B265 – WHAT A YEAR

Merry Christmas everyone and a happy new year! its literally the perfect day, as well as it being christmas its also my last 100 days of posting. I’ve made it to the final stretch. as its also the end of the year and also my last 100 days I thought I would show you some photos that Ive taken these past 265 days.

Its probably been one of the best years Ive had, not only have I been working pretty much non stop but Ive also been to some places that I never thought I would go to, I’ve spent 2 months in America and now have a working visa of the states, which i’ve wanted for ages, Ive also been to Canada, china and a few places in Europe. so its been pretty exciting. Amy also asked me out at the beginning of the year, and next year she should be moving into my flat, well thats the plan anyway. who would have thought I would been living with a girlfriend. its crazy and I suppose when you do that your kind of becoming an adult and having responsibilities, which in away is quite cool.

this blog has to be one of the best things Ive done, its literally taught me how to write and in given me confidence to try new things and just work harder to get what I want, and also when I write emails now theres a lot less spelling mistakes, its never good when you write emails and its grammatically incorrect or just doesn’t make any sense but because of the sheer amount of writing I do now I learnt a lot of new words and can spell so much better, I think anyway.

I think this blog has been good because a lot of the time its easy to think up ideas and then even easier to think up excuses why you cant do them and this has really made me just forget the excuses and just go with my gut and try to get the job done. thats why next year ive got a few plans lined up for this blog and also things that I want to try and do work wise. im planning on getting a second job i think just to help pay for all the things I need todo and the adventures / holidays im going on. Its time to up my game and smash 2018 out of the park!

Thank you 2017 its been a pleasure!

oh and sorry my blog didn’t have any photos on it yesterday, i literally have no idea how that happened. WordPress was just having a bad day I think.

 

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– amy and me exploring the town of Ratio on the Amalfi coast –
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– I also went to my first american high school football game right, this was like 10 minutes away from Harvard University –
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– Flying out of Newark Airport in New York. That is definitly a place Ill be going back to soon! I love New York –
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– a picture of Soho in London, I quite like this photo. Might have to get it made into a print –
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– the shot from the Barbican last week, im just happy with this photo and really like the way the man is –
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– this guy was definitely a highlight –

B249 – AN UPSIDE DOWN TEMPLE TO A COIN LAUNDRY

From North Carolina to Shanghai, every build is different, foundations change, tactics differ and people’s ideas get thrown around. If you stand on the street in North Carolina, not in the city of Raighley, but on the outskirts in the suburbs. Things you take for granted like shops and restaurants are built quick and for maximum capacity’s. They are basically practical places to get done what you need to get done, they do what they say on the title. No messing about. 
If you travel to some where like Kensington in London, that little part of the UK where a flat will set you back £1M or will all of a sudden be standing in a building that’s meant to not only stand the test of time but built to look like something from Mary poppins. Red brick the works. 
Then you travel 12,000 miles to China and end up in Shanghai and all of a sudden you starring up at an upside town temple that looks like it’s been carefully put together out of 100 meter look match sticks. It’s literally like something that a baddest budist has dreamt up.  

What I like about that all these buildings is that they all serve the same purpose really and that’s for people to use to eat a task done. It doesn’t matter if that task is to pray, live in or some where to wash there clothes. A lot of the time, I’ll just get from city to city and not really look up, even in London a place I’ve lived my whole life, I just walk around and don’t really take it all in. but if you actually just stop for a second and look around, everything is actually pretty cool in its own weird way. 

Here are some photos that I’ve taken from the places I’m talking about. It’s a bit of a rushed post today, but we all have days like this right?

– the Mary poppins buildings around Kensington, London –
– the upside down temple in Shanghai –
– a coin laundry by the side of a road somewhere in North Carolina –

B214 – IM GOING HOME!!

Right now its 14:44 on Friday, Im sat a Bradley international airport in Massachusetts about to board a plane to Boston, Ive got an hour till we take off and from Boston I have a flight that will take me to London Heathrow. its now the complete end of my time in America and after two months on the road going from Hotel to Hotel its time to head home and finally do some washing and get on my DIY skills on, I’ve got a hall way to paint and some more blinds to put up! so get ready for some DIY posts, they will be coming thick and fast.

right now though Im scrolling through the photos Ive taken on my phone and think its only right to post some photos that I have taken on my phone before they disappear into the hard drive of my computer forever.

If I had to choose one city that has left a mark on me it has to be New York, that place is probably one of my favourite cities Ive visited in a long time, it just doesn’t sleep and every corner has something happening and thats what I like. Nothing stops in New York, its just on the move constantly. I will 100 percent be coming back to New York in the near future.

On the other hand, the state that surprised me the most and rank up there of cool places is New England. thats the area Im in now, apparently its were the english first landed when they discovered America, thats where it gets its name from. If I could get hold of a mountain bike and had a few days off I would loved to of just cycle round the forests and explored this area, it just looks like a cool place to have an adventure. that sounds like a pretty cool idea now Ive just said that. Amy? Can you cycle?

Ive really enjoyed this trip and feel like Ive managed to see a fair bit of america is a short period of time. but now I just need to come back and really get to know it when Im working. Heres list of the places Ive been in the last few months. New York, New Jersey, Massachussets, Flordia, Illinois, North Carolina, St.louis, Toronto and Vancover. Looking at that im really suprised that I haven’t missed a day of this blog yet and not really sure where Ive found the hour or so it takes to write these each day.

Tomorrow I land back in the UK and have to  rush home for a hair cut, pack a bag and get ready for a few days get away in Paris. Amy and Me are going there because theres some fashion show that she wants to check out and I owe her a birthday present. so get ready for me to put my best Zoolander outfit on and explore the city of Paris!

Heres  some of  the photos from my phone of these past few months.

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– New York at 6am –
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– Ive never seen an exhaust like this, is it legal in the UK? –
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– a view from New England –

 

B174 – AIR CANADA LOST OUR CAMERA GEAR

I’m sat on the plane from Chicago to Vancouver, the TV’s don’t work and that’s something I hadn’t planed for, so now I’m trying to think of cool ideas instead of just looking at the head in front of me and listening to the only album I have on my phone.
One idea I came up with for today post, is to create an instagram story @joshfspear of some cool photos of my journey from Chicago airport to my hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. As today is literally just a travel day and nothing else, its hard to find cool stories and develop a meaning or idea behind the post, so I thought I would take you on the travel day with me and show you some of the cool things Ive seen along the way.

– Vancover to Victoria –

Air Canada have also lost some of our camera gear so its now looking like im going to be staying awake until it arrives sometime tonight. Apart from that, today has been a pretty good day and ended with us taking a small plane across the sailors sea from Vancouver to Sidney at golden hour which was unbelievable. I was speaking to a guy on the plane and he was talking about the food and wild life in this part of town so now im pretty excited to see what this place has to offer. that plane journey was one of those where I will look back in 10 years time and think how cool it was, from see where salt water meets fresh water to the barges pulling logs along the rivers to paper factories. it was all just like another world.

– the best flight I’ve been on in a long time –

We are only here for a few days but I will make those few days worth it. But we are now off to a flying start with a beer and pancakes from Dennys.

– I like this part of Canada already –

If you’ve got some time go and check out @joshfspear on instagram and have a look at my story of the trip, its got some pretty cool photos. I think I’m going to do more stuff like this and now I’ve done one the ideas are coming to me.

Im not sure if any of this makes any sense, Ive been awake for way to long and all over the place, but I hope you get the gist. I’ve been writing this as the days gone on.

B173 – YOU DON’T NEED A HELMET

I’m writing this a day before I actually need too, the next 48 hours are going to be a bit stressfull, so I thought I would do this post way before I need to just to make sure that its decent and not completely rubbish.

Today I wanted to post more pictures of the junk yard I went too a few days ago, just because it was something that I think is worth posting. The whole idea of taking photos at a place where you would think to take photos is what I like about this and its made me want to go to more junk yards and take photos.

The first photo I want to talk about is the guy riding the motorbike, in Illinois is legal to ride a motorbike without a helmet. Now for someone from London its completely weird to see people riding motorbikes around without a helmet on, it just doesn’t look normal. But it definitely adds to the cool factor, it makes motorbike riders look more like Nomads than part of a society. Like this guy, he’s just cruising around looking like he’s going nowhere but everywhere at the same time. the guys probably just on his way to get some milk for his family at home, but that’s not the impression he gives. I’m not sure if I agree with the helmet laws over here, but who I am to judge.

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For all these photos I used a Canon 20mm prime, shot in Black and White but also used RAW + JPEG format, but so I had the safety of using an Uncompressed image but was using Black and White as a reference. When you shoot in RGB but plan on changing the photo to B&W later on you shoot completely different and don’t think about the lighting as much as to when your only seeing B&W as an in camera reference.

My tip is to always shoot in the colour scale you plan to edit in and release you image as. I think it makes a huge different to the out come of your photo. Someone might say differently but by shooting RAW + JPG, you aren’t risking anything.

Here’s my other two photos. As your reading this, im currently on my way to an airport.

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– I like the rough paint on the side of this truck –
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– not for sale –

B171 – COOL UNKNOWN AMERICA – I THINK IVE LEARNT SOMETHING – PT.5

Today is the last day of me doing my first mini photo project, Cool Unknown American. Im not really sure how much is unknown or how much everyone knows, but my plan was just to show the inner workings on America on a whistle stop tour of America these past few days. Im about to have a really busy few days, so I think its probably best is I go for a five part project.

I’m currently sat in someone’s garage as the temperature hits 95 degrees, its pretty hot and there’s no air con but that will no break me.

With these posts its always tough to figure out what to write about and with photos, Ive always wanted to let my photos do the talking and just let people read each image and take away from it what they please. That’s not really the case, if you can take a good photo that seems to be about 60% of it, the other 40% is your writing. How well you can capture and write about that photo. That’s what I’ve learnt about this project, my photos are only doing a percentage of the work, I need to explain the reason behind the photos and what I think. Maybe its time for a new shake up of this blog, change the layout and my angle. I’m coming up to the 6 month mark in 11 days and the past 171 days have taught me a lot.

Two of the photos you see below are from previous days, one is of this incredible sunset we saw over the Illinois river on the drive from St.louis to Chicago. It was like a 6 hour drive, on the same straight road of like 200 miles, we got bored half way through and turned off on to the old route 66, this photo was taken just after we joined back on the highway across over the river and then were met by this crazy sunset. I love taking photos of sunsets, they never get boring. my favourite part about this photo is the reflection off the river in the back ground, it makes it feel like mid west america to me.

The other photo is from the VW car meet, this guy was standing up on the flat bed trying to sell things I think. I dont know why, I just thought it was a good photo opportunity so i took it. that car meet was one of those moments that will stand out for me on this trip. I just happened to look out of my hotel window and saw all this craziness happening across the road, so grabbed my camera and just started taking photos. nothing was planned, it just all seemed to fall into place.

anyway I’ve just eaten way to much Chicago deep pan pizza to keep me full or the next week, so heres my three photos.  enjoy.

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– this is my view of the amazing weather outside –
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– sunset on highway 55, Illinois river –
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– this guy knew how to sell –

 

B170 – UNKNOWN COOL AMERICA – A QUITE DAY MADE FUN- PT.4

Yep train tracks, thats what I took photos of today and I learnt something. I really dont like taking photos of train tracks, but where I am in Chicago, there is basically nothing apart from some massive car parks, and fast food joints. So train tracks will have todo.

Ive had one of those days where I just feel completely nackered and just looking forward to getting some good food inside me. my conclusion is that mid west america dont know how todo breakfast, they either have fruit loops or waffles and maybe some turkey sausages and some eggs. thats good every now and again, but not everyday. get some fresh fruit in and some yoghurt, trust me america it will change your life. or even try some fresh food, its a real game changer.

but enough of the moaning, At Lunch time today, i thought what should I do If I have nothing todo, so I decided to stop off at a gun shop to get that culture shock and wake my day up.  I ended up shooting my first ever gun a military grade AR-15 semi automatic machine gun. The nice guys in the gun shop gave me a little tour of the place first, I only I walked into the store to have a look at what guns they sell and maybe get my hands on the clint Eastwood smith and western gun that he has in those movies, but after speaking to Gunny Mike and this cool guy Marc, they ended up letting me shoot some rounds of the AR-15. It was a pretty sick time actually and scared the crap out of me. but after the first 10 rounds I was like a young rambo. They even gave me a cool T-shirt for me to remember the first time I shot an AR-15. I was like a 10 year old boy, who just discovered this whole new world. I dont think i would ever own a gun or something but it was definitely a good bit of fun. my shoulder is in a bit of pain now though, that guns got a bit of a kick to it.

After that I decided to go on a bit of a drive and take some pictures of something that has no baring on my day, but of something that is everywhere in the states and thats how I ended up taking photos of the exciting world of the American Railway tracks. enjoy these photos.

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– cheers Gunny Mike and Marc for setting this up. as you can see Im a natural, the hole closest to the red was Gunny Mike, I was going to claim it as mine but it was all him that one.  –
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– rail road crossing number one –
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– this was a rail road crossing, I just made it look like I was standing in between the tracks. I promise –

B169 – UNKNOWN COOL AMERICA – THE JUNK YARD TRIP – PT.3

about a mile down the road from the hotel we are staying in, is this cool scrap / mechanics / junk yard that has a few hidden gems. From the freeway that runs parallel to the yard, you can see this 1970’s all white cadillac and as today was a prep day, basically getting ready for our up and coming shoots. I thought I would get in a bit of time to explore this yard.

On the way over I thought I would try something a bit different and shoot these in Black and White not edit them later in lightroom and turn them black and white. but completely shoot black and white. my thought process was that because theres a  complete mixture of items from eras and parts from around the world that have all ended up in the same place, the only way I would be able to get across the feeling abandoness *not sure if thats a word, but ill go with it*. was by shooting Black and white.

Its 99% worked, these photos have a feel of loneless and despair, everything you see in this junk yard once had a home, it was once used for a purpose and now its left out in the elements to rust away until its up-cycled and found a new home. Hopefully. places like this yard are full of stories, like the van below which to me looks like it has a bullet hole in the windscreen and the front completely caved in. what the hell happened to that truck? as someone who likes the over the top story line, I like to think it was involved in some kind of gangsta stuff involving two bonnie and Clyde characters who instead of robbing a bank accidentally ended up in my library because bonnie was drunk that day and didn’t scoop the place out first. which meant the police got involved and took a pop at Cylde the get away driver. so now their choice of get away van is sat rusting away in the junk yard in Chicago instead of Mexico.

I can almost guarantee thats no where near what actually happened, but thats the kind of crap my brain likes to conjure up when Im taking these photos.

heres my photos from todays mini shoot. thanks to Frank and Al for letting me explore their Junk Yard!

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– the caddy is something I want back home –
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– the bullet hole? –
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– this van –
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– black and white just adds to the photos –
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– this tool was probably once pretty useful to someone –
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– big and small –

B168 – COOL UNKNOWN AMERICA – CLASSIC VW MEET. PT.3

A Few years ago I brought a 1967 VW Beach Buggy for my dad and me to drive, it was a sick little car when it worked and we would always need new parts or an MOT. The last time I took it for a spin, the accelerator peddle would get stuck on and the car would stop. which made of an interesting drive. when I brought that car at the age of 16, I could get insured and didnt even have a license, when I passed my test the insurance was so expensive it was really worth it.

Today my love for beach buggys has been re-lite. across the road from our hotel today was this VW car meet, with people selling parts and showing off their cars. The beach buggies were pretty impressive but thats not the main reason I decided to go, I love looking at those cars and seeing people impression but I wanted to photograph the people who import all this, it cant be easy finding classic VW parts in Silver Lake Chicago, it must take a network of people to find all the small parts like a 60’s Beetle speedometer or a carb and its these people that I want to photograph.

I was speaking to a few people about what its like selling old VW car parts and the life style it brings and the whole thing is pretty interesting, every purchase has to be calculated and thought about. can they use it on there projects or can it be cleaned restored and sold on. its definitely something which has to be a hobby first and then maybe possible make a living from it down the line maybe.

What my favourite thing about these classic cars is the fact that none of them are standard, everyones added their own personality to them, like the crazy Mexican’s who have built a massive table football  on the back of there VW camper and then all just play football and laugh, its their two favourite things football and VWs coming together in a way that you wouldnt find in the back of a toyota Prius. classic VW’s just seem to have a personality that no other car has.

anyway enough of hearing my views, heres my snaps. By the way these were all shot on a 20mm 2.8 canon lens. I think its my new favourite lens.

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– VW camper, table football edition –
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– these guys were selling old VW manuals and magazines, just happy to be there –
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– he was happy really –
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– this photo just made me smile –

 

B167 – COOL UNKOWN AMERICA – ST LOUIS TO CHICAGO PT.2

today we drove from St.louis to our next destination Chicago for the fourth location on this little filming trip. its fair to say this country is absolutely bonkers but in a good way, from the size of the food portions to the crazy ideas that people seem to have and then make them work. like the city museum in downtown St.louis, where they have a 10 story side and have decided to park a school bus and a plane on top of the building, it was the sort of place were kids and grown ups can just run around and explore climbing weird structures and old planes high above the city sky line! I thought it was amazing but i wanted to explore the city and decided to go and check out downtown, I got about 5 blocks from the museum when a bunch of motorbikes started racing down the road pulling wheels and stuff just like in the movie creed it was nuts. my camera was on completely the wrong settings, so the photos were just over exposed. thats why I need the Leica M.

After this little de tour, we hit the road heading for Chicago, driving north on the 55, around an hour into the drive we went past this crazy vintage car dealer, it literally had every car you could imagine from pre 1970, including rolls royce’s, ford pops and the car that malcoms parents drive in Malcom in the middle. unfortunatly it shut like 10 mintues before me got there, which basically meant we could only look at it from the fench. I still managed to get some photos of a burnt out car they must of brought to resort. I have no idea what car it is, but I properly like the picture.

Im now at the hotel in Chicago in the area of Lake on The Hill, not sure if im near a lake but it sounds like I am. the lady at the reception told us to go and try the famous restaurant Portillo’s across the road, its fair to say that is was a good shout. that place is amazing and as its somewhere that I quite like, so heres some info on it.

Portillos was founded in 1963 by a man names dick portillo, After he was honourably discharge from the marine corpe decided to open up a hot dog stand and invested $1,100 in a 6 x 12ft trailer and parked it on North Avenue in Villa Park, Chicago. he called it “The Dog House”. the van didnt have any running water so he would have to run 250m to a local bar every now and again to give his stand a top up.

4 years later he had turned it into a successfull business and decided it was time for a revamp and opened “Portillos” , it basically took off and he went on to open more and more locations. then in 1983, the first drive though opened in Downers Grove (Chicago) and instantly became know for its quick service and good hot dogs.

this place is quickly developing a name for its self all over the US and has now opened up in southern California, Florida, Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you ever pass one of these places, trust me and stop off for a hotdog. they’re crazy enough ship anywhere in the USA!

I also drove along route 66, which i didnt get todo last time as my mates didn’t think I was a good enough driver to drive the RV. well this time I did and it was pretty cool. Im also not sure if this post fits in my project, Cool Unknown America. But I feel like this is cool america off the beaten track so it should be allow and its my project so I can say its allow, so it is. I suppose this post is more of a dairy kind of think which I quite like.

heres my snaps from today, let me know what you think! Im also not sure if this 20mm prime lens is working properly, so tomorrow im going to put it through its paces and see what happens. so if tomorrow photos are crap I apologies in advance.

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– route 66, just off the north 55 –
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– st. louis city museum –
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– the vintage car dealer on route 66, is burnt out car was waiting out the front –
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– Portillos, chicago. Hot dog and fries. Well worth it –