Wednesday, 30 April 2008

30th April 2008

A very cute Husky, outside Haugastøl 1000 moh

We all survived the trip so far, we just have to brave the Norwegians on the ferry home and we are done. The ferry/Newcastle is a popular weekend break destination for Norwegians in search of an affordable three day drinking party. The ferry is the first night of their weekend long drinking session.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Haugastøl 1000 moh accommodation

Today it's raining. Really raining. No one is complaining after being beaten up by 30mph+ winds yesterday. Since there is little point in going outside just yet, I have used the time to photograph the family run [accommodation] here at Haugastøl. It's brightening up now though, time to get the kites out...

Monday, 28 April 2008

28th April 2008

The Hardangervidda plateau

The Hardangervidda plateau, the largest plateau in Scandinavia, with an area of some 2,900 square miles, lies at an average altitude of between 1,200 and 1,600m, with numerous frozen lakes and a meager covering of pasture grazed by large herds of wild reindeer. It is a barren landscape, above the tree-line, but immensely impressive. This is our playground.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

27th April 2008

Today promised to be very special - the forecast was for wind and sunshine, and for our first 30 minutes on the hill, it all came true - massive expanses of untracked snow in the hot sunshine with lovely clean winds.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

26th April 2008

Walls of snow. Haugastøl

The roads here are quite an adventure in themselves. When the wind blows snow onto the roads, you have to wait for a passing snowplow and get in line behind it for the journey to base.

Today it snowed all day, and the wind got up to about 25mph at times. It was a rollercoaster ride snowkiting in whiteout conditions, where moving the kite slightly too quickly was sure to produce involuntary airtime for the rider. We all learned a lot today, and came home exhausted and happy.

You might have noticed that there is a lack of snowkiting action shots here. So far we have had only a few days where the wind has been good enough, and only for some of the day, to snowkite at all. The idea running for a camera instead of a kite in these situations seems way beyond the call duty for at present! You can either take my word that there are people spinning around in the air, flying down snowy hillsides and generally looking like masters of this fledgling sport, or see the daily uploads the trip organisers are adding to their website [here].

Friday, 25 April 2008

25th April 2008

The wind meter sit on a pole by the vans today. When it gets above 10mph, the wind is strong enough get out and ride the white desert. It was above 10mph for only 30 minutes today, but what a 30 minutes. Unfortunately, I had snowkited a mile from the vans when the wind dropped back down to 4.8mph. I now have good experience walking with a kite.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

24th April 2008

I am quite intimidated by the kite I am using to snowkite on these shots. Its a 12m2 inflatable water (kitesurfing) kite, which I am sure is great fun on water but feels like flying a small house around in a white field at the moment. I am sure I will get used it it's size and power with a bit more practice. I must confront the fear and fly it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

23rd April 2008

We came to Europe's most respected snowkite location for the clean mountain plateau winds and as yet we have had no wind at all. Today though, a couple of us found some wind at the top of a mountain col while heading off for experimental steps on cross-country skis. A stolen few hours of moderate wind and a few stolen first steps at snowkiting. Its a fantastic feeling, being able to snowboard over flat ground, up hill, down hill, off-piste, over frozen lakes. We are now praying for more wind...

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

22nd April 2008

Andrew, mid-backflip. Andrew trained as a gymnast a little while back, and finds all sorts of creative uses for his skills these days. Above Haugastøl at dusk.

Monday, 21 April 2008

20th April 2008

telegraph pole on the rallarvegen, haugastol

Rock exposed to the spring sunlight after wintering under a blanket of snow. Haugastol.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Day two on the ferry, Stavanger.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

19th April 2008

Day one of the 26 hour (!) ferry journey from Newcastle to Bergen.

19th April 2008

Today I set of to Norway on a two week snowkiting trip. It’s all pretty daunting, with a 24 hour ferry crossing to look forward to and no experience of snowkiting when I get there. I am taking a camera though, and hope to be able to continue to post photographs to this page while in Norway...

Friday, 18 April 2008

18th April 2008

Hamish, on squirrel patrol.

This photo uses post-processing software called [DxO filmPack], which emulates the characteristics of specific print and slide film. Digital photographs can sometimes be too literal in their representation of a scene and therefore lack any romance as a result. The real reason I have a posted a doggy picture - I am going away without him for two weeks, and now have a photo of him to look at while I am away.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

17th April 2008

Carving on fallen tree, [Eastham Country Park], Wirral

The watcher in the woods, [Eastham Country Park], Wirral

It's lovely to discover nearby places that have been overlooked in the constant quest for wilderness and adventure. Eastham Country Park on the wirral, although not a natural wilderness by any means, used to be a ferry journey away from Liverpool for well-to-do Victorians in search of bird song and a cup of Earl Grey. Signs of this heritage are nicely mixed with modern day interest, such as these chainsaw carvings dotted along the woodland trails.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

16th April 2008


Lukas's new tattoo, 'The Birds'

This is the first completely posed portrait shot I have done on this blog. It's shot outdoors in bright sunlight, modified (diffused) manually. I had ideas for juxtaposing these images together into a ‘double-page spread’ magazine style type shot, but really, they work better separately. Thanks Lucas.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

15th April 2008

Paul Bebe, Les Arc, 2006

Memorial, Paul's funeral, Blacon crematorium, this morning.

Our mountain biking buddy, Paul, died of cancer this month at only 40 years old. It only feels like a moment ago we spent carefree days on the trails, Paul lugging his super-heavy Orange Patriot downhill bike around the cross-country trails with us. He always beat us to the top.

Paul was one of those friends that makes you feel very fortunate to have had him in your life. He was a great person and we are going to miss him. He was friendly, generous and kind, always willing to lend a helping hand in his typical laid back style. Nothing was ever too much trouble.

He was a man of few words but the ones he used were well chosen. His one liners were sure to have you in stitches. This went with a mischievous streak that you always had to watch out for. You could be sure to end up with a smile on your face when Paul was about.

Although quiet he was not shy and was always involved with things. We met through one of his great loves; mountain biking. He loved the outdoors and was always keen to head into the hills. He gained a lot of respect for dragging his heavy Orange Patriot bike up mountains. I don’t know how he did it. This strength was something that showed in everything he did, no matter how hard the task he just got on with it and never complained. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer he just shrugged, seemed to take it in his stride and bought a new (and lighter) mountain bike to ride, ready for when he got better.

Although not the fastest of the mountain bikers we know he still beat us up to the top of the hill and left us standing on the downhills. When I think of Paul I will only have happy times to remember. In particular I always come back to him letting me think I was at last going to beat him to the top of a climb. Just before the summit he would give me a cheeky grin and effortlessly cruise past me only to disappear in a cloud of dust down the other side.

There was standing room only at his funeral. It takes a remarkable person to be so well liked and so highly thought of. He has left his mark on our lives and for that we will be grateful.

We will miss you Paul, we hope your Orange Patriot is with you now.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Leave your comments...

Thank you all for your kind comments via email and in person. It always surprises me how many people check back here regularly to see what’s new. When life gets busy though, it’s only the feedback from you that motivates me to continue shooting every day. Please take time to leave comments directly on this blog - you can even do it anonymously. Tell me what you like, where I could improve shots, or even better, ideas for other photo locations/subjects - I need all the ideas I can get with, at this point, 285 images left to make!

14th April 2008

The first broad bean shoot this year, Jiffy 7 peat pellets.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

13th April 2008

Eileen and Frank, next door, at home just after the Sunday service. Thanks guys.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

12th April 2008

Slate pots, in progress.

Good slate is so enjoyable to work with. Making these pots today gave me a really sense of connection with the past. Maybe it's because slate can’t be worked without slowing down and being patient. Slate is unforgiving to any modern-day rushing around; it won’t hesitate to break with one over-zealous impact.

Friday, 11 April 2008

11th April 2008

Mr and Mrs Carson, Ali, Peckforton Castle.

I learned today that the more you champagne you drink at a wedding the worse your photography gets. These two were after one only glass.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

10th April 2008

River Dee, Chester

On the way back from borrowing a lens this evening (thanks Jim), this amazing rainbow appeared in the sky. As I crossed the river, I couldn't pass by without a shot.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

9th April 2008

My little pal Cydney

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

8th April 2008

This chap lives on my street. He is a real talent on a bike and rarely rides these local park dirt jumps any more - they just ain’t big enough for him.

It seems like shooting this sort of thing is a lesson in keeping it simple; sun near straight on, fast shutter speed, wide angle lens to show the landing/context, getting in very low and close (i.e. lying in the mud in this case), then just shooting loads. On the 'cool sports' theme, I love the work of photographer [Ryan Allan] who has shot some amazing skate, bike and surf images, but all shot in an natural, earthy style. Inspiring.

Monday, 7 April 2008

7th April 2008

Bacon and Eggs

Brunch, tarted-up for the camera. I am not too sure about the chives though - Attack of the Killer Green Ants?

Sunday, 6 April 2008

6th April 2008

Canadian Cove Stiffee Bike & Goodbye lens

The guts of my 'pub' lens were sprawled alarmingly over the bottom a bag this morning - it didn't survive the party the night before. I thought perhaps that a good whack back in place might have sorted it, but if you click on the larger version of this image, the lens may not be quite right? Time for a new pub lens. Canon make [these] light-weight plastic, almost disposable, 50mm pub lenses with really good optics and a street price a fraction of the cost of a proper lens. That's why they are safe to take in the pub.

6th April 2008

Tom and the talented Mr Owen

I remember reading somewhere that little dudes, like the talented Mr Owen here, have very dark doughy eyes when photographed. Lightening the 'catch-light', or reflection, in his eyes during post-processing just lifts that otherwise black hole feel to his eyes.

Saturday, 5 April 2008

5th April 2008

Day of the outdoor clothing catalogue shots

We were the lucky ones today. With a hill forecast of heavy snow looming, we enjoyed sunny sledging sessions on survival bags, map cases, friend's heads.

Friday, 4 April 2008

4th April 2008

Oak Smoked Garlic, hand-fired pots.

This smoked garlic smells like those carefree days from childhood, where a box of matches borrowed from the kitchen draw led to secret bonfires in the woods, sheepishly returning home trying to hide the smell of smokey clothing from prying noses. I have no idea how to cook with garlic that smells like post-bonfire clothing.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

3rd April 2008

Sue's new haircut, moody lighting

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

2nd April 2008

This painted caravan just appeared in field half way between Chester and Helsby a few weeks ago. It looks really defiant against the backdrop of farm sheds and trees. These last few days images exhaust my local knowledge of graffiti art, unless anyone knows any good spots around Chester/North Wales?

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

1st April 2008

Pedestrian bridge, Chester ring road, Upton.

An inspired graffiti artist has painted an amplifier graphic onto one of the concrete bases of this bridge. It looks great as you drive past. I took several wide-angle shots here, but I like the simple symmetry of this one.