looking to transfer to another school. It’s a shame, they’re really bright, but kids drinking acid will be good for the school, you think.

You know the only option is to ask the rest of the school what they think. But there’s a risk they’ll all vote “overwhelmingly” to drink the acid. Can’t you just take over and tell them not to drink the acid at all? Will there be a revolt?

What if you quit and the guy in the freezer aisle does it? Although it seems like he’s also pro acid drinking, he’s not sure, nobody’s sure.

What about the guy who agreed to charge people to learn? It’s not that bad a crime, surely? Not compared to this? It’s tiny really when you think about it. All the other schools charge to learn. Why is this school so special?

If only you’d told the kids to shut the hell up and do as they’re told 2 years ago, you’d never be in this pickle. If only!

General

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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Sooo…it’s been a while huh? Almost 3 years. According to the last files on my SD card it’s been nearly 2 years since I last picked up my SLR. A lot has happened. The biggest change has been the transition over to Instagram, mobile phones taking amazing pictures and general consumption of photos being reduced to a scroll and, if you’re lucky, a double tap like! This is ultimately the reason why this collection of pictures is straight out of the camera with no manipulation in Lightroom or Photoshop. Because basically it’s a total waste of time!

Why am I posting this now? Well, it’s a special post that I want to remember forever. We were due to fly out to Mauritius and enjoy a week on sandy white beaches kicking back and having fun. But a cyclone in the Indian Ocean had other plans and we had to cancel. So I took the missus off to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Because we live in Yorkshire now and it’s 15 minutes down the road – I probably didn’t mention that huh?!

Monday, Jan 22nd 2018. It was a cold, miserable, piss wet Yorkshire day, but standing on a bridge over the dam on the River Dearne, aptly named Dam Head Bridge, with the rain smashing us sideways, I asked the missus to marry me. She said YES!! It beats standing around all the 5000 other couples on Mauritius beaches politely waiting your turn to propose anyway!

Here are some pictures from the day. Not bad for the first time using my camera in 2 years. Although I think I committed the mortal sin of mostly using P mode!!

















Horses

Nikon Photo School – Racehorses

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I went on a course a few weeks ago. It was being run by the Nikon Photo School, hosted by (famous) Sports Photographer and Nikon Ambassador Mark Pain and it was right here in Newmarket. Figured I could happily get there for sunrise!

The night before we all met up in one of the restaurants in town and it was great to get to know people and share stories. As it turns out, many years ago Mark worked at the same branch of Jessops I did. Small world!

On the day of the shoot, we all met at the B&B everyone else stayed at and then headed up to the gallops. I started out taking a few photos with my D5000 but the light was really bad and my camera wasn’t coping. Anything over ISO400 looks like crap and my zoom lens is f5.6 fully zoomed I think so it was a disaster. Luckily, being run by Nikon, they had loads of cool equipment, like a Nikon D4s and the 70-200 f2.8 VRII telephoto lens. So I bagged myself those for the day. Not too shoddy! The D4s was a brilliant camera. Pros: Sturdy, fast, responsive, awesome. Cons: Bit noisy. Didn’t know how to use it so I ended up shooting in JPG for the whole day which wasn’t great. As for the lens it was awesome but again, in full amateur mode I changed the VR setting to Active. Only when I got home and noticed nearly all my photos were blurry and I googled why did I realise that this setting is if you’re on a moving platform e.g. a boat, not if the subject is moving fast. What a dick!

So between the JPG and the VR problems I salvaged 44 of the 900 photos I took. The rest were mostly action burst shots and then a few were exposure problems I fixed in the next shot or too blurry to recover. But for usability, this gear was nice to use and I’m seriously considering the lens and maybe upgrading to the new D7200, especially given that a day at the beach broke the AF on my 55-200 lens and I’m in serious need of a replacement. We’ll see what the commission fairy brings me in the next few months.

So first up is the shots from the gallops:

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Then we went up to the heath:

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Then we went back to the gallops:

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Then we went to Pegasus stables:

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I developed a whole new level of respect for these beautiful animals and the riders.

Photography

Yongnuo 560 Mark III Test Shots

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I bought some new toys!

For ever such a long time now, I’ve been coveting the Nikon SB-910 speedlite. It’s £400!! I have some news about photography which I’ll share in the new year but in the meantime, I’ve been getting back into it and spending far too much time watching YouTube videos about lighting and other techniques. I watched a video by a chap called Alex Koloskov who runs Photigy.com. It looks like a pretty decent online school and I probably should try out one of his courses.

In one of his videos, he did a review of using speedlites instead of “proper” studio lighting. He mentioned that in a studio environment, you don’t need all the extra features that you get with the expensive Nikon/Canon speedlites because it’s a much slower approach and you can take multiple shots and tweak settings as you require. So he recommended using the Yongnuo range of speedlites. They’re only £50! The trade off is that they’re fully manual. But that said, they’re still pretty badass!

So I bought one. And then after being blown away by the results on camera, I bought the wireless transmitter so I can use it off camera. Next I’m going to buy a second gun. And a third and a fourth. These things are incredible! There are plenty of reviews and tech geekery online so I’ll spare you all that (in the new year, I’m restarting Tech Tuesdays where I’ll be doing some in depth photo blogs) and just jump to some test shots I’ve been doing.

So first up, we have the first off camera shot I took. I need to work on exposure as you lose all the TTL communication but the moody effect is pretty cool.

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Next up, my favourite thing to photograph, Aurora, flashgun on the floor, to the side, off camera.

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I’ve done a ton of other stuff, most of it unusable but I have been working on portraits, mostly of cats which you can see on my flickr page and then I was out at the missus’ parents house and took some shots of her and her dad. I shot in RAW and tweaked in Lightroom (also my new favourite toy).

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I think these have come out pretty well and with a bit more practice and exposure control, I’m going to really improve with shots like this. I have an (informal) gig to do a wedding next year so I’m putting some effort into people photography and lighting control over the next few months.

I’ve totally got my photo mojo back and I have lots to change around here but until then, check out my Instagram and flickr pages while I get my portfolio sorted.

Photography

Bond In Motion

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Final picture post. On the Saturday, we went to see the Bond In Motion exhibition. It was probably the coolest exhibition I have ever seen!! They had cars, choppers, bikes, boats, planes, storyboards, miniatures, memorabilia and everything. It was totally awesome and I spent way too much in the gift shop including buying a badass Live And Let Die film poster for the living room!






























Photography

South Bank Noir

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Blog post 3, getting more recent now. Last weekend we went to London to see Black Stone Cherry at Wembley Arena. We decided to make a weekend out of it and spent Friday through til Sunday there. Gig was Saturday so Friday we went to Las Iguanas on the South Bank for dinner. Love that place. Then we went for a walk down the riverside, past the skaters, down to Tower Bridge and on to St Paul’s and back up through Cannon Street. I decided to shoot in black and white for the hell of it. Impressed with the results.















Photography

Shepreth Wildlife Park

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Blog number 2. We went to Shepreth Wildlife Park and for once it wasn’t raining so I got some good pictures. I shared most of these over on my Instagram at the time. I got an SD card reader for my tablet which allowed me to copy from camera to tablet to Instagram super quick. It’s no wonder blogging falls behind so much is it?!

Instagram feed is here: http://instagram.com/ironthumbdrew


















Photography

Wimpole At War

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Time for a mammoth update. Four blog posts. So I’ll keep the wordsmithery to a minimum.

A couple of months ago we went to Wimpole. They had an “At War” event on. Everyone dressed in 40s gear, they had hairstylists, a market and some army re-enactment guys there. It was cool. The army guys showed off their guns (!) and fired some (fake) bullets. Dead loud. Then they did a cool Dad’s Army sketch. It was a lot of fun.

Enjoy!
















Photography

Tarragona July 2014

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We went to Spain again this year. The place we went to last year was so lovely that we booked it again. And it was still so lovely that I’m booking it again next month for next year. Haha!

We stayed at the Villa Romana in Salou. It really is a lovely place. Completely random pick that paid off. The food is great, the atmosphere is great, the town itself is great, as is the beach. It’s also incredibly close to Tarragona which you may recall from last year was once a Roman capital settlement in Spain. As a result there are lots of Roman ruins everywhere. We did a mini tour last year.

We didn’t do any touristy things this year in Tarragona, just went for lunch and then a mooch on the beach. After a bit of a disaster at the train station, we ended up catching a cab. So much for trying to be a bit more local!! I started learning Spanish at the beginning of the year and then I got really busy and then I forgot everything I had learned. Must try harder for next year.

Here are some photos:

Town hall being cleaned.

Town hall, other side.

Lovely corner apartment.

Narrow streets, love these!

Gorgeous apartments over the square.

Airing your laundry in public?!

Very small cars and bikes only!

Everything was in bloom this year.

Me.

This apartment was right down by the beach, what a great view.

Colourful posts.

Make a nest anywhere!

After lunch in the square, we walked down to the beach. Very happy to report that it was a nudist beach!! We had ice cream and then went for a walk down to the marina during which time an insane wind picked up and I nearly lost my hat. Very cool locals only beach, will definitely go back there next year and spend a bit longer there.

Overall it was another great holiday. It was possibly a bit too busy for my liking. We went in the first week of July thinking we would avoid school holidays which is fine for the UK but it seems like the rest of Europe start holidays in July so it was pretty busy everywhere. So we’ll go back in June again like last year and hope the weather starts early. They had a long spring last year and it averaged around 26 degrees rather than the 30-32 we had this year.

Looking at the bookings we can get a good deal on 10 nights making it cheaper than 7 nights. We’ll do that then! Adios!

General

I bought a house!

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Another long delay between updates. Insanely busy. I’ve been taking photos though so I’ll be doing a bunch of updates in the next few days.

First up, as the title says, I bought a house! After getting back from Aus and figuring we probably wouldn’t be able to go for another five years (at least!), we decided to move into the centre of Cambridge. While looking at houses we pretty quickly came to the conclusion that everything in Cambridge is a piece of shit and about 5% of those accept pets. Rentals! We also realised that our existing lettings agent would be a massive pain in the tits and we’d probably lose our deposit and/or reference.

So we said enough was enough and decided to buy a house. We’d already looked at this last year when thinking about Aus and had considered moving to York or Newmarket. After an unsuccessful visit to York, we decided to look at Newmarket. Property in Cambridge is ridiculously over priced. Newmarket is about half the price and only about 12 miles out. Every time we have visited Newmarket, we have felt a really good vibe here. It reminds me of home and of the seaside. It also has cracking broadband!! So we made our decision to move here.

Buying a house is super boring so I’ll spare you the monotony but we looked at 6 houses. 2 were shit, 2 needed work, 1 was too small and the other we bought. An old lady lived here, then she died, then her family gutted it and did it up. It’s gorgeous!

It has a super private walled garden too, small and manageable. The best bits are that it’s clean, everything works, everything is modern. It’s like being in housing heaven! And I say this nearly two months after moving in! The cats are confused over the lack of stairs!

In other personal news, I started a new exercise regime and I’m in the best shape of my life. It’s 25 minutes every day of high intensity workouts. I have before pictures and at some point I’ll get round to taking some after pictures of my ripped abs! Seriously!

While in Aus I decided to grow my hair out. I’ve been shaving my head for about 7 years. Felt like a change. Tada!

The only problem I’m finding is that good barbers are hard to find and it’s almost impossible to get the same haircut each time. The missus has bought me a brilliant luxury male grooming voucher at a barbers that deals with all the jockeys in town for my birthday so I’ll go there in a couple of weeks and see what they can do. They use steam on your face and everything!

Finally, continuing my lifestyle of super international travelling consultant, I went to Milton Keynes on the bus. Rock and fucking roll! Currently trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. RSI will prevent me from doing IT for too much longer. I’m currently thinking about playing bowls professionally and representing England at the next Commonwealth Games in Queensland. That’d be awesome but I’m not entirely sure it’s a realistic goal!!