Monday 31 May 2010


We have really cool neighbours. They are very tall. All three of them.

I snapped this photo of them when they came over to the fence in order to say hello to Tigger - and Zebedee, of course. I must get a photo of Cerberus the Great Dane with Tigger the puppy soon!

Tigger is on Facebook

I have just created a Facebook page for Tigger. ;-)
Tigger The Bouncy Springer.

Saturday 29 May 2010

Wild Park

My current favourite Vignette photo, taken today while walking Zebedee in Wild Park.

Thursday 27 May 2010

New blog

I have created an on-line diary for Tigger - it is here: The Tigger Diary.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Summer's Day

The camera in my G-Phone (G1) is pretty rubbish, but I have really started to like taking photos using Vignette app (for Android phones). Here's one from today's walk in the woods... was an absolutely lovely day.

I went to buy a kitchen...

...but all I got was this lily!

To explain, I went to B&Q to see whether they had any suitable kitchen cabinets for my flat renovation project, but they didn't, so I went to the plant section and saw this beautiful arum lily that I had to get for my office. It's only when I had "ingested" the images from my memory card to my computer that I realised that I have seen this flower before, in a very stylish bride's bouquet!

Thursday 20 May 2010

Last bluebells of this spring

We have some bluebells in our little garden. I know I wasn't going to take any bluebell shots this year unless I found a new way of taking photos of them, but I can't resist them, ok? At least I'm taking the photos with a lense I haven't used much, the Canon 50mm f/1.4, fully open.

I am actually in danger of falling in love with this lense. The bokeh is so beautiful! This lense makes even our bird feeder look good!

There was a cute little dog in the garden, too - keeping an eye on the birds and the cats of the neighbourhood.

I went to Stanmer Park again with Zebedee, as I wanted to get a video walking through the bluebell-covered woods for a friend in the US. First, though, the last of blossoms.

And some new leaves. I used one of a few free Lightroom templates I found in Harold Lloyd's blog on this photo.

And then onto Blubells!

Another of Harold Lloyd's Lightroom templates.

Zebedee has started to get himself into most my photos even more than before. He sees that I have stopped to take photos and it doesn't take long for him to get right in front of my field of vision.

Sometimes he really makes me laugh... like this time: I was taking photos of the bluebells with my long 400mm lense, pointing it at some particular flowers about three metres away from me.

Shooting away...

And suddenly this appears in my viewfinder!

How does he know exactly which flowers I'm shooting?! Sometimes Zebedee comes over and eats the flowers I'm shooting, but this time he decided to sit on them.

I think it's his way of saying "Stop taking photos and let's continue our walk!" Funny dog.

Monday 17 May 2010

Portrait workshop

I took part in a short portrait workshop today at a local photography studio Garage Studios. The tutor was Lou O'Bedlam and we had two models to take photos of. It was the first time I used Canon 50 mm f/1.4 lense, and the first time I took backlit portrait shots, which is something that Lou does a lot. Here are some of my shots.

It is interesting to see from these photos how a tiny change of angle can make a huge difference in the lighting and feel of the picture (obvious especially in the second and third photos). I will definitely start taking more portraits with natural light and not be afraid to shoot backlit portraits from now on.

Another thing that I got from this workshop is to try and capture something true about the person, rather than take just posed photos. To be honest, I often take photos "in between poses" when I do a portrait shoot for exactly that reason: to capture something spontaneous, something that often reveals a much more interesting side of the person, something which is more true to their nature. My favourite shots from a studio shoot often end up being the out-takes, "between poses" shots where I have captured a genuine laughter or other moment where the person is just themselves, unaware of the camera.

Also, I think Lou O'Bedlam has inspired me to engage even more with my portrait subjects than before. It's important to slow down, look, SEE, pay attention to the lines, shapes, colours in the background so that they work with the image rather than against it. And then, of course, go ahead and take the completely spontaneous, perfect shot. Haha. Easy, right?

Actually, I'll add a mistake photo here at the end: the following will illustrate why f/1.4 gives too shallow a DOF for taking other than straight-on portraits - if the face is even in a slight angle in relation to the camera, only one eye will be in focus in the shot. This is acceptable at times, of course, but you should make sure that the eye NEAREST to the camera is in focus, not the other one, like I had in this shot.

Who could resist that smile, though, eh? The correct eye in focus or not.

Thursday 13 May 2010

I like being a photographer!

I'm loving the fact that I can take photos for friends, relatives, strangers (who often become friends). I met up with my cousin and his girlfriend - ooops, fiancée - today. They got engaged a couple of weeks ago, so I thought I'd take some photos of them while we were walking in Stanmer Park.

Click here if you'd like to hear more about this story/family...

Monday 10 May 2010

Now we know who Tigger is

I have been talking about Tigger with Miles for months, perhaps almost a year. Now we know who he is!

We went to see a litter of seven springer puppies for the second time today. This time they were big enough for us to choose one dog (out of three). And here he is - meet Tigger! A gorgeous, inquisitive, waggy-tailed little five week old English Springer Spaniel.

These were about the only two photos where Tigger was still enough for an un-blurred photo. Most of the time he was exploring the room, biting our fingers, chasing his mummy for a sneaky suck of milk, springing onto a cushion, etc. etc. and whatever he was doing, wagging his tail a lot while doing it. It may be a sign of terrific mayhem to come, but I guess we like that. Or we are just plain crazy. Whichever it is, we can hardly wait to get him home in two weeks' time!
(both photos taken by Miles)

Sunday 9 May 2010


This is going to be a negative post, but I can't help it - I have to say this!

We went to the local Wagamama restaurant today because our favourite Japanese restaurant was closed. The last time I have been to one of the Wagamama chain restaurants was probably about eight years ago in London. I wasn't impressed then, but this time I was shocked and appalled!

I had their "yakisoba", as I remembered from the last time that it was quite edible - even if not very Japanese - and unsurprisingly, I thought the same this time. Miles, however, had "miso ramen". I had a taste of that "miso ramen" and I can honestly say that I haven't been as disappointed as that with anything I have eaten for years! And that is including the time I mistook a piece of tree bark for a piece of chocolate. Miles thought it was edible, bless him, but seriously, if someone goes to Wagamama, orders Miso Ramen and expects to get something that even resembles the type of miso ramen they eat in Japan, that someone is not going to be able to eat this dish water of a "miso ramen" they sell at Wagamama. What mockery! It's an absolute travesty.

We also had pork gyoza. They were the most bizarre qyoza I have ever eaten. The texture of the filling was very strange, it was possibly mostly grated cabbage. The dipping sauce was chilli oil. Not the usual soy sauce and vinegar based dipping sauce, not even rāyu, but some quite inappropriate Western cuisine chilli oil with big pieces of chilli in it. What on earth are these people thinking!

Not surprisingly there were no Japanese customers at all. Instead there were about 10 (non-oriental) families with little screaming kids. The atmosphere was like in a cheap family eatery where kids run around loose. And loud.

Equally not surprisingly there were no Japanese staff in the kitchen, either. I mean, who in their right mind would cook the kind of refuse they churn out at the Wagamama kitchen if they had any idea what the food is supposed to taste like?

The only way Wagamama can redeem my disappointing experience and a ruined Sunday lunch is to let me win their competition, stylishly advertised on their paper place mats (in the manner of fast food joints):

Thank you for letting me rant.

And don't forget to go to E-Kagen for delicious, authentic Japanese food when you visit Brighton. ;-) (Check their opening times beforehand!)

Monday 3 May 2010

My love for woods

I can't help it. I just love the woods; love all the trees, the leaves, the flowers, bark, everything. Here are some snaps from today's walk.

I know... I wasn't going to take any more photos of bluebells. I failed. They are pretty.