Category Archives: General

Re-light my fire

The next chapter in my ever-evolving life story is unfolding… the quest to find out what’s in store for me after quitting life as a photographer at sea is on…! And so far, it hasn’t turned out quite as I expected. But that’s half the fun of life, isn’t it! It’s anything but boring…

Read the next chapter in my life story; why I quit my job, what impact the events of a year ago have had on my photography journey and what excites me about this next phase here: Chapter 4: Re-light my fire.

If you want to know more about how I came to be a cruise ship photographer in the first place, check out Chapters 2 & 3 in the About Me section.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Brush it away

Today I stumbled across an article on Shutterstock offering a free set of 20 ‘Grunge’ brushes for Photoshop and suggestions for how to use them for creative effect. Having never used brushes like this before, I downloaded them, loaded them up into Photoshop and had great fun playing around!

This blog post showcases some of my new creations as a result of these experiments, and talks through what I learned about Photoshop as I went along.

Here’s the first graphic I created:

Go easy on yourself.  Whatever you do today, let it be enough.
“Go easy on yourself. Whatever you do today, let it be enough.”
Text borrowed from #PeacefulMindPeacefulLife on Twitter

In this graphic I chose a radial Solid Colour layer for the background, with brush effect on top of that layer, using blending options (“Soft Light” or “Overlay”, I can’t remember which) to soften the brushes and blend the colours with the background.

Then I experimented with drop shadows around the text to lift it off the page.

Happy with that but eager to experiment further with the brushes, I picked another inspirational quote from a catalogue of quotes I’ve collected…

"Mourn the end of an era, but honour the start of a new one.  For in this new era lie the lands of hopes and dreams, growth and new beginnings."
“Mourn the end of an era, but honour the start of a new one. For in this new era lie the lands of hopes and dreams, growth and new beginnings.”
Text courtesy of #TheStreamOfHumanConsciousness on Twitter

In this graphic I started with a tan background, as the Shutterstock article suggested. Applying the same brush multiple times with different colours, then using different blending options for the brush layer, gave me this papyrus-effect for the background.

I thought this script-style font complemented the text and the background. Adding an Outer Glow effect around the text helped to separate it slightly from the background and make it more legible.

Moving on from plain backgrounds, next I selected a photograph of Hadrian’s Wall that I had taken back in January and created this:

"Photography is putting one's eye and one's heart on the same axis." - Henri Cartier Bresson
“Photography is putting one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis .”
– Henri Cartier Bresson

Using the photograph as a background, I applied one of my new “Grunge” brushes to give a ‘vintage’ sort of effect, then on top of that I added a quote I had seen online.

With my creative juices now flowing, I clicked on to another Shutterstock article which gives away 20 free celebration and bokeh backgrounds.

My first thought when I saw the background images in this set was “I can add snow”! So I dragged out one of my pictures from earlier this year that I’ve been thinking would make a good Christmas card and added a snow effect on top. I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the original versus the snow effect one?


Lechlade in Winter

With added snow effect (and removal of the telephone wire):

Lechlade in Snow

Finally, I combined the brushes with a confetti background and created this graphic:

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot
Text courtesy of Cole’s Classroom

As per the instructions in the article, I used a Clipping Mask to put confetti behind the text. I’ve never quite understood Clipping Masks, but it worked a treat in this situation!

This type of digital art & graphic design marks a departure from the ‘pure’ photography I’ve focused on up until now, but I must say I enjoyed the exercise! So there you have it. From photographer to graphic designer??

Sunday trading

I spied this chap in a flea market in Cadiz on a very hot Sunday morning. It was around noon and most of the city was still asleep after a carnival the night before, but the tourists were out and about hunting for a bargain.

Vanishing point

Lisbon is a port I have visited regularly during my 2.5 years at sea. On my arrival this time I was surprised to see the new cruise terminal & environs fully operational and the whole area transformed from the building site that has been there throughout my many & frequent visits to this Portuguese city from the sea. And then I realised it had been 6 months since my last visit! How time flies.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my Photo Blog!

Happy 2nd Birthday MiniF1 Photo!

Curacao Round
Being currently home on shore leave from my job as a Cruise Ship photographer, and with a bit of time on my hands, I decided it was high time I updated the About Me section of this website.  My circumstances have somewhat changed since I set this site up and I wanted to reflect this on the site.  So yesterday I took the opportunity to indulge in a little self-reflection and look back at how both my life and my photography have developed in the two years since its inception. It was then that I realised it was two years ago this month that I created this Photo Blog!

This photo blog site was born at a time in my life when I came to realise how important photography was to me and decided I wanted it to play a bigger role in my life.  But at the time I didn’t know how to realise that newfound ambition.  So I created this site as an experiment in self-expression, to showcase my favourite photos and to chart my journey of self-learning.

I had no idea what direction it would take… would I enjoy writing about photography, or the places I visited to take the photos, or just let the photos speak for themselves? Would it become the basis of a business, or a marketing tool? Or just a place to show off my newfound skills?

Even two years on, I’m still not entirely sure!

The ongoing journey

The tagline I set the site up with two years ago was ‘walk with me on my journey of photographic discovery’ and what a journey it has been.  From amateur hobbyist, to unemployed job seeker looking to turn my life upside down, to professional photographer on Cruise Ships, it’s fair to say both my life and my photographic journey have taken some twists and turns, which you can read all about in Chapters 1-3 in the About Me section:

Chapter 1: How I started
Chapter 2: Great Life Change
Chapter 3: The High Seas

The biggest development was becoming a cruise ship photographer, a job in which I have learned so much about different aspects of portrait photography, post-processing, printing and even filming.

And rest assured the journey is far from over.  Every day I am learning something new.

Moving to the Dark Side

Just this week, after months (or probably years) of cogitating I finally bit the bullet and bought a new camera.  Being a die-hard Canon user for over 20 years I have moved over to what my Dad refers to as the ‘Dark Side’ and bought a Nikon! The D750 DSLR is my first full-frame camera… and is by far the most expensive I have ever bought!

I could write a whole article on the reasons for this decision, and I may well do.  Suffice for now to say this is not a decision I took lightly, but so far I am pleased with the results 🙂

Where will I be two years from now?

I am still happy in my job as a photographer at sea, but I don’t think that will last forever.  I am always on the look-out for ideas as to how I can transition from life at sea to whatever comes next.  I think I would like to become a freelance photographer of some sort, with aspects of travel and possibly motorsport mixed in.  But the picture in my head is too fuzzy at the moment, which means I’m not quite ready for the next step yet.

So watch this space and let’s see where this photo blog and I find ourselves in two years’ time!

The Next Chapter

The next chapter in my photography journey begins on Saturday.  I’ll be making the jump from amateur to professional photographer, as I start my new job as a photographer on a cruise ship! With no prior professional photography experience or training, I got the job on the strength of the photos I’ve published on this photoblog 🙂 So, aside from being an outlet for me to showcase my favourite photos, this site has also been valuable in helping me move my photography career on to the next level.  What a great idea it was late one Sunday night to start it!

Equipment, accommodation and food will be provided on board, all I need to do is take pictures of the passengers and then convince them to buy as many as possible. Getting paid to travel and take photos… sounds pretty awesome to me 🙂

I’ll be primarily taking portrait photos of the passengers, either posed in a studio, at the dinner table or on the shore excursions. I’m looking forward to getting ‘on-the-job’ training and experience in professional portrait photography, but may also get the opportunity to shoot a few weddings too! Apparently they’re becoming quite popular on cruises. Whatever happens, I’ll pick up new skills and get to visit some new places too.

I’m intending to keep this photoblog updated as often as free WiFi allows, so watch this space and follow me as the next chapter of my photographic journey unfolds…