Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Two more S days before .... Xmas

It was all happening in London'd Regents Street this late afternoon - two more shopping days before Xmas and the street was (as one can imagine) full of frantic shoppers.

Regents Street is one of my favourite Streets in the Capital - Not sure whether the Xmas decoration does it justice ...?

Famous brand names have their flagship shops along Regents Street - Burberry's shop window
is a fun one

Monday, 21 December 2009

Ice turned to snow

perfectly formed ice crystals

It was so cold during the night that this morning two thirds of the Tooting Bec Lido were frozen!

But then the snow came....

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday stroll

I swapped my days .. Saturday was really busy with three cold water swims.
Sunday on the other hand we made time for a quiet yet cold stroll around Tooting Bec Common.

Partially frozen pond on Tooting Bec Common

Two boys having fun at the frozen end of the pond

All shots taken with my Canon IXUS100 IS - super little camera!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Ice age

There is no escaping winter

snow balls are even growing on trees!

frozen windscreen wiper

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Challenge Results

Another amazing winter morning in Tooting!

Now that the results for the Ed Ruscha Challenge are out, I can share my entry with you.
here a reminder of the brief:

Ruscha Film Challenge Brief

Ed Ruscha has been at the forefront of American art for fifty years and this film

challenge gives you the chance to respond to the Hayward's current exhibition in a

creative, inventive and imaginative way that will communicate some key aspects

about the artist and his work to the general public. Your work can use any form of

moving image including animation or graphics, but must include an installation shot of

at least one of the selected works and last a maximum of 30 seconds

here a link showing the winner's work and a few others.


My entry:

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Winter has arrived

Early this morning there were only signs of frost and a clear crisp day seemed to lay ahead ... when actually the weather gods had a different plan.

Sunrise over a frosty Tooting Bec Common

Only a few hours later a total change of scenery

Snow actually started sticking to the trees and covering the ground

A jogger was not put out in the slightest by the wintery conditions

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

All you need is...

I could no longer draw out the obligatory trip into town to get my Xmas shopping done. I did set out with the right spirit and enjoyed the hunt for a very specific present ... in fact it turned out to be quite a tricky yet fortunately also successful hunt ... :) Well I'm never one to give up easily ...
En route I found myself cutting through Carnaby Street. The decoration certainly felt uplifting which I am sure helped me persevere cause "all you need is (after all) Love" :) Hope and Joy!

Monday, 14 December 2009

The lesser of two evils

Today, I had to travel from Tooting to Greenwich. Usually I take the car but as I didn't feel like getting caught up in London rush hour traffic I decided to take public transport... the lesser of two evils :)
The first part of the journey, Northern Line to "bank" was quite boring .. as most journeys on the tube are .. that's unless you get stuck in a tunnel... which we fortunately didn't!
The next part, travelling on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) was however more fun! Yes, I had taken the DLR before to the EXcel business centre but never to Greenwich ... the difference: a different route! This time the tracks really take you through a maize of high rise buildings and weaves in and out of parts of the river Thames until it reached the Cuttysark stop in Greenwich.

I enjoyed it and all in all can report that the experience is well worth considering. That's if not having a conductor in the train doesn't freak you! The DLR is being driven by a computer sitting in a control room!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Quiz time

What it this?

Where have I been and what have I been up to?

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Happy Birthday

I like Birthdays! It doesn't even have to be mine and I get overly excited!
Today is my dear friend Margaret's Birthday .. now, I know one doesn't ask a lady her age .. so I won't disclose it here ... after all I'm wise enough to know one sure way of keeping our friendship!

But will share a set of photos I have taken.

Margaret loves her "moggy" Morris Minor - so the photo went down very well!

Yes the soapstone dish is from back there, namely South Africa!

We know how much you love my home made Polenta cake!

You got it, The birthday kid normally blows out the candle on the cake

Yeahhh, and guess what, your wish will come true

Maybe even the "nauty" wishes?!

By the looks of it you aleady got the perfect slippers

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

It pays off

Early winter mornings can be rather dreary ... this morning, however, it paid off to make that little effort and crawl out of a warm cosy bed when it was still dark...

Wednesdays, I chant at my friend Simone's house from 7am to 8am followed by my daily swim at the Tooting Bec Lido. When arriving at Simone's House it was still pitch dark and who would have known then what I was about to see around 8am?!

Nature never seizes to surprise me...

Early morning mist on Tooting Common

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The day has come

The day I have been working towards has finally come - I have just come back from handing in my entry for the "Ed Ruscha Challenge".

It's been quite a journey! No, not the trip to The Hayward Gallery - that's just a few stops on the tube down the Northern Line - I'm talking about the adventure of producing a 30sec. film from scratch in one week. That's coming up with a concept from a given brief, filming, editing and deciding on the best format for the output... and succeeding in outputting it :)

Here the brief :

Ruscha Film Challenge Brief

Ed Ruscha has been at the forefront of American art for fifty years and this film

challenge gives you the chance to respond to the Hayward's current exhibition in a

creative, inventive and imaginative way that will communicate some key aspects

about the artist and his work to the general public. Your work can use any form of

moving image including animation or graphics, but must include an installation shot of

at least one of the selected works and last a maximum of 30 seconds

My idea for the 30 sec. film came quite quickly. The filming only presented one mystery which I couldn't resolve in time but bypassed (temporarily) for the sake of having the quality of footage I wanted to work with. The editing went so so.... I had a small challenge with the sound and with ending the clip on the last frame instead of the end turning to black ... I wasn't sure at all how to solve that ... Fortunately, I remembered Lee! I met Lee on a forum about the Sony HVR V1 camcorder which we both work with. Lee is a fantastic guy and a very accomplished filmmaker! Trouble is, he doesn't live round the corner... He is in Florida!

So, I sent out an S.O.S. e-mail to Lee and almost immediately my inbox chimed with that lovely "ping" to announce Lee's prompt reply. He diagnosed the cause of my trouble and gave me a immediate solution which I applied to good effect. But as it happens this was just the beginning ...

I sent the clip over to Lee via "yousendit" (marvellous way of sending large files). He liked the film and added some good comments and valuable advice - back to Final Cut Express I went and tweaked a little here and a little there. Done - the refined version was sent off into cyberspace!

Looking good!

The real challenge, however, came when it was time to burn the film to DVD. I won't bore you with that saga. Suffice it to say that it took a whole day to get it right and I definitely couldn't have done it without Lee's long distance help!
I had to also make sure the film can be viewed on a Mac (what I have) and a PC. A phone call to my lovely neighbour Edmund, a retired Art teacher and PC user, was my next move.

"Of course came over and let's see if the PC can read the DVD."
Edmund is amazing, he is on the computer all day (and half of the night!) and always has fantastic projects on the go.
To my relief the PC was also able to play my movie.

"I like it, it makes me want to go and see the exhibition."
Wow, how cool is that!
Mission accomplished! Well, not quite, Edmund is not part of the panel who are going to judge the 50 odd entries...
But hey, I did my best. I handed it in on time and hope for the best!

Of course I would love to win which, actually, is not like me ... in my days as a rider and competitor I never had the urge to win. I always wanted to give the horse a good ride and show it off as best I could as opposed to maybe having to push it that bit harder just for the sake of coming in first.
However, when I won the title for Best International Equestrian Photographer of the Year things started to change. Now it was only down to me - it is about challenging myself and not pushing a horse as well. It's about winning over myself and never giving up! And this is what I have done by taking on the Ed Ruscha Challenge.

So yes. I would love to win the Ed Ruscha Challenge. There are prizes too, by the way. The Top one being a Canon HDV camcorder which would come in handy!

Stay tuned, the results will be given on December 11th.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Last one hanging

I don't know if it can chuck it down much harder, longer nor fiercer than it has been in the last couple of days ... and nights?!

It's really miserable out there ... but guess what I found?

The last hanging leaf!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Xmas wish list?

Jaguar XK 8

Steamroller Bicycle

Arty Bike

All available in Notting Hill!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Would you?

Picture this: a frosty morning, 8 am, December 4th the water temperature at the Tooting Lido shows 5 degrees Celsius (41 fahrenheit) and yet .... what a plunge!

Well, would you dare?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Best place

Where would you rather be on a cold rainy December day?

In the garden ..?


Tucked up on the sofa..?!
And now for a bit of news: last month was the wettest November since records began in 1914... and by the looks of it seems like December is heading in the same direction!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The place to be

Yesterday's december frost was short lived - today it's chucking it down again like nobody's business!

Fortunately, I didn't have to go out much today ... being indoors was definitely the place to be!

Specially as I'm working on my project. I'm down to editing now, and although I'm a bit rusty and have forgotten half of what I have learned in my one on one lessons at the Apple Store :), it's coming along quite nicely!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Operation Southbank

The big day I have been waiting for for over a week was finally upon me!

No, not welcoming the first frost ... although I did enjoy having my first swim under "real" winter conditions, I am referring to "Operation Southbank"!

I still can't tell you huge amounts about it the rest of my day other than that I had my filming slot at the Hayward Gallery for the competition I have entered.

The Hayward Gallery is showing a 50 years retrospective of Ruscha's paintings and the brief for those entering the competition was to produce a 30 second film about American Artist Ed Ruscha. Now that I have completed the filming stage I am about to start editing.

The finished product has to be handed in December 8th. Looks like I have my work cut out for the next couple of days :)

Monday, 30 November 2009

Let's keep it authentic

Yes, I do support my local health food shop as much as I possibly can - But who would have thought I was to get such a reception .. :) Walther really is the loveliest and most helpful shop assistant you will ever come across! He loves music, tennis and his hair! He hasn't been to a hairdresser in 11 years!

Walther's boss and owner of "Balham Treatment Rooms", Reza, is generally less euphoric ...
Today, however, when he noticed that I took a snap shot of Walther, he wanted in too!

"Take a photo of me too!"
"But you are on the phone"
"He's always on the phone!"

Well, OK then, let's keep it authentic!

Saturday, 28 November 2009


It's always good to spend time reflecting on your day ...:)

What can you remember?
What has struck you?
What would you have done differently?
What has the day taught you?
What are you most happiest about?

What can you "see" in (your) reflections?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Trip down Memory Lane

Whenever I travel to or from Waterloo I have flash backs of the first time I used the station. It was very exciting then because I had an appointment at King's Reach Tower, home what was then to IPC magazines. I was to see Melvin Van Gelderen, art editor of Horse & Hound magazine to show my portfolio. I remember stopping at the top of the stairs when coming out of the station, taking in the scenery ahead when a little voice in my head said: "I like what I see". I felt very good, confident and full of optimism about the meeting that lay a few walking minutes ahead.

That view has totally changed now - There was no Imax cinema in the centre of the roundabout then but "card board city", place of many homeless, sleeping rough. Walking through it was a bit awkward. then on down Stamford Street and into the reception of IPC magazines.

Although I felt confident, I also had a few butterflies flying around. This was after all the very first time I was to show my photographs to someone in view of getting some work.

Melvin was very complementary of my work.
"These images are great, if they were current I'd use them today!"

I was pleased and smiled (not only internally)! This was the beginning. My career of what turned out to be 20 years of horse photography was launched.

Today, however, I didn't walk to King's Reach Tower but towards the river. So much happens along there and whenever I see a bit of action I feel compelled to take a shot.

This Skateboarder was having a go at jumping down a set of stairs. Just after having taken this shot, the group of youths were asked to move on. They were practicing behind the Hayward Gallery where skating is not allowed.

But hey, I got a shot. Once an action photographer always an action photographer!