Category Archives: Photography

Inspired

I have a confession to make. So I’m supposed to be a photographer. I haven’t taken any pictures for fun in ages. My failed exhibition pretty much ruined my desire to have fun in photography. That’s something that happens every time I decide to turn art into profit. So, no more!

Earlier this week the temperature hit about -8C creating a wonderful frost and the morning light was just delightful. The missus has found her old point and shoot and has been taking snaps so I pointed her in the direction of the garden with a few ideas. She did really well but I hate point and shoots and decided I’d give it a crack too with my SLR.

I really enjoyed it. It was pretty cold out there in my hat and fingerless gloves, but fun nonetheless!

First up is the window of our new garage. I toyed with cropping to panorama but decided the guttering was a nice feature.

BBQ aka home for spiders.

Spiders webs on washing lines. Awesome!

I really like this one. The bokeh is ace!

Think the birds need to use the microwave on Defrost!

Later that day, the missus said she saw a funny looking bird on the bird feeder. I came running to look but missed it. She described it, didn’t sound real! Today, it came back:

I ran out with my telephoto and got as close as I could. Our new garden is massive so this is telephoto at full and cropped right in. Not the best quality but a pigeon came flying down and scared it away before I could get any closer. I think it was last Christmas when I got the bird feeders and it came with a bird spotting guide. In our old garden which backed out on to a farm we were flush with birds. We saw every one on the list except one. Which is this fellow! He’s a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. I’m so chuffed to finally cross him off the list.

Photography is fun. It should stay that way. Hats off to those who have fun while making money but me, I just can’t do it, it changes the way I feel about the subject and my approach to capturing it and that’s just wrong. And the output shows. Hopefully these pictures taken for fun also reflect this.

Shepreth Wildlife Park

This weekend we went to Shepreth Wildlife Park. It was awesome! Ridiculously cold and it rained hard but awesome nonetheless! I’d never been before, despite passing it countless times on the train to London and whenever the stopping train called at Shepreth I’d say to myself “Oh, I must go there one day!”!

So off we went. No sooner had we stepped outside the gift shop when we saw this little chap, a prairie dog:

Then we saw a horse:

A deer:

Some chickens:

You could go and pet them but I was a bit scared of the muntjack (yeah, I know, lame) that was also in the pen.

Then we saw a big fat pig, eating off the floor, too busy to look up!

After a bit of wandering about peering in empty cages (all the animals were hiding from the icy wind in their huts) we came across the best bit. Meerkat Manor! These guys were awesome and put on a lovely little show for us!

Then we saw this little chap:

I’d never seen an otter before (despite growing up in sticksville) and I was surprised by a) how small they are and b) what a racket they make. There were two pairs. Apparently they hold hands when they sleep so they don’t drift off!

Then we saw a couple of Lynxes which were lovely:

Then it hammered it down and I put my camera away but we saw rabbits, fish, tigers, a mountain lion, some birds. Yeah, it was awesome! Def go back in the summer. They have a lovely little picnic area we will take advantage of I think.

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

As promised here is a selection of pictures from my recent trip to the Cambridge Botanical Gardens.

Hope you enjoyed them! I’ll be back soon with more exciting things!

Overdue Update

Hello! It’s been a long time. I have been super busy the last couple of months but I figured it was time for an update. So, what have I been up to?

Cambridge Big Bike Ride

You may have seen the banner on the bottom of the site for the Cambridge Big Bike Ride. It was essentially a sponsored ride with two routes, an easy one and a hard one. I decided I’d give the easy one a go and see how quickly I could do it. Then the missus decided she wanted to give it a go too. Then we decided we’d do it for our own charity. We chose Action For M.E. They sent us bibs!!

We were quite excited in the days leading up to it and then when we woke up, it was raining. So we set out in our his and hers macs!



It was a really interesting course, mostly because Cambridge is a weird town with a bizarre star shaped infrastructure. We went through Milton Country Park which was very muddy and I totally trashed my bike! It got caked in mud! I wasn’t much better off. It just kept on raining. As is the case with wearing a mac and doing anything remotely energetic, you get a right sweat on so off it came and I ended up just being soaked to the bone. Eventually though, you get over yourself and it’s just funny. Evident by my picture crossing the finishing line!



On the way round I had my GPS tracker enabled. Go here to see the route. You can even view a 3D flythrough which is quite exciting! GPS data fly’s all over the place in some areas, presumably because it can be so fucking remote in this town there’s often no signal. Initially I wanted to blast my way round, I think I could’ve done it in about 45 minutes but cycling with the missus was way more fun and we just took it slowly and gently. It was very enjoyable and I’m keeping my eye open for more rides. In the end we raised over £300 for the charity which is a fantastic result!

My Vasectomy

Whilst verging on the boundary of TMI, I decided to write about this to offer support to anyone else who might need it. I decided at a very young age that I didn’t want kids. I’ve been waiting a hell of a long time to get a vasectomy on the NHS. I was told I had to be over 30. So I waited! Earlier this year my brother got one and he’s only 24! So I signed up for one too, as you do! A few days after the bike ride I went into the surgery. I was told they were trialling a new keyhole surgery, no stitches, quicker healing, less pain. It was so new the doctor was still training. I was his last sign off. It was a very brutal operation. He clearly didn’t know what he was doing. What should’ve been 15 minutes took an hour and I think I just went into shock by the end of it.

Following the op I was expecting the usual feelings of regret that a lot of people talk about. The sudden realisation that I can’t have children. I’m now less of a man. Etc, etc! I haven’t had any of that. For the last 7 weeks I’ve just been struggling with the trauma of the initial pain and the healing. About two weeks after the op I got a haematoma, which is like a bruising on the testes. That hurt like hell! To make that worse, I was due to move house but was ruled out of doing any heavy lifting for another month. See below for how that turned out! I was also told not to cycle or exercise for a month too.

I have depression. I’ve had it for many, many years. The best aid I’ve found for it isn’t popping pills but to exercise. I do this a lot. Regular walks, gym exercise, bike riding. I have had to sit on my arse for 7 looooooong weeks. Add to that the stress of moving. It has not been fun. Yesterday I went on my first bike ride. I was very nervous and scared of injuring myself again. It was ok though. Today I feel fine. I’m going to start lengthening my routes and I’ll be taking up more exercise during the week and just getting back on track. I was caught completely off guard with how much this was going to affect me the way it did but hopefully it’s all moving forward from now on.

My advice for anyone who is interested. Don’t get seen to by a fucking trainee! Don’t get it done when you have other things to do in the following two months. Don’t do it if you’re not very good at doing nothing. However, if you’re really convinced it’s the right thing for you to do, then go ahead and do it. The world needs to stop the fucking endless over population!

Summer of Grunge

If you read this blog regularly you will remember this post where I talked about getting back into grunge. This summer we were lucky enough to get tickets to see both Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder solo in Manchester. It was two fun road trips and we also managed to squeeze in a visit to see my brother and hang out with my niece and nephew, who are, in my opinion, cute as fucking buttons!

Anyway, both gigs were amazing. Pearl Jam came out to Release Me and right from the very first “Ooooh” I knew it was going to be a good gig. As I said in the previous post, I’m getting a bit sick of seeing bands who can’t play or sing live even though the record is good. Ed can fucking wail! We got some really great seats to see Eddie Vedder solo and he was note perfect!

Surrounding all of that we’ve been listening to some really old CD’s from that time, all the PJ stuff, the SG stuff, Alice In Chains, Nirvana. It’s been a great summer!

My Birthday

I had a birthday. I am now 31. It is shit! I appear to aging at an alarming rate! I feel like I should be doing grown up things like getting a mortgage, having a corporate career, investing. Nah, fuck that!

Moving House

As I mentioned above, I had to move house. I was planning on doing everything myself. Then the doc signed me off. I put a Twitter request shout out thing and we got some fantastic helpers over two days who came and helped us move all our crap out of a big house into a smaller house that costs more. Go figure! The house is lovely, the lettings agents are not. Finickity bastards! It wasn’t clean when we moved in. There were pubes on the bathroom floor. When reporting this to the agents, we were told our standards were clearly higher than theirs. I’ll say it again, PUBES!!!! FROM SOME OTHER DUDE!!!! Jesus! Cambridge is a filthy place full of some really filthy people. After 3 years here I still don’t really like it. I miss London.

The Botanical Gardens – We finally went to the Botanical Gardens. It’s been awful weather this summer but the sun came out for the day. I have some pictures that I will post later this week.

Future Projects

I think I’ve got my writing bug back. As you can see! I’ve had some ideas for things I want to do over the coming months.

Bread – I love making bread. I bought a book with 70 recipes from around the world. I’m going to make them all. I’ve just ordered 11kg of assorted bread flour. I’ll be blogging my journey!
Gaming – I really need to finish this so look out for parts 3 and 4 by the end of the year!
Her Fearful Symmetry – Remember I blogged about The Time Traveler’s Wife? Well, I’ll be doing the same for this book. Starting to read it this weekend.
Photography – I’ve cancelled my subscription to a photo mag I was reading. It was stifling my creativity. I hope to get back to actually taking pics and blogging them.

That should keep me on for now I reckon! Suggestions welcome!

Milton Country Park

Time for another photography post!

Yesterday we went for a wander at Milton Country Park. I love it there, there’s something new every time I go. This year, inspired by Springwatch, I went to see if there were any cygnets. I saw a couple of swans but they were out in the lake so I couldn’t get any good shots of them.

Saw some ducks though:

Tried out my new polariser filter thingy. Think I’m missing a step on adding exposure time.

Saw a bunch of grebes but they’re so fidgety it was hard to get a shot that wasn’t blurry. Stay still!

Then, as we were heading back to the car park, I saw on the other side of the lake a couple of swans that looked like they were nesting. So I went over to investigate. I hit jackpot! I counted SEVEN CYGNETS! I had to be really quiet and was careful to keep my distance (long live the zoom lens) but I got some lovely pictures.

Look at this dude stretching out his wings! Awwww!

They were seriously cute! I’ll definitely head back there in the next couple of weeks to see how they’ve grown. Apparently a group of cygnets/swan eggs is known as a clutch and the usual size is 4-7 at once. I wonder what the parents thought when they got their ultrasound back and found out they were having SEVEN!!

Weekend At The Beach

This week I am on holiday from work. We were due to go on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales but cancelled due to snow and ice. The road leading to the cottage had 97 accidents in 6 hours the day before we were travelling so in the interest of not dying, we changed our plans.

We opted instead to go to the beach. In February. We went to Hunstanton in December and it hailed on us but we decided to give it another go. We stayed at a lovely little hotel called Caley Hall Hotel. Probably one of the nicest, most relaxed places I’ve ever stayed at.

Hunstanton is definitely growing on me. We had a chance to look around the seafront as well as plenty of walks on the beach. I took a ton of pictures:

Someone had made a snow angel on the golf course!

Visibility was minimal on the first day.

Lots of frozen fog!

The missus in her beach attire!

The sea was quite a way out but you couldn’t hear a thing. The fog muffled everything. It was really quite spooky.

Ripples on the beach were frozen.

This is a nice little rise right before you finally get to see the sea. I imagined myself being about five and struggling through the snow and sand to get to the top!

This is the back of the hotel. Been there a long time apparently.

All in all it was a great holiday. Even with the snow and ice and cold. We left the restaurant after dinner and it was -10!!! I made sure I had a beer coat!

We’re going to go again in the summer. Apparently it doesn’t get very busy. I love being by the sea. I grew up going to the caravan in Bridlington every weekend for years. Not being by the sea stinks! The problem I have with beachside places is that they’re usually heaving! I went to Brighton for years and then it just got too hectic. Tried Whitstable and nearly got killed by some chavvy motherfucker in a 4×4 because we nicked his parking space. In our Fiesta. He called us cretins, which was probably accurate but it was a bit pot kettle black.

Anyway, the point is, I miss the sea and I think in Hunstanton I’ve found somewhere pretty, with plenty of infrastructure to make a good holiday. Finally! Let’s hope it pans out well in July.

Madingley Cemetary

Hello reader(s)…today I have news and pictures.

So first up, my news. I can haz a driving license!!! Yes indeed. After about 100 hours of lessons over a period of 13 years with two driving tests, I finally passed and am legally allowed to drive. Makes you feel confident as another driver huh?! Cue obligatory happy picture:

Once the missus got home I took the car out on my own. I didn’t believe people when they said this but it was actually quite liberating. I feel freeeeee!

So, this weekend, I drove us to Coton/Madingley. We parked at the garden centre, walked to the American Military Cemetary and then back through Coton village. It was really nice.

So now for the pictures:

Fun With Ice

Hello! Happy New Year! My first blog of the year and in ages too. I have many other projects coming along, one which shall be announced shortly. I’ve also been eating a lot of food. Six roast dinners over Christmas! Needless to say I am back on the exercise regime.

While buying Christmas presents I ended up on the Lakeland website. A very dangerous place for a kitchen gadget loving freak like me! I was looking for things to buy to top up my order so I could get free delivery. It’s a false economy, I know!! Anyway, I came across something quite fun. Shaped ice cube bags. I bought hearts and stars. I figured it would be a great experiment to shoot a mix of these, maybe with the heart frozen using red food colouring.

Today I finally got around to it. It was late in the afternoon so the light is a bit glum. I’m definitely going to retry this in better light, but for now, enjoy. I hope to be doing more fun projects this year and filling up these pages.

Cambridge Botanical Gardens

I went to the Botanical Gardens. I love it there. Making the most of my yearly membership. Will definitely renew it next year!

Autumn has fully taken hold in the space of a fortnight and the colours are just amazing. In a previous life when I was emo, sad and pretentious I used to proclaim that Autumn was my favourite month because everything was dying and there was “so much beauty in death”. Lame!

That said, it is still an incredible season and I hope you enjoy these pictures. And hey, in case you weren’t aware, this is happening all around you. Just look up from the glowing box in your palm once in a while 😉

The Raptor Foundation

No, this isn’t about dinosaurs!

This is my last catch up post from the last couple of months. I have finally caught up! After this I will be doing a digital sort. Re-structuring all my folders, backing up externally, setting up a Flickr account for all the really good stuff. Once that’s done I think it’ll be time to take things up a notch. I’ve not been out taking pictures anywhere near as much as I would’ve liked so this needs to improve. We get our car delivered in a couple of weeks and I should pass my driving test in October *fingers crossed* so actually being mobile should give me more scope to get out to more remote locations at odd times of day.

A couple of weeks ago, the missus’ folks took us out to The Raptor Foundation out in Woodhurst. It was a fantastic day out. They have over 200 different species of raptors. The definition of a raptor over other birds is that they catch their food with their feet rather than their beaks.

We walked around the complex, which is impressively large, and when we got to the end we saw that they were doing a flying display and we were bang on time. Camera at the ready!

I’ve been posting some of these on Facebook and Twitter but without further ado, here is the full collection. If you want prints of these in any format (postcard, greetings card, poster, canvas etc) let me know and I’ll arrange it. All proceeds will go directly to The Raptor Foundation as they rely solely on donations.

My two favourite shots are the little owl who looks like he is singing (he’s actually nomming on a grub) and the falcon catching the bait. The falcons are lightning fast and it was incredibly difficult to track them in flight. However, thanks to the amazing lens I got for my birthday (the Nikon 55-200mm) I got those two cracking shots.

As people venture into photography, they pretty quickly realise what subject they enjoy the most and for me it’s definitely wild life and probably mainly birds. I enjoy watching them, filming them and capturing them in still frame. They really are an absolute wonder. This probably means my future is likely to involve the purchase of a ridiculously expensive zoom lens and many hours spent huddled up in a hide! Oh joy!

Until next time…

Outdoor Pursuits

Another catchup post today!

The summer is great for getting out and about. Especially in this country where you’re guaranteed a good spot of rain to really ruin your day!

Cambridge is particularly crap. I was promised lowest rainfall in the UK. Nobody bothered to tell me how it’s usually always overcast, grey, muggy and well, just a bit crap really. Sunny days are rare here! Fo sho!

However, I came from West Yorkshire so I know how to make the best of a bad situation. Ho ho! Next to the gym is a little paddock which has some “lovely” horses. The missus reckons they’re lovely but personally I’m terrified of them. Remember that scene in the Ring (2?) where the horse charges at the woman on the boat and leaps over the edge? How about The Godfather (1? 2? 3?) with the horse head in the bed? Yeah, not good with horses!

Anyway, here are some pictures of the evil beasts followed by a rare shot of the missus and then a couple more of Fleur taken in Epping Forest right before it rained! She is mental!