Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image in 5 Easy Steps

March 18, 2013 Leave a Comment

I’ve recently moved over to a Windows 8 machine, and the first thing I wanted to do was to personalise it a little bit so that I used my own images for the desktop background, and for the lock screen.

It took me a little bit of time to work out exactly where to go in order to change the lock screen image, so if you have landed on this page because you’re attempting to do the same, here are the steps you need to take.

Step 1
Move your mouse to the very bottom right hand side of the screen so that the right menu bar pops up.
Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image - Step One

Step 2
Select the Settings option
Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image - Step Two

Step 3
Click on ‘Change PC Settings’
Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image - Step Three

Step 4
Select the image you wish to use if visible, otherwise click on ‘Browse’
Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image - Step Four

Step 5
If browsing you will be within you pictures folder simply – select the image you wish to use, and then select ‘Choose Picture’
Changing your Windows 8 Lock Screen image - Step Five

BT Artbox Project

June 18, 2012 Leave a Comment

The BT Artbox Project is now live!

See what I did there?

So, the search is on and it looks like there may be 84 telephone boxes to find in total, though information for boxes #s 66 and 76 are currently missing, with the elusive details for box #79 popping up overnight.

The official map can be found here, but it’s not the best from my initial scout with boxes appearing in slightly different locations, plus I’m not sure if all of the boxes are out on Day 1. I have a busy week, plus a trip to Prague planned, so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to grab all of these or get a map up – but here are spreadsheets in case you want them:

Here’s a downloadable spreadsheet to act as a checklist: Download spreadsheet
Here’s a Google maps spreadsheet that the community can add notes to: Google Spreadsheet

I’ll likely update this page with information in due course, as well as linking to all of the images I take on my Flickr stream.

Good luck out there :)

BT Artbox Project – coming soon

June 5, 2012 Leave a Comment

BT Artbox Project

Those who followed this blog during the Faberge Egg Hunt earlier this year (and likewise those who arrived a few years ago and helped look for elephants in the parade) will be pleased to know that we’re just two weeks away from the BT Artbox Project hitting the streets of London.

In support of Childline and sponsored, as the name suggests, by BT, this initiative will see the streets of London covered with replicas of the iconic telephone boxes designed by Giles Gilbert Scott; these fibreglass replicas will vary in their appearance and created by many different artists as the eggs, elephants and cows before them were.

Though the initial press release many months ago suggested that this would be the ‘largest public art exhibit’ to take place in London the design list currently shown on the website would suggest otherwise. Of course there is time for more to be added to the list, but it currently stands on around 81 boxes submitted. If they wish to beat the elephant parade they would certainly need over 3 times that amount to hit the streets.

Either way, I’m prepared to head out there and capture them all as usual – so check back here for the usual guide and map in due course.

Like the elephants there are a few potential issues to be faced. Sure, we’ll likely have to overcome the usual hostile shop assistants and security guards who want to have these in store, and drive traffic through their doors, but will then refuse you the option to photograph them; however I also note that the plinth these sit on mean that people are able to use them as both seats and trash cans. Added to this the likelihood that some will be damaged by some idiot I suggest you get out there and find them sooner rather than later.

Though the project doesn’t start until the 18th June there are 6 on display right now in celebration of the Jubilee. ‘Long Live Love Life’ is the design of Ryan Callanan and are at various spots around the capital, no new spots for those who did the elephants. All 6 are designed the same so only the location is new for each, and the ones at St Pancras International Station and Covent Garden are the most annoying by way of traffic, the former being very much used as a seat and a rubbish bin the two times I checked it out today.

The Big Egg Hunt

February 27, 2012 13 Comments

The Prize - Fabergé Golden Egg
The hunt is on for large eggs all across London!

Update: I’ve now added a map with locations for all of the eggs along with the relevant text codes. View the Big Egg Hunt Map now.

Fabergé are working with Action for Children and The Elephant Family to bring you an Easter full of fun if you live in London. The Big Egg Hunt sees 210 large decorated eggs let loose on the streets, and it’s your mission to find them all. Once found, you can track your eggs using the QR codes on a special plaque by each one, and if you wish to donate you can text in the special code for each egg with the cash raised being partially split between the two charities.

Those who do donate are in with the chance of winning the special prize that you see above, the Fabergé golden egg worth £100,000. I’ve held it, and I feel it would make an excellent paperweight on my desk at work!

Those of you who remember the Elephant Parade a few years ago will know that I enjoy finding and taking photos of all of these things, so this year I’m keeping my checklist here. As I process the images I will post them on Flickr and add links for them to the list below. You can download your own checklist in Excel format using the link at the end of this post.

So far I have collected 209 of the 210 eggs
I’m still looking for eggs shown in bold font, the eggs without image links are slowly being updated.

Roaming Egg – Where’s Wally – no specific zone

Zone 1 (complete)
29 – Eggstatic Eggstasy (Gees Court – Outdoor)
38 – What came first the chicken or the egg? (Selfridges – Indoor)
44 – Robi & Walt (Selfridges – Indoor)
45 – Walt & Robi (Selfridges – Indoor)
58 – The Happy End of Nature (St Christopher’s Place – Outdoor)
67 – No Placenta (St Christopher’s Place – Outdoor)
80 – The Alpha Egg of London (Selfridges – Indoor)
90 – The Social Egg (Selfridges – Indoor)
97 – The Birds Promise (Selfridges – Indoor)
99 – Little Boy (Selfridges – Indoor)
144 – SELF EGGSPRESSION (Selfridges – Indoor)
146 – Nemesis Sub-Terra (Gees Court – Outdoor)
162 – Seasonal Egg (St Christophers Place – Outdoor)
195 – Eggit (St Christophers Place – Outdoor)

Zone 2 (complete)
1 – The Big Bang Egg (Davies Street – Outdoor)
3 – Angel Hatching (Mill Street – Outdoor)
7 – Butterfly Effect Egg (Mount Street – Outdoor)
9 – Vanitas Vitrified (New Bond Street – Outdoor)
20 – For the Widows in Paradise, for the Fatherless in Ypsilanti (Avery Row – Outdoor)
23 – A penny for your thoughts (Audley Street – Outdoor)
24 – Gem Egg – The Jewellery Box (Berkeley Square – Indoor)
30 – eggshabbychic (Savile Row – Indoor)
33 – Slice (Savile Row – Indoor)
39 – The Peace Egg (South Molton Street – Outdoor)
41 – All the Stars Moon & Sun (Savile Row – Indoor)
51 – Love & Flourish (South Audley St – Outdoor)
62 – Aurore (Dorchester Hotel – Indoor)
63 – Perdita (Claridges – Indoor)
64 – Egg (Mount Street – Outdoor)
65 – Teflon (Mayfair Hotel – Indoor)
85 – Fuego de Huevo (Fire Egg) (Berkeley Square – Outdoor)
89 – The Linley Britannia Egg (Albernarle Street – Indoor)
98 – The Birth of a Legend (Bruton Street – Outdoor)
104 – Resurrection (South Molton Street – Indoor)
106 – Remarkable Connections (Conduit Street – Indoor)
110 – Eggna (Bolton Street – Outdoor)
111 – Faith Egg (South Molton Street – Outdoor)
115 – Fragile (Carlos Place – Outdoor)
120 – Prince of a Thousand Enemies (Lancashire Court – Outdoor)
126 – Love is Life (Davies Street – Outdoor)
129 – Egg (Dorchester – Outdoor)
136 – Hatch (New Bond Street – Outdoor)
141 – Egg Box (New Bond Street – Outdoor)
145 – Harnessing the world’s wealth (Berkeley Street – Indoor)
147 – Rebirth (Berkeley Square – Outdoor)
148 – My Baku (Berkeley Square – Outdoor)
149 – New Day (Berkeley Square – Outdoor)
150 – Baku Fairy tale (Berkeley Square – Outdoor)
151 – Life is Beautiful (Berkeley Square – Indoor)
161 – Egg Voila (Berkeley Street – Indoor)
163 – Phoenix Egg (Lancashire Court – Outdoor)
166 – All the King’s Horses (Crafton Street – Outdoor)
172 – Nymphéas (Mount Street – Indoor)
175 – Purpura Vallis Egg (Davies Street – Outdoor)
176 – Golden Egg of Life (St George Street – Indoor)
177 – Ambush (Conduit Street – Outdoor)
185 – The Prince (Conduit Street – Outdoor)
194 – Mayoral Egg (Bruton Street – Outdoor)
196 – ON / OEUF (Mount Street – Outdoor)
197 – A Cruel Spring (Brook Street – Indoor)
207 – Egg & Soldiers (New Bond Street – Indoor)

Zone 3 (complete)
2 – Birth of Lilith (Sloane Square – Indoor)
8 – Pandora (Duke of York Square – Outdoor)
28 – Seraphina (Sloane Square – Outdoor)
34 – Caeruleus & The Good Egg (Lowndes Street – Indoor)
35 – Extraordinary Rubbish (Sloane Square – Indoor)
47 – Peacock in his Pride (Sloane Square – Outdoor)
50 – Time to Bloom (Duke of York Square – Outdoor)
73 – Charm (Pavillion Road – Outdoor)
74 – Rooster Weather Vane (Brompton Road – Outdoor)
76 – Colourful World (Cliveden Place – Outdoor)
79 – Boo (Sloane Square – Indoor)
88 – Dichotomy (Hans Cresent – Outdoor)
137 – Polar Bear Ballet (Brompton Road – Outdoor)
138 – OVO (Sloane Square – Indoor)
139 – The Egg Projection (Sloane Street – Indoor)
154 – Inception (Hyde Park – Indoor)
181 – The First Spring in Eden (Cadogan Place – Outdoor)
182 – The Prep Egg (Brompton Road – Indoor)
188 – Union Jack (Duke of York Square – Outdoor)
201 – Benedicte (Brompton Road – Outdoor)

Zone 4 (complete)
11 – La Vie en Rose (Green Park – Outdoor)
37 – Conchiglia (Green Park – Outdoor)
61 – Conundrum (Green Park – Outdoor)
87 – Gothegg (Green Park – Outdoor)
190 – ovum ferrugu (Green Park – Outdoor)
191 – Baaaaa-bara (Green Park – Outdoor)

Zone 5 (complete)
15 – Osprey (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
16 – Song Thrush (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
31 – Spring (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
32 – Our Brood (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
43 – Pretty Polly (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
71 – Crochetdermy Fox (St James’s Park – Indoor)
82 – Rainforest (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
103 – Humpty Dumpty (St James’s Park – Outdoor)
159 – The Power of Plants (St James’s Park – Outdoor)

Zone 6
14 – Ascension (Burlington Arcade – Indoor)
57 – Untitled (Burlington Arcade – Indoor)
59 – The Golden Egg (The Ritz – Outdoor)
70 – Cocoon (Jermyn Street – Outdoor)
94 – Work No. 2620 (Burlington Arcade – Indoor)
95 – Fantastic Peter Faun (Hatchards – Indoor)
100 – Don’t Break the Egg (Jermyn Street – Outdoor)
121 – Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Fortnum & Mason – Indoor)
122 – Great Eggspectations (Piccadilly – Outdoor)
127 – The Golden Speckled Egg (Fortnum & Mason – Indoor)
142 – Basileus (Burlington Arcade – Indoor)
198 – The Przewalski Horse Egg (Piccadilly Arcade – Indoor)
200 – All that Glisters (Not in my best interest) (Piccadilly Arcade – Indoor)
202 – The Gentleman’s Egg Trunk (Jermyn Street – Indoor)
208 – Emelius (Burlington Arcade – Indoor)

Zone 7 (complete)
5 – Around the world before bedtime… (Trafalgar Square – Outdoor)
40 – RGB+S (St Martins Lane Hotel – Outdoor)
54 – Ouroboros (Cecil Court – Outdoor)
77 – Blackberry Moon (Charing Cross Road – Outdoor)
83 – Egg Race (Chandos Place – Outdoor)
114 – Egg Hog (Charing Cross Road – Outdoor)
124 – Cuckoo (Pall Mall East – Outdoor)
128 – Our Team (Pall Mall East – Outdoor)
135 – Tree of Life (New Row – Indoor)
152 – The Obsidian Egg (Irving St – Outdoor)
167 – White on Black: Sensuality & Restraint (Trafalgar Square – Outdoor)
199 – The Legacy Egg (Strand – Outdoor)

Zone 8 (complete)
6 – S T U D (Carnaby Street – Outdoor)
48 – When I Grow Up (Tenison Court – Outdoor)
101 – My Nameless Egg (Kingly Court – Outdoor)
105 – Rock the Casbah (Fouberts Place – Outdoor)
107 – It’s What’s Inside That Counts (Great Marlborough Street – Outdoor)
113 – Sad Happy Frog Egg (Broadwick Street – Outdoor)
118 – Eddie the Egg (Hamleys – Indoor)
155 – Precious Pussies (Liberty – Indoor)
164 – MIRAI (Newburgh Street – Outdoor)
169 – Egg Letter Box (Carnaby Street – Outdoor)
171 – Embryonic Manufacture (Carnaby Street – Outdoor)
173 – Untitled (Liberty – Indoor)
179 – My Generation (Marshall Street – Outdoor)

Zone 9 (complete)
10 – wOL (King Street – Outdoor)
13 – Kingdom Crossing (James Street – Outdoor)
19 – Ornament and Abstraction Mask (Piazza – Indoor)
21 – Dinosaurs (Piazza – Outdoor)
36 – Hiranya Garbha – The Golden Egg (Piazza – Outdoor)
72 – All That Glitters (St Martins Courtyard – Outdoor)
84 – MOONBOW (Langley Court – Outdoor)
91 – On Egg Shell (Russell Street – Indoor)
92 – Gregg (Piazza – Indoor)
96 – Street Homage to Fabergé (Piazza – Indoor)
109 – Mr Egg (St Pauls Church – Outdoor)
119 – OOOOF (Piazza – Outdoor)
123 – Busby (Seven Dials – Outdoor)
134 – Sao Paulo Skyline (Long Acre – Indoor)
153 – The Early Worm Catches the Moment (Neils Yard – Outdoor)
158 – Egg and Soldier (Seven Dials – Outdoor)
165 – Baby Ganesha’s Nest (Shelton Street – Outdoor)
170 – Blooming of the Lotus Dragon Egg (Great Queen Street – Indoor)
174 – Hope (Great Queen Street – Indoor)
183 – Seasons Change (St Martins Court – Outdoor)
184 – One Eye Wide Shut (Piazza – Indoor)
192 – Pop (Piazza – Indoor)
193 – Chicken or Egg? (Piazza – Outdoor)
206 – The Mighty Moshi Egg (St James Street – Indoor)

Zone 10 (complete)
17 – The Great Eggscape (Riverside Walk – Outdoor)
25 – Amplified (National Theatre – Indoor)
26 – Sarah (Hayward Gallery – Outdoor)
27 – Samara (National Theatre – Outdoor)
42 – Invisible Egg (BFI – Indoor)
52 – Eneggmatic Egg (Southbank Centre – Outdoor)
75 – Untitled (BFI – Indoor)
81 – Scrambled Egg City (Southbank Centre – Outdoor)
102 – Dreamweaver (Southbank Centre – Outdoor)
130 – Eggsquisit London (Southbank Centre – Outdoor)
132 – Unknown (Skate Park – Outdoor)
140 – Regency Egg (Riverside Walkway – Outdoor)
143 – Hypno Egg (BFI – Indoor)
180 – Racing Green (Southbank Centre – Outdoor)
187 – KOJAK (Queen Elizabeth Hall – Outdoor)
189 – The Arden Egg (National Theatre – Indoor)

Zone 11 (complete)
12 – Citadel (Lime Street – Outdoor)
18 – Chicken Crowd (Monument – Outdoor)
22 – Anima Mundi – ‘Awakening the… (Royal Exchange – Outdoor)
46 – The Geocentric Model (Devonshire Square – Indoor)
49 – Birdie (Saint Mary’s Axe – Outdoor)
53 – Blooming Azure (Bishopsgate – Outdoor)
55 – Metropolis (Old Broad Street – Indoor)
60 – The Embryo of Human Greed (Old Broad Street – Indoor)
66 – Zero is… (Leadenhall Market – Outdoor)
68 – From little acorns mighty oaks do grow (Liverpool Street – Outdoor)
78 – Egg Cup (Liverpool Street Station – Outdoor)
108 – Phoenix (Old Broad Street – Outdoor)
112 – Bee-Egg (Devonshire Square – Outdoor)
117 – Rara Avis (Cornhill – Outdoor)
125 – Olympia Parc (Fen Court – Outdoor)
131 – The Vessel (Finsbury Avenue Square – Outdoor)
157 – Egglantine (Leadenhall Market – Indoor)
160 – Leap (Broadgate Circle – Outdoor)
178 – L’ŒUF (Bishopsgate – Outdoor)
186 – Chicken (Devonshire Square – Indoor)
204 – Chocolate Egg (Royal Exchange – Indoor)
210 – Panda – The BlackRock Asian Egg (BlackRock, Throgmorton Avenue)

Zone 12 (complete)
4 – The Golden Cosmic Egg (Cabot Square – Outdoor)
56 – Dracossoma Umbrostigma (Jubilee Place – Indoor)
69 – Love (The Park Pavillion – Outdoor)
86 – The Eight (Reuters Place – Outdoor)
116 – Algorithm (Canada Place – Indoor)
133 – It is but it isn’t (Jubilee Park – Outdoor)
156 – Phoenix (Bank Street – Outdoor)
168 – Origin (One Canada Street – Indoor)
203 – The Ridley Scott Egg (Montgomery Square – Outdoor)
205 – The Anatomy of a Building (Canada Place – Indoor)
209 – Rose Violet (Cabot Place – Indoor)

Download your own checklist in Excel format: The Big Egg Hunt
If you have a smart phone and a little know how, I suggest you upload your excel sheet to Google Docs. Then you can view and edit the sheet out in the field updating your data in real time.

Please note I take no responsibility for the download, though it’s a simple spreadsheet you are downloading and using this at your own risk. Please also note that this webpage is updated more frequently than the spreadsheet, so if I know eggs are moving, I’ll update this page.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Let the hunt begin…

February 16, 2012 2 Comments

A few years ago we had the Elephant Parade, and later this year we have the BT Artbox project, however it appears there is something else which should satisfy those with a need to hit the streets of London and take photographs of random things, especially if you’re a little bit of an obsessive compulsive like myself and wish to make sure you get all of them.

The Big Egg Hunt is set to take over from where those elephants left off, and will no doubt see several of us walk for miles on end once more to find where these varied art pieces are stored.

I hope the organisers and sponsors learnt a little something form the previous public exhibit. That is, to stop continuously moving things around, to find locations that are accessible for most times of the day and night, and especially for the sponsors to realise that hosting one of these eggs will increase the number of people from the public who will want to access your premises, and those people do want to take a photograph of it without having to be behind a window to do so.

Details are a little sketchy at the moment, other than there will be 200+ of the eggs scattered around London and it’s a world record attempt.

Articles dating back to last November indicate that those wishing to take part may need to pay a small entrance fee, and it’s also suggested that this hunt may have a little more mental power required than those elephants as there may be clues to solve to find some.

I look forward to finding out at the start of next week what the deal is, and then in getting out there and taking shots of them.

If it does turn out to be like the elephant parade, then check back for the obligatory map and continuous photographic updates that will likely be found here – unless the organisers have indeed learnt a lot from those elephants and have an adequate public tracking system in place.

Let the hunt begin…

Further details
The Big Egg Hunt – website | Twitter | Facebook
Starts on 21st February 2012 and lasts for 40 days

ETA
Tentative Dates:
Monday 20th February – eggs are installed around London
Tuesday 21st February – launch event, plus eggs are on the streets
Tuesday 20th March – egg auction – though this seems a little premature
Friday 6th – Sunday 8th April – All 200 eggs get together, somewhere
Sunday 8th April – The hunt is over, and a winner is going to be announced.

Also, I’ve now seen images of several eggs, and know a location of a few of them. I must say some of the designs are looking awesome!

AETA:
Each egg will have a unique code associated to it, and this code can be texted to a special number. Texts will cost £3 for the first egg, and 25p per additional egg texted from the same number. If there are 201 eggs, and there are very likely to be more, then that’ll cost you a whopping £53 to play along.

Yes, it’s for charity, but surely an ‘entry fee’ of £25 would be more appealing to people who intend to do the whole thing?

My weekend

August 22, 2011 7 Comments

This post is part of a photocontest held by Brian Matiash over on Google+ – all images were taken over this weekend just gone.

This weekend was supposed to be a relaxed one, a nice trip to the coast, a BBQ with a few beers, a nice walk down the beach and a little ramble over the cliffs – relaxing right? Well…not quite.

Friday I left work early, jumped on a train and headed to the coast. The BBQ started not long afterwards, and that went well. The alcohol was flowing, the beer and food was pretty darn good, and the night was clear of clouds and full of stars.

Wait a minute…I’m from London! I never see stars! All I ever see is the orange glow of the city…I need to get me some of that captured in a photo.

Fellow partygoers don’t see this as the same opportunity as I do…
“It’s too late…”
Photography knows not what time it is!
“It’s too cold…”
I have a warm heart…and a hoodie!
“It’s too dark…”
I have a torch…oooh, shiny.
“You’re drunk….”
No…you’re a skunk! Wait…what?

I won the arguments and headed off up a very steep hill to a nearby church. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at ‘star trails’. I had seen awesome ones recently, most notaby from Jacob Lucas and thought I would easily get this on such a clear night.

Alas…not.

I composed in the dark and took a few failed shots, but then I had the brilliant idea of bumping up the ISO and shooting for a just a few minutes in one shot so that I could see if I was indeed composed and if the stars were indeed moving at all.

Then I went for an 8 minute exposure.

Dum dee dum…wait a bit…a bit more…done. Hmm…a bit dark, and not much movement…but I see the potential. Let’s stick it on for 30 minutes.

And so I wait a bit more. I get bored. I take a seat on a nearby mound. A few minute later I lean against a wall…well, not a wall…what is it. I use my phone to light it up and realise that it’s a gravestone…of course – the church has it’s own graveyard. So…um…this mound of soil I’m sat on? Yeah…that’s a freshly laid grave. Sorry to whoever it was that I sat on.

Hmm…only 9 minutes gone? Well…this will be a doozy by the time it’s done.

Eons pass…and I get my shot…and…and…well, it’s a little too cold and it seems that the camera was fogged up – plus there are stuck pixels everyewhere.

Here are my attempts:

Attempt 1 – a bit dark:

Attempt 2 – yeah…no shades required just yet:

Attempt 3 – 6400 ISO…at least I can check the composition now:

Attempt 4 – 8 minute exposure, not long enough yet but getting excited!

Attempt 5 – welcome to stuckpixelville – it’s a little cold here also:

Darn.

It’s now past 1am, time to get a taxi back to the hotel.

Sleep.

The next day I get up around 4.30 and head down the beach for the sunrise. It’s not the most special one, but as it’s very rare that I actually see a sunrise it’s still nice enough for me. I expected to be alone, so though it was nice to meet another photographer I kindof wish I had showered or something before rushing out of the hotel.

The birds timed it perfectly to get in my way…

Here’s a few of them enjoying the leftovers from the night before:

Finally, a decent shot:

ooh, and the pier all golden like…

A few hours later and I head back to the hotel for a few more hours sleep.

Later that morning and I’m going around the hotel knocking on the doors and ringing the phones of 6 other people in my party trying to get them up and checked out of the hotel. Late night shooting of stars, even though unsuccessful, seemed to be the sensible idea as they had all gone clubbing and were feeling very much worse for wear this morning. They all opted to jump on the first train home to London instead of go on the planned walk over the cliffs…but not I. I am fearless, and intrepid…and so I opt to do the walk myself.

A few years ago I did the same walk, but didn’t have suncream on me so was severely sunburnt. You may imagine a comedy red face and the cries of ‘lobster boy’ as I walked down the street, but in reality it was much worse. I was so burnt my face was covered in burn blisters. Well, except for the white stripes and eye patches that my shades had concealed. I spent a week speaking to no-one. I went to work, and straight home – head down, face covered by a baseball cap, using self service checkouts so I didn’t need to speak with someone and applying a burn cream facemask each night – for a whole week. Anyway…I digress. This time I was not going to be as foolish. This old dog learns from his mistakes. I bought a bottle of suncream lotion, applied a lot of it, and made my way over the cliffs.

Gosh I’m unfit.

A three and a half hour trip over these cliffs and I’m having a great time and taking plenty of photos. Unfortunately I’m also panting heavily, and sweating buckets. I fear the suncream may be washed off and the dreaded burning will come back to haunt me.

I’ve gained a bit more courage over the past few years. What I haven’t gained in courage I’ve gained in stupidity. Standing on the edges of buildings and climbing cranes on various urbex trips has seen to that. In short I was like a mountain goat and happily standing on the precarious edges of the cliff trying to get a few decent shots off. These cliffs are the number 3 suicide hotspot in the world…though I wonder how many of those are actually just idiots like me trying to get a better view of the place.

I have no fear…this is as far away as I could get from the camera due to the drop behind me:

This man has fear…he is miles away from the edge!

This lady has no fear…she laughs in it’s face and says ‘I’m going to have a nap now’…

(note: I should have asked her for a date but the aforementioned sweat and panting meant I shouldn’t approach women…especially those at the edge of a cliff)
(also note to self; if I ever do meet someone in a similar location, remember to pretend your name is Cliff…oh how she will laugh at such a funny joke)

Anyway, a looong trek later and I arrive alive and well at a friends cottage…though the man from the deli who had seen me arrive later enquired with concern as to the health of the hot and melty looking chap with the camera.

A cold drink and a cold shower later and my core body temperature was reduced to molten – all was good.

Before long I was back on the train to London, and cancelling my plans for that night so that I could crash (and also because a new series of The X-Factor was starting).

The next day I lounged around with a well deserved rest before heading out for the photowalk I had missed the night before. We had plans to get a few shots, eat something and then shoot the sunset. Unfortunately we also went to a bar and the food took about an hour to arrive; we stepped outside to find that the sun had already set and we had missed what I’m sure was an epic sunset. Someone had tweeted about how amazing it was, so I know it was a good one. All I got was this really bad image from inside the pub while I was bored waiting:

I then did a little bit of planking and a few other shots which turned out alright.

My final shot of the night was my creative one. As we walked down the south bank I saw a huge set of furniture sitting there, it was pretty odd, but I used it as a perfect photo opportunity and as a way to do something a little creative:


(note – this image would have been much easier to do with Perfect Layers by OnOneSoftware!)

Hope everyone else had a great weekend.

London Looters

August 9, 2011 Leave a Comment

There’s a lot going on in London right now, and a lot of people rightly want to try and identify those who are looting, lighting fires, vandalising things and essentially terrorising people on the streets.

I agree, I would like to identify them also and hope that once all of this has died down and come under control – which it will – then they will be held accountable. I know not all of them will be, and there are idiot looters sitting at home with shiny new toys which the majority of people have accepted we need to work hard to purchase – hopefully karma will see them off.

I must make a plea, however, that not everything you see on social media sites is as it appears to be on the face of it. Sure, people are using Twitter and Facebook to co-ordinate things and plan attacks, and hopefully the tracing of these now and further down the line will bring the individuals to justice; but trying to identify those in the images may not always be a correct thing to do and could cause a lynch mob to turn up at the wrong door.

For my avatars on websites and on the social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ I use an image of a lion. Please be assured that I’m not a lion…and certainly not a cartoon one at that.

The example I will use is the case of Twitter user @itsBARBZbabes who tweeted that they had spoils from looting and exploded on the Twittersphere with people feeling this person should be held accountable (their Twitter page is now gone). I agree that the person should be held accountable if indeed they have done wrong and aren’t just a muppet who thinks it will be funny to write such stuff.

The avatar for this person, and therefore the ‘can you identify who this looter is?’ plea that is out there, is this:

The question I ask is, would finding the person in this image really tell you who the Tweeter was? There is no way to know if the person in this image is the one who is sitting at the PC posting under this account, I could easily have the same image as my avatar.

A quick search on the internet results in this photo being found:

Oh good – it’s this person with their boyfriend/brother (possibly both) in it – that would surely mean we’re twice as likely to find out who this criminal is now, as we can also just identify him!

Not the case.

The urban dictionary has an entry on Chavs and image 20 in the slideshow is this same image.

The World Hates Chavs has an article featuring the same image.

The Chav-English Translation Dictionary facebook page also features the same image.

TheRegister ran the image back in 2004.

There are 9 pages of Google image results that show this image in use.

So, what are the chances of this random Twitter user being that very girl who is in the image which is so closely related to chavs? It’s more likely that the person behind that account simply wanted to find an appropriate image to use for their Twitter, Googled for ‘chav’ and found that image to use.

Identifying the person behind this image and lynching them may take one chav off our streets, but it’s not going to help us in finding out who the looter is.

Your time and energy is better spent looking through the sites that are posting images of criminals who are out on the street trashing places, setting fire to everything and stealing things under ccTV and the media spotlights. Check out these sites to see if you can help:

http://www.londonrioters.co.uk/
http://catchalooter.tumblr.com/

Stay safe all!

Start Your Engines

March 25, 2011 Leave a Comment

It’s that time of year (well, after a couple of delays) when the F1 season rolls around and consumes the television every 2 weeks or so at various times of the day.

Nothing really ground breaking in the rule changes for this season, but it’s good to see a reintroduction of the KERS, and a statement saying team orders are allowed again this year. A whole list of the changes can be viewed here: F1 2011 Rule Changes

As usual there will be a predictions league run over on murphyzForum, and this also has a new addition.

Same as in previous year, you need to predict the top 10 drivers of each race along with who will perform the fastest lap and how many drivers will retire. For an added few bonus points you now get to predict how many times the safety car will be deployed in a particular race – it’ll be a brave person who puts this at more than 2!

A perfect score per race would be 48 points, but it’s unlikely anyone will reach that golden number.

Also new to this season will be prizes for the 3 forum members at the top of the prediction league at the end of the season. As of writing this, the prizes are still to be announced, but if I fail to find any suitable Formula 1 related goodies that would be suitable for anyone who is to win, I may just provide an Amazon/iTunes voucher alternative. Should I happen to win the funds will go to a charity of my choice.

Good luck to all who enter, and welcome to any new people who are joining us this year. I hope it’s a good season.

Head on over to the forum now to make your predictions.

Desolate London

December 27, 2010 10 Comments

It’s Christmas morning, my alarm goes off at 6.30am and I give the little groan that one does when it’s still dark outside when you wake up, and a slight chill in the air makes you want to keep all limbs securely wrapped in the duvet. I rarely wake up at this time, unless I have somewhere I need to go. Even on work days I would be laying in bed for a good while longer before I even think about getting up.

Today’s different though. Across the nation other people are waking up at this time also, if not earlier. It’s Christmas, children wake their parents with excitement and a wish to rip open their gifts as quickly as possible. Loved ones get up and bring back coffee to lie in bed with, handing their partners a cup, a kiss and a present as they share this magical time together.

Ignoring the urge to simply turn over and drift back to sleep I decide I do wish to get up at stupid o’clock today afterall. I sit up in bed and look around the dimly lit room. To view my flat you wouldn’t know it’s Christmas day, let alone a festive season. No tree in the corner with shiny decorations, no cards propped up from friends and loved ones, no gifts piled high. A sock does lie at the end of my bed but that’s due to the laziness I showed when going to sleep last night rather than the generosity of a fictional fat guy.

There is a bag on the floor in front of the bookcase; a bulky, heavy looking thing that contains many wonderful items. That’s the reason I’m getting up at this time. I had packed it the night before with everything I may need for today; camera, four lenses, shutter release cable, camera cleaning kit, spare batteries and memory cards, 2 pairs of gloves (one for warmth, one for grip should I get to do any climbing), a torch, binoculars, first aid kit and a face mask should I be anywhere a little too dusty for regular breathing. A tripod is strapped to the outside of the bag as if everything inside wasn’t heavy enough….I know why Santa chooses to use a sleigh.

I pull myself out of bed, stick the kettle on and jump into the shower.

45 minutes later I’m ready to leave the house; email and websites are checked and dealt with, and I have a long day ahead of me. I set off for Oxford Street where the first part of my day is about to begin – photographing London when most people are at home with their loved ones.

Over the past few years I’ve seen the results of other people doing this at Christmas, and I’ve quite liked what I’ve seen. I knew that ianvisits, a great resource for anyone living in or visiting London, was going to go around doing this for a second year and his shots were some of the better ones out there as he seemed to care about getting a shot completely empty, whereas others didn’t mind having one or two people in them. I don’t think I had seen any done in HDR, however, and wanted to go ahead and do that this year.

The walk to Oxford Street was busier than expected. Plenty of cars on the road, a few people cleaning streets, a few people in shops preparing for the day ahead, and several homeless people around – a couple knocking on the closed doors of Pret shouting for soup. Sunrise was at 8.05, and I arrived at Oxford Circus at around 7.45, set up and ready to shoot.

I would normally use three brackets when shooting HDR, but as I stood on the pedestrian crossing I realised that this just might not be possible today if I wished to cover the route I had planned out as it was simply much busier than I had anticipated. I therefore stuck to just one exposure at this time, and would change the exposures of the RAW files at home at the time of processing.

As 8am arrived I waited for a break in the traffic and started shooting.

Oxford Circus

It took all of 15 minutes for me to bump into another photographer; as I rounded a corner onto Carnaby street I walked straight into the path of a woman taking a photo. Apologising and wishing her a Merry Christmas I set up beside her so we could both continue in our quest to shoot the streets uninterrupted.

Carnaby Street

Taxi

Regent Street

45 minutes after starting I was at Piccadilly Circus. A photographer friend who I was meeting later this morning and who was meant to be doing the same thing as I was called me to say he had just left home (I guess he chose to turn over and go back to sleep when his alarm went off that morning) and he would call me once he had done Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.

I was also approached here by two posh boys in military gear asking for me to take a photo of them on their iPhones, so of course did so.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

Leicester Square was unfortunately surround in hoarding so a decent shot there was not possible. I headed down to Trafalgar Square where I imagined a lot of photographers would be; it turned out to be okay:

Trafalgar Square

Angel Nelson

The National Gallery

From Trafalgar Square I walked down Whitehall and over to Westminster Bridge for the iconic shot of Clock Tower. By this time it was 9.30am and there were quite a few tourists around plus short bursts of traffic coming over the bridge. I nipped in and out of the road avoiding the traffic, and decided to set these ones up as multiple exposures as this really was one of the shots I wanted to get today. After a few attempts I managed to get one that turned out okay and with no interruptions from people or vehicles:

Desolate London

Onwards down the Southbank:

London Eye

Southbank

Southbank

Hungerford Bridge

At this stage I was getting hungry so I had a quick call with my friend to meet in Covent Garden by 10.30 and headed up there:

Covent Garden

Rudolph

Long Acre

This last one was taken just besides my office so we headed in there for coffee and croissants.

View the full set of my ‘Desolate London‘ images.

The day didn’t end there of course – I would be out walking the streets of London for another 12 hours after this, using my 50mm prime lens for some handheld shots, and attempting to get into a few UrbEx locations – one of which was completely locked up, the other which was just a little too heavily secured. I’ll report on these another time, and possibly in another blog.

Eel Pie Island

August 22, 2010 6 Comments

Yesterday I was down in the Twickenham area so I made a short visit to Eel Pie Island.

Fifty years ago the island was famous as a thriving venue for blues and jazz bands but in the past ten years the only thing that seems to have happened was an invasion attempt by Danny Wallace. Nowadays it’s a combination of secretive dwellings holding around 150 residents, odd studios, Twickenham rowing club and some docks – but all with a creepy and sinister undertone.

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island - click to view larger

Not having possession of a boat, my access to the island was via a footbridge (#1 on the island image above). I was met with a sign saying “Private Island’ and subtext stating there was no thoroughfare to the river, and that I wasn’t allowed to cycle (2). Now a big sign saying ‘private’ is generally an indicator to keep out; however this sign didn’t actually tell me I wasn’t allowed to be there so with a little uncertainty I continued. The path I was on wound itself around to the left and there were tall bushes and trees on my right with closed gates leading off to various houses. On my left were a few more buildings in a row, some of them shops (I think) – perhaps all of them, I wasn’t too sure. Everything was closed though, or appeared to be at the least.

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

This path followed on for a little bit before I arrived at a large structure for Eel Pie Island Slipways Limited. This is where the path ended, though within the blue painted steel walls was a blue door (3). I tried it and it was open, swinging heavily on its hinges. I stepped inside and, once my eyes had adjusted to the sudden darkness, found I was in a basic shed type structure, along with a huge boat.

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

I quickly passed through this to the sunlight I could see on the other side and found myself at the start of another thin path winding through shacks and looking a little bit like I was in a junk yard. An old guy was sat on a piece of wood with his back to me. He wore a black suit and a black hat, his left hand was on a black cane and the only indication that he was alive seemed to be the cigarette he was smoking.

Inhale.

Exhale smoke.

Inhale.

Exhale smoke.

No other movements.

Inhale.

Exhale smoke.

I started off, curiously walking down the path and winding my way through the shacks until I found myself at a little clearing where the buildings ended and the trees started. There were some chairs placed around an old drum fire, odd trinkets, lots of metal and lots of pieces of boats. There were also a lot of mirrors. It was all a bit strange (4).

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

Eel Pie Island

I was feeling a little spooked also. I wasn’t sure if this was an area I was meant to be in. Sure, there were studios here and the signs said they were open, but the place appeared abandoned. Not only that, it appeared like it was suddenly abandoned. That whoever had been here had left in a hurry. With all the mirrors and dirty windows I also had that unsettling feeling like you’re being watched, which wasn’t helped by the whistling of leaves in the trees or the flaps of canvas on nearby boats as the wind caught them.

As I was taking a few more photos I suddenly heard someone speaking, a man’s voice – deep and throaty. I froze attempting to determine the direction it was coming from; the path I had just come up it turns out. I peeked around the corner of the building I was at but couldn’t see anything; I couldn’t here anything either.

I wanted to hide. I don’t know why, as I was doing nothing wrong. I had the feeling as if I were an eight year old and was somewhere I shouldn’t be so my natural instinct was to hide away until I could find a safe exit. So I retreated a little, back towards the gathering where the drum fire was.

I saw him then, in front of me. Only he couldn’t have been in front of me, of course, as the voices had been from the path behind me. I froze again, staring at him. He hadn’t seen me, I was looking at his back. I was also looking in one of the many mirrors that were there, which is why he had appeared to be in front of me.

He turned and disappeared out of view.

‘This is silly’ I thought to myself. ‘I’m a grown man and here I am hiding from another person when I have done nothing wrong and he’s probably a lovely old fisherman. I bet, if I were to go and say hello to him he would offer me a cup of coffee from a flask and perhaps give me a Werther’s Original.’

And so I took a breath, stepped out onto the path and went to face the stranger and claim my piece of toffee.

He wasn’t to be seen though. I’m not sure where he had gone to.

I didn’t wait to find out either, and quickly retraced my way back where I had been.

The old guy was no longer sat on the piece of wood – which pleased me.

The blue door was still slightly ajar which was how I had left it and also comforting.

The footbridge was still there, though in my mind I was expecting it to have disappeared for some reason.

Danny Wallace, Eel Pie Island is all yours mate; I don’t want it.

Eel Pie Island