Category Archives: General

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.

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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…

Look for the small picture in the big picture

Given the opportunity to spend some leisure time taking photos, I’m not sure many people would list their back garden as their number one destination, but I can always find something to shoot in a garden. Two weeks ago it was bees, today it was spiders and brightly coloured leaves!

As I was looking around for something emotive to shoot in Mark & Audrey’s garden in Wimbledon, I combined Halid’s words of wisdom with those of James Christie*, another pro photographer whom I met in Edinburgh, which were:

Look for the small picture in the big picture

There are photographic opportunities all around us if we look for them.

He taught us not only to look, but to see.  When walking around don’t just look ahead at where you’re going, look up, look down, look around.  Look for the small details.  Even if you walk the same route every day, keep your eyes open and you will see new things every day.

And he’s right.  Here’s the garden that I spent the best part of an hour and a half wandering around in this morning:

Mark & Audrey's urban jungle
Mark & Audrey’s urban jungle

When I took the time to stop and look closely in the garden I saw raspberries ripening, I saw sunlight shining through the leaves of an acer tree, I saw a bush budding with new growth, I saw a dog rose pointing up to the sky, I saw a lone rose that had climbed up in the middle of the acer tree, I saw the tendrils of a vine reaching out across the void, and I saw spiders – lots and lots of spiders. So much in such a small space!

IMG_4628 Spider at rest scaled
I wonder what’s on the menu today?

But the best bit was seeing a spider eating her lunch – having caught a small fly in her web, she wrapped it in silk and spun it into a ball, carried it back to the centre of the web, ate the silk off it and then proceeded to dine at her leisure.

Mmm, yummy fly
Mmm, yummy fly

Fascinating to watch, I felt quite privileged. It’s something I’m sure that goes on every day, in every back garden.  But how many people have actually seen it unfold?

So my advice to you today is: Take the time to look at what’s around you – you don’t need to go somewhere spectacular to see something spectacular.

See the rest of the photos from today’s garden shoot in the Photo Gallery here.


* James Christie: Edinburgh Walking Photography Tours