Saturday, 27 August 2011

limited blogging

Hello everybody!

A couple of quick lines as I listen to a webinar whilst sorting out my paperwork and accounts on a long bank holiday weekend when most people are enjoying a break ;).  First of all a word to the budding photographers... if you want to go into photography because you love photography forget it!  Being a photographer is a business, you are a businessman/woman all of the time, and a photographer only a little of the time.  If you have no idea of how to deal with people or don't have any business skills, or need your other half to do your accounts, then think again, this may not be for you!  

The other thing I wanted to say today is that I'm aware I'm not blogging enough.  I just don't have the time to do all I'd like to do unfortunately and I often tend to fall asleep at the pc at the end of the day, which is my best time for writing.  That's not good for my google rankings, I know but then...  I noticed there are a few people who are following what I post to the n'th degree. One in particular has been sort of doing the same sort of stuff as me, in a similar way, to the point of also copying my BNI strap line (not sure how that happened!).  I'm sorry I actually got to know, as I'm a firm believer of 'ignorance is bliss', but I stooopidly followed a link from one of my facebook friends.... sigh!!  

So I've been holding back on blog posting, no more blaming lack of time and energy, the brakes are on! because I want to have my own personal space in this very competitive world for a little while.   I'm doing this just for some breathing space, because the ideas I have are not exclusive, and I've probably picked bits and pieces up from other places, just that it's very irritating to find the kid next door doing the same!

I've always been a leader not a follower.  I gain inspiration from stuff that is very remote from what I live and breathe every day.  When in Malta, I used to look to the UK, now I'm here I look to other places, people and situations.  I am sort of pleased to be plagiarised and get lots of hits from colleges and uni's where people analyse my work to bits but please, for your sake, be ORIGINAL, it's more fun and pays more :)

If you are a client and want to see more of my portfolio, get in touch, we can meet and I can show you stuff I've not published, over a nice cup of coffee or two :)

Peace out for now, will blog tomorrow! xxx

Friday, 19 August 2011

Full post Queenie's shoot

You may remember some weeks ago I posted a preview photo and short blog post from a fanastic shoot I had with Rachel Duffield who turns back the time in her role as Queenie.  Rachel is the only freelance Queen Elizabeth I in Norfolk, and she skillfully puts herself in the role of Bess using two magnificent costumes which portray the younger Queen and later at the time of the Victory over the Spanish Armada.

It's about time I posted a set of photos from this shoot isn't it? :)

I started photographing Rachel as she prepared her make up - moving on to adding on items to her attire as was custom in that period, to complete the look.


Luckily Rachel does not have to smear her face with potentially dangerous make up containing Lead like Queen Bess did!  Thank God for modern make up! :)






This coming shot is my very favourite from the whole shoot, very moody and totally in line with Elizabeth's character.  Rachel is such a great impersonator!



The photo below is another of my favourites, and, unlike the earlier one, very soft, mellow and peaceful....



I look forward to Rachel adding these images to her website and her marketing portfolio, I hope she is as pleased as I am with them! :)

Have a great weekend! x

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

a memorable anniversary

A quick blog post today... writing this as we travel from London Liverpool Street to Norwich on the train after a lovely couple of days in Brighton.  I've thoroughly enjoyed our little break on the South Coast and will blog about this once I've post processed the best photos I've taken.

Well it's Matt's 16th birthday tomorrow, an important date in itself, characterized by much cake eating and picture taking, but it's an even more important anniversary today for both of us.

On the 10th of August, 5 years ago, we won a long and extremely difficult court case to allow me to take Matt away with me to start a new life in the UK.  This is something that is not normally allowed back home.  I had to fight for custody for Matt a second time, and Matt had to face a battery of psychological and psychometric testing to allow the judge to decide he was mature enough to speak for himself in front of the court.  This of course did not occur in a normal court sitting, but privately, but was still a major test of courage and determination on Matt's part, something that he could have so easily not been up to.

I have many thanks to give, the people who supported me in all this I continue to be grateful to, particularly to my family who saw me go through a very hard time previous and during the court case.  The lawyer who saw me through this also gets my eternal gratitude, particularly as I had been to other six before this, some took my money and promised me they'd get me to the end of the case, when they had no understanding of my position nor the knowlegde and preseverance needed to get there.  Others were concerned about the possibility of receiving threats and quickly dismssed me.  Others were not bothered to tell me what they thought of me, decided they knew all there was to know and passed judgement on me, telling me they weren't interested in taking up my case.  

5 years down the line, I am happy to report all is well in our little world.  Matt has grown into a handsome young man I am really proud of, and I have adjusted well to the demands that have been placed on me as a sole breadwinner of a small family two (plus our much loved Robster).

Just a few iPhone photos from me today, just because I'm on the train and blogging on the go, and also because these are photos of my dear son, who needs no post processing or image adjustment to look good in my eyes.

To Matt with Love, Mum xxx




Saturday, 6 August 2011

should you take product reviews or advice on the web seriously?

You hear of a new product, service or deal... what do you do?  what millions of us do every day of course... type that into Google and see what comes up. Lists upon lists of mentions of what you're looking for.  We build an instant impression of what to expect.  Things don't look good if negative reviews fill the first page, and we abandon the search.  We move onto page two if the reviews look good.  We may be tempted to ask on forums or within our friends list on facebook.  We believe what our friends say, maybe because they've purchased the product themselves or because we think they have superior knowledge about a subject matter.

If you think about this carefully though....
is this advice really objective,
is there a vested interest in the subject matter?
is the person offering an advice or review really knowledgeable, and more importantly,
has the product or service been tested in different applications?

In the photography world there are too many people who buy kit blindly, not sure of the specs  and the applications of the product, it's strengths or limitations.  They believe money buys the best and will often buy kit because it looks nice or because this or that photographer uses them.  They often have now idea that their scant technical prowess means they will using 25 percent of what the kit can do when pushed hard.

You may know that motorsport is a big passion and continued interest of mine.  I have hillclimbed, sprinted, drag-raced and street raced (not in the UK roads though!!!).  I have spent a good number of years in garages, doing elementary engine cleaning, maintenance and other odd jobs whilst family members would be prepping the more complex mechanical, tuning and performance bits of the car.  In the search for performance and elusive top positions i have scoured the web for information, joined forums (that's where my twitter/facebook handle se7enmad comes from) and emailed and phoned  specialists with highly technical queries.

I did that at the time from my native Malta.  We sort of had an inferiority complex back there, where we believed that because we were limited in scope and availability of products, that asking people in other countries, would open us to a wealth of knowledge that we never had.  And indeed that was true!  When you contact a real specialist with enormous mileage in terms of experience that is what you get.  Precious advice worth a pot of gold.  However not everyone is a specialist, there are lots of people who have created an alter ego who is special and knowledgeable, and the web they spin is a trap for newbies and those who don't have a lot of insight into the real world....

I first became aware of this a good number of years back, when I was looking in to buying some performance tyres for my Caterham Seven.  I would have bought slicks if I wasn't using the car on the road, but I wanted to take my son out for spins in the car, and not just enjoy the car on my own.  I put a posting up onto a forum I was a member on and people kept recommending Avon ACB10's to me.  I bit the bullet and bought a set of four locally, at tremendous cost (due to the tax/import licences back home).  I kept the tyres on for a couple of years, regretfully because they were just d*** awful for my application and because I could not find anybody to resell them on to there.  They are fantastic tyres in their own right but they failed for me because:

1.  I did not have the power in the car to make the compound work as it should
2. the tread pattern did not suit the rubbish tarmac we had back home
3.  the compound was too hard, I had to do long burnouts before getting any meaningful heat in the tyres and I could not use 'tyre grip' otherwise my tyre life would have gone out of the window

This was a classic example of good product/ bad advice/ application which cost me lots of ££ or in that case Lm!  

This week I had the opportunity to shop for a new set of tyres (again!).  Looking at a set of new rears for my Renaultsport Megane Cup I came across what people dismiss for a budget tyre.  I purchased a pair of 225/40 x18 Pace tyres which come in a interestingly grippy compound and put them to the test yesterday coming back home with a smile I haven't had for a while.  If I took into consideration the bad reviews on the web I would have steered clear from these but the people who posted the reviews:

1. used the tyres on the driven wheels ie put the power on the tyres
2.  have less of a balanced car than I have
3. may have less perception than I have, of the point where a tyre (indeed any tyre) loses it's grip  
4.  may have higher reaction times and less of the skill needed to maintain traction

Of course I do need to add some photographic evidence to this unusually wordy blog post of mine, so here is a photo of the new rear tyre in situ after the rain this morning :)


I will not delve into specific examples in the photography world... there are too many to list, and this applies to any product or service that you are looking to see advice on....

Remember there is a lot of free advice on the web.  You may not be sure of the experience of the person who is giving you that advice.  Even though they may be well meaning they might not understand your application or work in the same conditions as you would be in.  You may also face the dilemma of being given contradicting advice by different individuals who are actually good at their jobs.  

My advice is to always list the pros and cons of everything.  Be clear what you want to achieve, and look for alternatives of how to get there.  Spending lots of money does not always take you a step further! 

Comments please & Have a great weekend!  x

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