Mission

So I promised some photos of the “modelling” commission I did. And lo, they appear!

I’m feeling a bit lazy so no great description. Interesting venue, at once both brilliant and a pain in the arse. Fluorescent lighting and skylights all at once. Directional flash helped a fair bit for impact.

So we started nicely..

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Then we got a bit more abstract..

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Then we went off the deep end..

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Then someone spotted the cage..

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And that’s a small selection I could be bothered to watermark! Could not be bothered to sort out sizes on WordPress either.. links lead to the full things obviously..

Finally – chose Mission because there aren’t a lot of songs I can think of about photographs or models I haven’t already used.. So you know.. commission.. mission.. whatever..

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Cry of the black birds

So it’s been a while. Not really since I took any photos, but more since I posted them. Actually the photography, although sporadic, is going pretty well. My first “paid” photography job turned out well – a few select prints of one of my models were sent off to a modelling agency and the next working day they were called in for a meeting. Tonight I got a message to say that  the agency want the rest of the prints for use advertising the model. RESULT! Model couldn’t be happier and I’m pretty chuffed as well!

Anyway my success spurred me to take a look at the set of photos I took from my most recent adventure – which was hawking. I took out a beautiful Harris Hawk and spent three hours flying it around a field as part of a birthday present from last year. I was ambivalent about the idea of flying birds but actually it was a brilliant experience. Sadly I’m minus any quality photos of the Harris Hawks and me flying them as my hands were pretty full of Hawk rather than camera.

I did get some photos of some of the other birds on display. Really quite chuffed with some. No real photos of birds in flight (I sat in a sadly crap place for this), but thinking of splashing out £70 odd quid to do a guided day of photography back at Eagle Heights in Eynesford where I took the photos. I’ve actually never had any photography lessons or guidance so it might be worth it. A lot of the people working there were photographers too (I guess you would be with such beautiful wildlife all around).

Anyway enough of my blathering – photos!

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More photos as ever on the blog. Will try and get photos of my model shoot up soon (when I can be bothered to get them watermarked out of courtesy to the models)..

Bird themed song to finish (c’mon it’s tradition)!!!

R.I.P. David Gold

Bit of a detraction from the usual. I took some photos months ago I’ve been meaning to put up but haven’t got round to – guess the mojo hasn’t really been with me lately.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to pay a tribute to the sadly departed David Gold, late singer of the band “Woods of Ypres”, who tragically died in December 2011. Incidentally it was his birthday today.

This is a little late in coming, mainly because I’m not as “in-scene” with metal as I briefly was once-upon-a-moon ago. I guess I’m as picky in music as I am about everything else in life so it’ll come as no surprise to most people to hear that. My pickyness is of course, not a reflection on Woods or the scene in general (which is pretty healthy), but more on my unwillingness to sift through the masses to hear about new releases.

Anyway I first heard Woods back in 2004 with “Pursuit Of The Sun and Allure Of The Earth”, and I loved “The Green Album” with a passion, especially given that it came at a very fitting time in my life and the themes resonated especially strongly with me.

Without exception the lyrics that David wrote were especially personal (hence their appearance as end of journal entry songs so often) and I’m sure that I’m far from the only person to have seen parallels in experience and outlook.

Early this week I picked up the latest Woods album “Woods V: Grey skies and electric light”. Knowing that David died before the album was released, there is a spooky resonance to so many of the messages in the album.

Adora Vivos

A moment of silence… but not one moment more
The dead are to be forgotten, we are here to be…adored

Look me, in the eyes, don’t believe a word they say
For life is good, life is glory, though we live, one life only
Tell me, in real time, don’t hesitate to profess
Love me, in the flesh, don’t wait ˜till death to sing my praise

A moment of silence… but not one moment more
The dead are to be forgotten, we are here to be adored
IN the bleak life and modern times, Under grey skies and electric light
Mortal men are living gods, More real than any God ever was

Adora Vivos – Our people are civilized… Love the living while they’re still alive
Adora Vivos – Our people are civilized… we shouldn’t worship the dead.

In The bleak life and modern times, Under grey skies and electric light
Where the living still walk the earth alone, more real than any God ever was

In bleak life, (We are realer than gods!) – More real than any God ever was
In modern times (we are realer than Gods!) – More real than any God ever was
Under grey skies and electric light, we the living still walk the earth alone
Where mortal men are living gods, more real than any God…ever was.

A moment of silence, (for the dead) but not one moment more
They’ve all gone to be forgotten, were still here, to be adored

Look me, in the face, and don’t believe a word I say
This life is hard, this life is lonely, and we are here, for one night only
See the pain, in my eyes, the defeat, of my age
Feel the urgency of time, and don’t wait ˜till death to sing my praise

A moment of silence (for the dead), but not one moment more
The dead are to be forgotten, we are here to be adored
If you’re waiting for tomorrow, save yourself for another day
But if you’re living in the moment, don’t wait (˜till death) to sing my praise

In The bleak life and modern times, Under grey skies and electric light
Mortal men are living Gods, More real than any God ever was

I can’t claim to have known David, but I hope that I can interpret his music well enough to say that at the least, I briefly understood David as much as its possible to understand anyone. And I hope that if you’ve taken the the time to read this, you understand when I say that odds are I love you, and I am grateful for the impact you’ve had on my life no matter how small it may seem to be.

RIP David Gold – you live on through your messages and your music.

Spheres of Madness..

So it’s been a while since I posted anything I’ll admit. I’d like to say its because I’ve been to busy, but that is patently not true. Well, almost not true.

Work is crazy mad at the moment, but I won’t fill this blog with any of that as more than most have heard me complain about it already.

I’ve been on two photo exhibitions since my last post, but obviously didn’t post the last one up. I made a visit (or rather a second visit) to the Natural History Museum. I had intended to do more but I got up late and it was cold and snowy, so you know, I wussed out.

I didn’t find much to inspire me besides a set of morbid dead things preserved in jars. So I captured some of those. It looked a lot like a crazy scientist’s workshop/a scene from Alien..

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Anyway so that was fun. I also saw Cirque du Soleil for a second time – again well worth the effort and already booked to see the next show in July – I think I’m turning into a fan! I’ve also started violin lessons again with a new teacher, which makes me happy – although I wish I made faster progress – I’ve been out of it so long that the steps back to where I was are taking what feels like an age (to be fair I’ve only had two lessons so far)!

So time passed, I picked up some god awful flu which I’m still suffering from now (cannot lose the residual cough) and has set me back literally months with lifting, which has been a real pain. On top of that diet is awful and has been since before Xmas. It is starting to come back but I’m having to really fight my appetite. Long work hours means I often don’t get home until 8.00/8.30pm so I’m not having a lot of time for other things. Not that I have a lot to fit into my day but sometimes 3 or four days go buy without me even turning on the computer, and given that I don’t actually do anything besides that you can see why its just a cycle of up, work, gym, eat, sleep (even more than usual).

But whatever! I’m actually in pretty good spirits – I quite like being busy at the moment – I think the lack of thinking time suits me as a person. With spring looking like its making inroads as well I want to get on top of running good and early this year, so soon my mornings will be taken and I’ll be itching for bed even earlier than my current 9.30pm bedtime.

Given that time is escaping me at a rapid rate, I decided not to waste my weekend. So I headed into London again yesterday to visit the British Museum. There was an exhibit on the Ice Age I’d planned to see, but tickets were sold out for the day so I made the most of the rest. There is a lot but there were also a lot of people, mainly children. Once again I failed to realise that I had picked the weekend and the start of half-term to make my journey, so it was a chaos of children and flustered parents. Glass thwarted almost all of my photos (next time I’m going somewhere with no glass and animals), but here we go anyway..

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Meh – not incredibly happy with those. I feel as though my photography mojo (what little I had) is slipping of late, but maybe that’s just the perils of winter and being insanely busy.

Besides photography it has been an exciting weekend. Yesterday (besides the British Museum) I also managed to make a trip to the British Library. It was a little dull to be honest – lots of books (surprise) and an exhibit on crime writers, but well, sod it, I’m old and my feet hurt so I didn’t get into the swing of things.

Today though, I went to a lecture on mysteries in the local area (of which there are apparently many). We then went to investigate a mystery – by attempting to summon the devil at an ancient burial mound. Suffice to say there was no devil. I was left disappointed, but amused – which pretty much sums up most of my experiences of the past few years come to think of it..

That’s all I have to say (being honest it was a struggle to commit to write this, but there we go)..

Obligatory song –

Peace!

Distance

So it has been an exciting weekend for me. It all began this weekend with a ghost walk in an old Napoleonic fort nearby.

Suffice to say that I am no more convinced of the existence of the supernatural than I was before. Our trip began with the tour we had booked on in advance being cancelled, a trip to a takeaway to kill time (which culminated at us being stood at their counter for 5 minutes with money in our hands, while they preferred to talk on the phone than serve us) and the absolute crappiest of possible weather.

The ghost walk was led by a rather elderly gentleman who, bless him, did his best. However the fact that he constantly mixed up “lass” and “lad”, that he constantly lost his train of thought and speech, and the general lack of ambience meant that generally, the whole walk was not scary. I am naturally sceptical, and to believe that there was a ghost in every single room and corridor we passed through was a bit of a stretch. The day was a bit of a wash-out but we did have a laugh giggling at the ridiculous stories and their characters with interchangeable genders.

Saturday I mainly sat around.

This morning was the 10km run I have been leading up to over the last few months. I awoke bright and early at 8am to get some breakfast inside me and digested before the run took place. I had a lovely shower and lounged around before making my way across the road to take part.

Unfortunately on arrival I discovered that, true to form, I actually got the time wrong. So.. It turns out I arrived 15 minutes after the runners had actually left. Cue what was a desperate and futile attempt to er.. not come last. Which I promptly did.

However, I did run the race faster than I had anticipated. I don’t have an accurate time, as well, they declared my starting time the same as everyone else, and my stupid Garmin Forerunner didn’t find a satellite lock until half a mile into the race. My reported time was 1 hour 15 mins. Which means that I must have come in just under or pretty much bang on an hour. Which to be honest I am totally chuffed with.

So anyway my legs are sore. My calves are stiff and doing a great job of cramping whenever they are stretched. Still, it is done and I have a trophy to remind me of my finishing!

And some suitable Soilwork to end.

The one you are looking for is not here..

So another few weeks have come and gone and I didn’t post another blog entry. Nonetheless the last few weeks/months have been pretty exciting. I finally got interviewed for my own job. Despite the fact that the interview itself was an absolute farce all around (they even changed the location of the interviews without telling me) I got the job. So I am now officially a Research Analyst, albeit one who is essentially a library manager still..

I celebrated in typical style by spending an epic shitload of money on a new camera. So yes.. My new baby the Canon 5d mark III arrived Saturday morning after placing the order on Friday afternoon.

After waiting for the battery to charge I immediately rushed out to take some photos in the garden. I only really took macros as the garden is not the most exciting place in the world, but the camera is an absolute joy to use. Can’t wait until I have to shoot my next set of sports pictures or to do some inside shots. Either way it will be brilliant!

I’ll whack what I took on Saturday down here for posterity anyway..

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In other news running is going.. Not so well. After the epic climate change over the past two weeks I’ve only been out once for a two mile run. I did head out Saturday but only got just under 6 miles done. Bummer. 10k is in two weeks. I think I will revise my target of 1 hour – 1 hour 10mins down to “just finish the forking thing without walking”. It’s only the first one. If I can pull myself out of my slump and keep running through autumn/winter then THAT will be the real achievement.

In other news I’m currently nursing a minor sprained wrist. Which is epically annoy as I’m having to avoid damaging it further by avoiding the gym. At least that’s some more time at home with my new baby for now.

What else is there to say? Booked some tickets to see Katatonia in December. Looking forward to that! Katatonia are one of those bands I’d feel guilty if I never got round to seeing them live.. Seems fair to end on one of their new songs then really! Short entry I realise but more to come over the next month including ghost hunting and medieval invasions (hopefully in pictures)!

Run away!

It’s been a while since I posted anything beyond photographs really, and although I love photographs the original point of this blog was to discuss (or rather splurge onto the page thoughts about) things in general. So..

Running.

Today I made the grand (in my world) milestone of 10km on my “long run” of the week. This takes place stupid early on a Saturday when the world and his cousin are rightly tucked up in bed. I’d never really given thought to how far (or near depending on how you look at it) 6 miles actually is until I’d run it. Turns out it’s a long old way. Like reaching retirement or.. er.. Tibet.

Anyway the point of the post isn’t to crow about my exploits, but rather to reflect on some of my thoughts on your (or rather my) average run.

I thought it might be easiest to arrange this mind-splooge in a series of headings. Thus artificially ordering my thoughts in a way that really no longer reflects how they are formed.

Weather

Yeah – the weather. On short runs it is easy to be fairly ambivalent about the weather. Sunny weather is my least favourite; it’s uncomfortable, it blinds, it makes what is inevitably a body-temperature-raising-activity even hotter. Ultimately it is miserable. No big deal you think. Well – wrong. Last week I ran in unbearable sunshine; one of the side-effects of setting off early is on a hot day you can move from comfortable heat to holy-crap-my-flesh-is-peeling-from-my-bones temperature fairly quickly as the sun rises. The worst thing about this is on a 20 minute run you’re presumably only a 20-30 minute walk from home at the furthest point should the weather become unbearable and you limp, defeated, homewards. However as distance increases the walk home gets longer and longer, thus leaving you with the uncomfortable dilemma – do you give up and walk in the baking sun for up to an hour to get home, or do you keep on running, in the hope you’ll get home before dehydration sets in and you collapse in a delirious puddle of sweat in the middle of the road melting like a slug in the sunshine? Nobody wants to end up like this..

Wind is good generally, unless you happen to be happily trudging along on an open road and you find yourself tossed from one side to the other like a plastic bag on a motorway. Running into the wind is a bit tougher, but invigorating, running with the wind is even better because it feels like you’re FLYING.

Rain is marginally even better for the most part – it cools and soothes, except for feet where it leads to all sorts of blistery hell by making your socks extra sticky and the space between your toes squidgier (technical term). To be fair rain is mostly fine other than when it is really heavy. Running in a deluge with all your clothes sticking to you (more than usual in my case) is horrible, but my very LEAST favourite bit of running in the rain is… GIANT RAINDROPS. Oh yeah. You know them. They don’t come at first – the sneaky bastards come after the main rainfall. They work their way through the trees, gathering size and weight before they fall on you like water balloons thrown from a skyscraper. Everywhere they land is a disaster – today one landed in the minute gap between my trainer and my sock. One solitary droplet which drenched my feet entirely.

Of course the worst of the worst, the very pinnacle of misery comes when they land on your face. The armageddon situation being when it gets in your eye. Then you wonder – it was huge, was it rain? Did a bird just crap in my eye? The misery is compounded. The sad truth it.. You’ll never really ever know.. Every time this happens I’m reminded of the following scene from 28 Days Later.. (ignore the writing – best clip I could find I’m afraid).

Hills

Oh hills. I’m sure they’re good for me and are making me a stronger runner and all of that stuff, but they’re still bloody awful. Running up a hill is not a life affirming thing. Running downhill is much better. That’s great. Unless, I discovered recently, the decline is too steep. In this case your life affirming run becomes either an awkward shuffle, an all-out death-sprint where one footfall can mean flying face-over-foot, or.. well…

Cars/vans/motorbikes/lorries/busses/tractors

I like to think there is a special place in hell reserved for motorists who make no effort to slow down for runners. Yes, it’s a road, but if there is no pavement it’s really fair game isn’t it? Especially on a narrow country lane. You’d think it would be common sense. I don’t expect you to come to a stop (although those of you who do are lovely) but squeezing past me at 40mph “because it is National Speed Limit along here you know” is just being a shit. If you do this you can guarantee you’ll earn yourself the finger as you zoom off. Generally I make an effort to step out of the way for a short while, but anybody who does something both sensible (and considerate) like wait for me to duck into an overtaking spot, slow down to a crawl to be sure they don’t murder me, or steers around me earns themselves a quick nod and wave. If you’re one of those people then yes – thank you. If you also happen to give a smile or wave of encouragement that is also just dandy by the way.

As for busses, lorries and tractors – the same goes, but also you are often a multi-tonne vision of death to me. Bear that in mind – I don’t really want to die like this..

Also I am not a toon.

Horses

Ok, I am not an animal person. Anyone who knows me can attest to this. Animals hate me, and if I’m honest the feeling is pretty much mutual. Not only this, but even animals I’m trying not to actively engage with, I almost always end up inadvertently kicking, stepping on, annoying. Chances are fairly high that if you’ve had me in your house and you have some kind of animal, I have kicked it at some point (by accident I should add).

So seeing a horse/train of horses on the road immediately makes my heart sink. I’m still not sure of the etiquette for overtaking a horse. Do I keep to the other side of the road? I mean that’s what I try to do but I do worry I might start some kind of chase in motion and I’ll be run down like troops in line formation before heavy cavalry (yeah – well there aren’t enough of me to form square).

Not only that but horses bite and kick and they poo an awful lot – they also tend to be pretty large. My run doesn’t want to end in kicks, bites or poo. In short horses are not something I want to be near to in general. Come to think of it why would anybody want to RIDE one anyway?

Other runners/cyclists

Ok so first cyclists. Cycling is like running for wimps. Sure you might have been a long way, it might be better for your joints, but it makes you impotent and if you wanted something with wheels get a car. Let is be known that if you are cycling past me I hate you, entirely rationally.*

Other runners though – are great. You never know who or what you’ll find running. Also, well lets face it, there’s always going to be some competition. I am not a fast runner. I sit fairly comfortably under the title of “plodder” so being overtaken is inevitable. But that extra boost to run just a bit harder for a little while is always welcome. Last week I had a nice conversation with another runner about a new running route, and there’s a shared camaraderie in running. Almost every runner you meet will smile and say good morning if you pass them, comment on the heat etc. It reminds me most of being a teenager in baggy jeans and band t-shirts, getting accepting nods from other teenagers as you pass by. A lovely, exclusive, welcoming club.

Well.. Almost always. this morning whilst running I saw a middle-aged man coming towards me from a distance. He looked to be struggling a bit, so I readied myself to give a few words of acknowledgement/encouragement as I got closer. We’re about 30-40 meters away when I look away for a minute, distracted by a noise I had thought was a car when suddenly the man was gone. Completely vanished. Like a ghost. Or rather a ghost if people often see ghosts of middle-aged balding men jogging along the road in shorts. Thoroughly confused I reach the area where the man had previously been and investigate. Lo and behold the man was hiding around a corner in the undergrowth waiting for me to pass, breathing like a truck. Thoroughly embarrassed both for myself and him I made a quick exit.

So that’s all from me for today. If you made it this far through my ramblings you deserve a medal.

*Please note my antipathy towards cyclists may be due to a series of painful childhood experiences involving bikes and should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, much like pretty much everything I write/say.