International Women’s Day 2017

Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Be Bold for Change I am going to revisit some photos taken for a project I created last year for IWD.  I had all bold ideas to do another photography project based around this year’s theme and  my health has not allowed.  Then one of my  comrades said it not about one day but making a difference everyday.

I put together a photo montage and it included about 25 portraits and I couldn’t of done it without the help of Thomas, Tim and Ian.  I added some music called Self Reflect Jared C Balogh.  I will be revisiting a number of projects and shots taken and reflecting on how far I have come as a photographer.

My pledge for this year is:

#BeBoldForChange and …

  • raise women’s visibility as spokespeople in the media

How better than taking photos of women and telling their stories.

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Throwback Thursday: Moseley Road Swimming Baths 

Back in February Friends of Moseley Road baths invited IgersBirmingham to capture Moseley Road Baths.
The baths are due to close soon, leaving the area having to travel to Sparkhill baths when they reopen.

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If you haven’t been to Moseley Road Baths the Friends are having a community action day on Saturday 18th March and more details can be found here for more information.  It will be a shame to see this building close.

Thank you IgersBirmingham for the opportunity to capture this beautiful building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Inspired – Kizomba, Semba & Ginga Workshops 

About this time last year I contacted my friend James to ask if I could take photos at his “Be Inspired – Kizomba and Semba Workshops” It’s been one of the scariest photo opportunities I did last year.  How do I freeze movement, how do I make sure the images are clear. I was shooting with both a Fuji Finepix bridge camera and a Canon 400D.

Fast forward just over a year and I have the opportunity to capture another one of James’s workshops.  I prepare myself to shoot at the same venue as last year, anticipating the lighting and what shots I want to get and the venue changes.  Calmly I make sure I have my external flash and extra batteries.

I got to the venue, with time to take some test shots with my Canon 1300D and introduced myself to the teacher Maria.

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I really like these shots.  The guys were busy setting up the music for the party night Testa Com Testa that follows the workshops.

As people started to arrive I started to wonder around and so people would feel at ease with me taking photos.  I found out that people had travelled from London and Bristol to attend the workshops.

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I really enjoy challenging myself as a photographer and these workshops are a great opportunity to do that.  Everyone is so friendly.

 

 

Maria will be hosting a Kizomba festival in Germany at the end of March click here for more details.

James will be hosting his own festival in Sardinia more details can found here about Sardinia Afro Beach Festival – The Kizomba Festival of Friendship.

Thank you again James.

Throwback Thursday

Last weekend at the street workshop with Kris Askey, I remember listening to a conversation about revisiting your photos.

I started taking photos just before the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012, as I wanted record moments that would never happen again.  I am so proud to of been involved in the Paralympics as an official at the wheelchair basketball tournament.

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I printed this shot and love it.

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This was underneath the extra seating at the aquatics centre.
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I bought a Fuji Finepix bridge camera and all shots in this blog post were taken with it.  I had no real clue how to use it so kept using the auto settings.

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Opening ceremony at Paralympics 2012

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 Hindsight is a wonderful thing and if I knew what I know now about photography, wow. I hope to share some more shots from my archives.  You can find more of my shots on Flickr 

Birmingham Online Seller Meetup 

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After my listing some of my stock on Ebay and not doing very well at all, I decided I need to do some research.

I got some really honest feedback from my previous post about Ebay.  Also the realisation that the amount of items I have to sell at any one time makes me a very little fish in huge pond.  For some time I have participated in online networking hours across the West Midlands.

A week last Sunday I came across an online sellers meetup event in Birmingham via #BrumHour.  I headed over to eventbrite and signed up.  The event was free and so had nothing to lose.

The weather in the evening was very different and I did think about going home to be dry and warm.  There was an opportunity to network before the presentations.  First was Abdullah from Plentymarkets and then Prabhat from Online Seller UK who organised the event.

Another realisation I made was I don’t know much about online retail.  I spoke with a guy who does drop shipping and yes I did Google it when I got home.  I spoke to another man who sold headscarves and a couple who sell body stickers. I did speak to some other people and I was prepared with my business cards.  I was able to pull up some of my product shots and got some nice feedback.  I was also asked by a lady who does video production how do I manage what I do alongside my day job?  I don’t know!  I think if you enjoy what are doing, you will make time.

I learnt a lot about selling on Ebay and Amazon and at this point in time they are not selling platforms for me. I will revisit them in the future. For now I will go into the sunset with my 105mm lens to take more photos.

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It’s the end of January already!

This post was due to be published on Tuesday but the photos wouldn’t load.

Today was the last day of January and it’s always welcome.  Mainly because it’s the first payday after Christmas and my birthday.

I thought I would share some photos from this month.

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This poster was designed by Tracey Emin for the 2012 Paralympics in London.  I find the words meaningful.

Igers Birmingham had their first meetup of the year in Deritend, the weather was poor but there was a great turnout of people.  I have been able to challenge my photography through these meetups and meet some lovely people.

I upgraded my phone and these last few photos were taken with my phone, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.

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These two photos were taken on different days.

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I love reflections and I am sure there will be more over the year.  Enjoy February.

My Calendar – My year in photos

Since the beginning of 2016 I have seriously been taking photos with a DSLR camera.  Along this journey of discovery I have had some fantastic opportunities to take photos.

I wanted to get a desktop calendar and thought about using my own shots.  I did get some inspiration from Ross Jukes Photography, who has produced a fantastic calendar with great shots. 

 So I looked back through all of the photos I took this year and tried to choose a shot from each month.

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 This is the cover of my calendar, I took this shot at Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve on an igersbirmingham and West Midlands wildlife instameet.  

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 In January I went to Dublin for my birthday and spent time with some lovely people, thank you.

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 Before I carry on I took photos Canon 400D for the first 3 months.  I want to thank my dear friend for lending me the camera.

I love tulips and will treat myself to flowers every once in a while.

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 For my 40th birthday another dear friend gave me some plants and they re-flowered. I love how things can bloom again.

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 At the end of April I took my own DSLR out.  Rachel at Sitting Knitting let me take pictures in her lovely yarn shop.  This West Midlands yarn shop is full of beautiful things on top of all of the beautiful yarn.

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 I have been very blessed when a friend gave me some advice about lenses.  His advice about photography is invaluable and one Sunday morning I got up early to try it out.  The lens is for macro shots but I just wanted to try using it and ended up taking this shot of the Selfridges building in the West Midlands.

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 In June I met some photographers through Instagram and took this shot from the top of the Cube.  I am always chasing the sunset and sunrises.

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 This sunrise brings back memories of growing up.  I was rather pleased with the composition.

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 Whilst taking time off from the day job I went out to practice my photography and I went past the fountain in Victoria Square, which has been planted with flowers and I managed to capture a butterfly.

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 After all the years of living in the West Midlands I had the chance to go to Sarehole Mill with igersbirmingham on an instameet and take this shot. It was a lovely day and I got to meet more Instagrammers.

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 In October I signed up for another instameet with igersbirmingham at the new library at the University of Birmingham.  I wanted to challenge my photography and be nosey to be honest.  I was so shocked as this shot got chosen as photo of the day and featured in the igersbirmingham exhibition.  I am so proud of how the level of my photography has improved this year.

 As I said earlier I am always chasing a great sunrise and sunset.  So on the way to my day job I looked back saw this view and lucky enough I had my camera with me.

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 This photo wasn’t captured in December, it was a few days earlier. I got the opportunity to learn more about long exposure photography and I really enjoyed myself.  Yet another challenge for me, as I didn’t have a clue and struggle with cold temperatures.

I have enjoyed improving the quality of of my photos and can’t thank everyone who has helped me enough.  I have ordered 5 desk calendars in total and will make the other 4 available for sale if people are interested.  Do comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

My Name is Leon – An Evening with Kit de Waal 

After two nights of crap sleep I find myself wide awake at a quarter to six in the morning.  So I took the opportunity to listen to an evening with Kit de Waal hosted by Brum Radio bookshow.

I heard about this event through my friend Tina.  Who I met many moons ago when we were involved in university basketball.  Her friendship has opened my world to creative situations I wouldn’t of thought of.
She told me about the book and thought I would be interested.  I had all good intentions to read the book before going but didn’t.

I turned up early at Waterstones Birmingham, had a drop of red grape and sat down.  I didn’t know what to expect.

The guy on the left was hosting the recording and the guy on the right was assisting with tech stuff.

Kit read an extract from her debut novel, talked about the process and answered questions.  It was interesting to hear what environment helps her write best and the things she does for others.

I plucked up the courage to ask a question about what advice she would give to a new writer.  You can hear the answer in full on the recording linked above.  Surrounding yourself with people who will support you has resonated with me ever since.  She made it clear that being creative is not easy but having support helps you get over the hurdles.  I am not a writer but am creative and always appreciate advice.

I am trying to improve my photography and asked if I could take some photos.  Kit said yes below are some of my favourite shots.

It was a lovely evening to be exposed to something new and to catch up with Tina.  Being able to listen again reminded me of this and look forward to more events and situations that will open up my creativity, thank you.

My Current Crafting Project 

I am well known for starting and working on lots of projects at the same time. 

At the moment I’m working on a crochet baby blanket for some friends.  I have become a monogamous crafter and thought I would give flat lay photography a go.

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In this first photo I used a patterned fabric as the background.  It seems too busy so I tried again.  

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In this second photo I used a plainer background, what do you think?