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Shooting wide open with a long lens #art #photography

I’ve had an art project in mind for a while and I want to shoot wide open with a long lens. I would like to shoot with an 18 – 300mm lens but I make do with what I have. At the weekend I took some pictures at our 40s event in the park. I wasn’t too well and carrying lots of equipment was out of the question. On Saturday I used my 18 – 105mm lens which is very versatile for events. Then on Sunday, I had an idea that I could practice for my art project and shoot wide open with my 55 – 300mm lens. It also saved me walking around so much! Wide open with a long lens worked out well.

BLITZ B (3)

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Conveying a mood #photography #art

There are always interesting things to photograph and photography isn’t just about taking snaps. I look at photography as an art in itself and I look for unusual things to photograph.  I found this little chapel down a side street in Bilston and took a few shots early in the evening. The art of photography is imagining what mood an image will convey and I thought this chapel looked cold and lonely.

what mood does this image convey?

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Diesel and petrol at two pounds a litre? #GE

It’s Sunday and so once again I share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this week? Well, I have been thinking about the General Election and thinking about what the real policies are. Those real plans behind all the rhetoric and bull-shit they put on television. Many of the plans they have told us about sound like they will stoke inflation but I think with record debts they will need to get money from somewhere and the old favourites, fags, booze and petrol seem the most likely options. They can now use the excuse of global warming to bang up both diesel and petrol.

Will they put up diesel and petrol?

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A Black Country Event #photography

There are many different types of photography. I’m currently doing a couple of photographic art projects that require high-quality images and I spend a lot of time on those. My print for an art competition is printed on canvas at 300 dpi and measures 20 inches by 16 inches. For that print, I went for high quality. For a Black Country event my priority is getting the shots and although the quality is important, there are many factors I can’t control and so image quality isn’t the top priority. I photographed the Black Country Horse Drive at the weekend and that was quite challenging but it was also enjoyable. Over 300 horses and their owners came to create a memorable event and raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

BLACK COUNTRY HORSE AND CART

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Blue sky thinking #Sunday #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I allow you into the labyrinth of neural pathways that is my brain and share my thoughts with you. What’s on my mind this week? I’m still doing social media stuff and trying to share pictures of the community I live in that show it in a positive light. I could do dark industrial pictures of the Black Country but we now have nature reserves and we even have the Black Country forest! Times change and there is no point getting stuck in the past. Industry belongs to a bygone age, we are now producing different things and it can be more fun and be more creative. Anyway, I’m now into blue sky thinking.

blue sky thinking

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It only takes one kid to pee in the pool

It’s Sunday morning and so, as usual, I grant you an exclusive ticket to take a peek into the inner workings of my mind. What’s on my mind this week? Spoilers! When I was a kid there was always that one kid in the park that took great pleasure in openly peeing in the paddling pool. The other kids would run in disgust back to their mommies. It only takes one doesn’t it? That’s life, there is always a spoiler, a shit stirrer, a moron who thinks it’s clever to piss-off everyone else. There is always one kid who will pee in the pool.

pee in the pool

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Wednesbury BID – Business Improvement District #Wednesbury

It’s Wednesday and so, as usual, I’m writing about the town I have always lived in; Wednesbury! I have good news this week because we are finally going to start getting the Wednesbury Business improvement District off the ground. It will be funded initially by the businesses in the town centre but that is just the beginning for Wednesbury BID.

Wednesbury BID

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Smart thoughts from the centre of the labyrinth #ramble

It’s Sunday morning again and so I allow you into the labyrinth that is my mind and share my thoughts with you again. What’s on my mind today? My new phone! Aren’t they expensive? It cost as much as my laptop. It is cool, though. Last night,  I was lying on my bed, eating crisps and drinking beer, as you do and I got YouTube on it and actually cast the picture and music to my television! How cool is that? I even got Google maps up on my television. I admit the YouTube thing wasn’t that smart because I have a smart telly that can get YouTube anyway, but it is a smart phone. My thoughts are very smart today. Aren’t they?

SMART THOUGHTS

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January blues go away #Wednesbury

There seems to be a distinct lack of enthusiasm now that Christmas and New Year is over. We seem to have the January blues. However, underneath this apparent dearth of vitality lies an undercurrent of plans for the future. What will be happening in Wednesbury in 2017, we ask ourselves. I see signs of activity at the library and we have still to hear if the BIDS scheme will go ahead. Will the car boot be back this month? Will brave souls brave the freezing weather to make some cash to pay for their Christmas extravagance? If we plan anything outside the weather could spoil it. There are events, in the town hall booked through this year and they have some good nights as well as afternoon shows. There is a Frankie Valli tribute this month. There are lots of little shows at the pubs around the town too.

January blues? width=

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As the year draws to a close #Wednesbury

I hope everyone in Wednesbury had a great Christmas but now we have to look to the future. What will 2017 bring? There will be some changes with a few companies opening up new premises in or around Wednesbury. Lidl will have a new warehouse and so too will DFS. There will be a new car showroom to replace Carcraft and there are interesting developments on the Gallagher retail park. We also hope to get better Christmas lights next year,  too!

What Christmas lights

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If you got something good going… #Wednesbury

“If you have got something good going, don’t tell nobody,” that was a tweet I read this morning. I suppose it would help avoid a lot of competitive envy. I have to admit to having something good going. I photographed a group of excited kids this week that came to the town hall to bring gifts for children less fortunate like the ones who have been taken into care this Christmas and will be away from their families. I experienced the true Christmas spirit.

Christmas spirit

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Picture Saturday #photography

According to my SEO plug in I should always write 300 words in a blog post but I’m ignoring it today and relying on pictures to tell a story. These pictures were taken in the Black Country around my home town of Wednesbury.

XMAS LUNCH AT WEDNESBURY TOWN HALL

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Christmas events in the community #Wednesbury

I had a busy day yesterday with more Christmas events. I always write my blog post of course and did my photography post before lunch and then off to the town hall to photograph the Christmas lunch for the older and wiser members of the Wednesbury community.

Christmas events

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Christmas news and views #Wednesbury

There are the usual Christmas parties starting this month. There will be some for older people like me at the Town Hall and the Centre of Oneness. Various groups will have a Christmas get-together too.

1 CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 2015

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Freezing and sneezing #Wednesbury

Yes, it is freezing in Wednesbury today. I missed my evening of spoken word and music in Wednesbury library last night. I spent 30 minutes de-icing my car and it was still iced up and misted up then. I gave up, I was freezing. I might clear the ice later and warm it up. My computer says it’s 36F now but it has been wrong before. It was wrong last night, it was way below freezing.

Wednesbury on parade - it was freezing

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Christmas countdown #Wednesbury

We have the Christmas Lights switch-on on Friday with Dayton Grey and there will be fundraising for Sam’s Dream. Click the poster below to bring it up larger to see all the attractions.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

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Thinking about the little things #Wednesbury

I’m going shopping today and so I’ll add to my box of food for our ‘Breaking Bread’ food bank. While I think it is ridiculous that we need food banks in a country as rich as Britain we have to help because we can’t change government policy. My small contribution will help and it is the little things that count.

Wednesbury - thinking about the little things

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BID – working as a team #Wednesbury

I was talking to a Chinese student a few years ago about her latest assignment. She had to do the assignment as part of a group. I commented that I was usually better working alone. In a group, you have to come to an agreement with other group members before you can do anything. Alone, you just get on with it. The student told me that Chinese people prefer to work in a group. I think a group can be more successful than an individual if they have a common goal and essentially, leadership. A suggestion has been made that a BID – Business Improvement District be set up for Wednesbury town centre. Can Wednesbury businesses work together?

Wednesbury - A business development district

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Wednesbury on a Wednesday #Wednesbury

It is nice and sunny this morning in Wednesbury. I mentioned the History Society last week and I went to the talk last night. Robert Broadbent gave us an interesting talk about the Romans building Hadrian’s wall. I know, I said it was going to be about canals last week. I think I read that on a leaflet. It was still interesting. I nearly nodded off, though, not because I was bored, just tired from lack of sleep. I was told about a Christmas event next month with a buffet, next door in Churchill’s Club, I’ll have to get details; I was too tired to take it all in.

Wednesbury Christmas Lights.

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Prime lens, for quality on a budget #photography

I started off some years ago with a Fujifilm S5600 doing landscapes and it was only in 2013 did I upgrade to a Nikon D3200 and that isn’t a top of the range camera but I have managed to get some decent photos with it. Some of the many photos have been used by Express and Star and I now have a page on their website. I’ve been doing events and last week Libby Rose posed for me and although the photo-shoot didn’t go quite as I planned I got some good pictures with a prime lens.

LIBBY ROSE USING A 35MM PRIME LENS

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How time flies #ramble #photography

I photographed a pageant princess, Libby Rose, the other day. It seems incredible to me that she was born in this century and has no memories of the 20th century. When I was helping students with their studies I would sometimes ask their date of birth and it would be 1990 and that would seem like yesterday to me. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Libby Rose - time flies

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Enriching our town centre #Wednesbury

I went to the launch of the poppy appeal in Wednesbury yesterday and took a few photos and photographed our increasingly popular bric-a-brac market while I was there. I learned a lot and it was a successful day when I learnt not only about enriching our town in the monetary sense but also in the cultural sense. An empty unit at the end of the market is now being used to sell poppies and a selection of related products.

POPPY APPEAL (21)

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Parking charges at Sandwell Valley #Wednesbury

Sandwell Valley

Sandwell Valley Country Park is the nearest bit of countryside to Wednesbury and a popular place for a day out. I often go there to take photographs. Parking charges will be introduced at my favourite beauty spots starting on the 1st of November. They work out to around 40p an hour because the council are short of money. I doubt if it will raise much money after they have paid for the meters and the wardens. There could have been better ways of making money from the park. Forge Mill has a lot of potential.

near Wednesbury

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Soft focus – wide aperture #photography

Wide apertures are great for portraits and close-up shots of people. At events, wide apertures are preferable because they also allow us to shoot at faster shutter speeds. As the days get darker and we lose more and more light I shall be using aperture priority and shooting wide open much of the time. One of the main reasons people get blurred photos is poor light and then the camera sets the shutter speed too slow. I set my camera on aperture priority and the widest aperture and then check the shutter speed. For a scene where I want to freeze movement, I’m looking to get a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second. For this picture, I chose a wide aperture and had a soft focus filter on the lens.

wide aperture combined with soft focus

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