When you stay in a hotel, the reason you stay there is for the bed, and nine out of ten times the bed is all wrong. You get given some rubbish pillows that feel like they’ve been folded in half one to many times and a duvet that is more of throw for your sofa than anything else. Well the Village Hotel in Dudley, Birmingham is not that kind of place, my room had at least a 14.5 tog duvet and the pillows to match, that is something that’s rare to find in a one nighter hotel.
If Premier Inn was a 4 star work trip hotel then this place is easy a 4.5 and its simple, this place has everything you need for a good nights sleep after a long day of work, from a gym and spa area that actually has a swimming pool deep enough to dive in (not that I went swimming), you could then head back to your rooms and be pleasantly surprised that the showers they actually worked and for once didn’t give you third degree burns or worst frost bite, you are met with a constant supply of warm to hot water that actually does the job. One thing that has to be noted is the fact that they don’t have a luggage trolley, which makes my life 15 x harder. Most of the time when I stay in hotels its with a lot of camera equipment and instead of carrying 20 bags through receiption and into my room it’s nice to just put them on a trolley and push them around, even more so annoying in the morning.
After some excersise and a great shower time to head down and get some food. That’s when I found out about something that would put a smile on anyone’s face, I’m talking about game day chicken wings and beer all for something like £7. what more could you want, and what’s more suprising is the fact that this deal is in a hotel especially when they are showing all the football, so that being said I did enjoy the wings and also a few beers. So I will blame that on the bad grammer and poor spelling mistake into post. but if you couldnt tell for the past 300 words, this hotel is really good and I would definitely recommend it if you need somewhere to stay in Dudley, Birmingham.
For todays post I want to talk about something that I think it pretty important but for the first 200 days of this blog, didn’t really think too much about, I’m talking about framing and lighting. When I used to take a photo I would always think about the content and then used to take content over framing and lighting, which can work for street photography or those once in a 100 year photo opportunities, but a lot of the time Framing / lighting is just as important to not only make sure its a good photo but also to make sure you are getting the most from your camera.
To make this an even test I decided that there was only one place to go and that was to the coffee shop next door, where they don’t only take pride in supporting the local community but their knowledge of coffee and how to make the perfect cuppa is impeccable. I went for the usual a flat white, and what makes Second shot coffee shop perfect for this demo is that its not the biggest coffee shop in the world and it’s quite small. I want to show that it doesn’t really matter about the area its self, you just have to get creative with your framing.
I decided that I would take the photos on a small shelf, next to a plant near the door. The only problem was the shop was pretty packed with customers and there was also this big cardboard box underneath which meant i couldn’t get the shot I wanted too and it would have been way to embarrassing to have started moving the box around, so I had to frame it out and use the not so healthy looking plant sitting on the shelf as something to help fill for the foreground but also add colour and depth to otherwise a pretty standard shot of a coffee against a white wall.
One thing that you always need todo is think about how you can cheat a shot to make it look the best you possibly can, frame out something, shoot at a different angle or move slightly to either side. you can see from this shot of the shelf that not only did it have a plant and cardboard box below, I also had writing on the wall behind and a bunch of flyers to the right. It’s important to look at what you have around you and figure out if its helping the photo or taking something away from it and then make your chosen objects or object compliment the surroundings.
When you think about lighting, first thing I think of is shadows and reflections, when I shot this coffee cup the light was pouring in from the strong sun through the glass front of the shop, meaning that on one side of the photo theres long shadows and if you shoot with the sun behind you, theres reflections on the coffee cup, making it like a mine field of possible issue’s, so what I did here is shoot at like a 45 degree angle from the cup, meaning you lose some of the strong shadows and you also just out of the reflection zone but can still catch a lot of the light.
For this mini photoshoot I thought I was only fair that I went full automatic on my canon 5dii with the best lens money can buy the Canon 50mm f1.8 (which you can pick up for literally £100) and because I shoot in RAW mode which saves loads of information regarding each photo, so if I don’t like the exposure or lighting you can also change it in post and not worry to much about losing quality and thats also what i think a lot of instgrammers or bloggers probably do, it great for saving time but also means that you do have a lot more security especially if you have a good lens and shoot quick street style photos. but I don’t recommend shooting in manual mode with this 50mm lens and its not as smart as the better more expensive kind and does tend to get information or settings wrong. I do also normally I like to shoot in full manual mode and adjust my settings to the relevant environment but I wanted this test to be less about camera settings and what settings to use and more about framing and using your immediate environment to make your photos that little bit better and give them a bit more flare. my top tip is always shoot in RAW and then concentrate on your composition and lighting are better.
Please let me know it the comments what you think about this post and if you think any of my techniques might actually work for all. Also if you think its complete horse crap then that is also good to know. Hope your all have a good Sunday and get kick those St Patricks day hangovers, I’m currently driving up to Birmingham for a few busy days of filming.
My plan for the future is today more photography based tips and hints, so if there is anything you think I should cover let me know and Ill do my best.
today I lost, just completely lost and when you lose like that, it better to just face the fact that today you didnt win, theres only one thing you can do and thats head to the pub and drink until you forget about it. Normally I would just power through and try and gain the day back but for some reason today I just didnt have anything left in the tank and just decided to call the day quits and head out for a drink with amy and that why my photos are just of three drinks that I had throughout the night. nothing else, no attempt to take great shots of even take my camera out with me, just a photos taken on my iPhone.
Now I know what your thinking, something terrible must of happened and thats not the case, it was just a day where everything would just go wrong. from me following the shooting schedule and getting all in a muddle to me trying to catch a piece of fruit that was thrown at me and just completely missed, there wasn’t any major fails or problems just hundreds of little ones which only got more annoying as the day went on. Nothing seemed to slot into place and that really annoys me, but today is a new day and Im going to make this Friday a good day. my plan is to get up and get dressed head into work early and make sure that there aren’t any mistakes again and that all the issues I had with yesterday don’t happen again. and screw it, do you know what? Im also going to take some amazing photos and really pull this week back from the dead and then tonight I’m not going out for a drink or anything Im going to sit on my sofa and get some decent sleep because I think thats what the issue is here, for the last few weeks its been crazy and yesterday I just had a 4 hour brain fart.
Hope non of you are having a brain fart like me at the moment, heres my drinks from last night.
Ahh Monday, the one day of the week where those extra 5 minutes of snoozing the alarm make all the difference, especially when you have a 7:20am call time but the good thing about a call time that early is that you get to see London empty and not full of people. this morning I got to walk through the famous Brough market and it was completely empty, not even someone selling fruit or veg, it was just me. I wish I had more time to explore and that I could of pulled out my camera and spent 5 minutes just taking photos but as I said earlier, those extra 5 minutes of snoozing that alarm aren’t something that can be given up lightly.
For my photos today, I really wanted to show you some more snaps from the beach the yesterday but as im expecting a very busy week, so Ill drip feed you guys photos over the next 5 days, I hope thats ok.
After work today the plan was to go to the gym and spend an hour working out instead of an extra hour on the sofa watching tv, I know that might sound like some kind of terrible idea but my reason behind this is simple, if I want to carry on working 12 to 15 hour days (thats including my time writing these blog posts) then I really should start looking after my body by staying in shape. One thing that has made that decision the right one was the fact that in my second week of gym Ive just managed to run 5km without having a pain in my leg from ligament tear 9 months ago. That 5km run was something I had been thinking about in the back of my head for the past two days and then today I got on that running machine and made it happen, I couldn’t be happier and now Ive done the hardest part, which is basically me telling my brain that I can do this and that I just need to take it slowly. when you have an injury like that, you kind of get these weird thoughts that you shouldnt do it and that your injury has come back. All I can say is learn to actually listen to your body and not just that part of your head that is kind of scared something will happen again.
Straight after the run which by the way took me 34 minutes to run 5km, I was thinking about that goal of running an ultra marathon and I know this is something that probably maybe shouldn’t happen for a good two years, it is something I’m going to start thinking about again. my plan is to go on Saturday and get a sports massage and then speak to the running coach about how I might be able to reach the goal of a 100 mile race. I suppose if nothing else, its something for me to work towards.
Tonight Im sleeping in the new premier inn at Heathrow Terminal 4, im not going to any amazing country or evening flying abroad, this was just the closest hotel to where I need to be at 6:45am tomorrow morning. I’ve definitely shared with you guys before my love for a Premier inn, they do excatly what they say on the advert and to be honest they are pretty clean which is always a bonus when your on location. Some times you end up in those hotels where its best to sleep fully dressed and wearing some kind of face protection, but honestly Ive never had a stay like that in a Premier inn.
Back to this new hotel at Heathrow, I would have to give this one a 7/10, its got everything need in a short 12 hour hotel stay, we have a bar, a nice sized bed and a room that can fit all my stuff in. The bed sheets are clean and they have that nice tumble dryer smell. If you ever end up planning a trip which involves staying at this Premier Inn, do be neverous or even apprehensive just got with it and your guaranteed a good nights sleep.
The one thing that does catch me out each time at these places is the shower gel that they give you attached to the wall, Im not sure if anyone has used this stuff more than once, I say once because Im pretty sure everyone tries it once but quickly realised that its probably doing more damage than good when it comes to skin care. I would love to say that premier inn use a good quality wall attached shower gel but unfortunately that would be a lie, why don’t they just give out small bottles of shower gel instead? that would solve their biggest problem. sorry if this sounds like a moan but I quite regularly forget my shower gel and its never good being met but wall soap.
anyway, this is a solid 7/10 and I give it a 4 star quick trip rating another strong reason for staying here would be todo with the 24 hour costa coffee shop at reception. Perfect if you’ve got an early start or late arrival. this is my hotel review, I hope you like it.
So tonight im staying in a Premier Inn somewhere in Essex for a shoot tomorrow. I also know what most people are saying about the fact that im spending my night in a premier inn and to be honest they couldnt be further from the truth. For me a Premier inn is perfect, they have all the requirements I need for a short 10 hour stay. I have a nice sized room, clean bed, safe room and best of all a shower that gives me no only hot water but cold aswell.
For most of you that read pages like like these you are probably used to reading about 5 start hotels and villas in Mexico, all I can offer you is the concept that Premier Inns do the job required and dont leave you with that felling where you want to sleep in your clothes. these places are actually safe havens for people like me, where the idea of short work trips normally involve cheap hotels and uneatable breakfast options. We see a premier Inn on the call sheet and instantly feel relieved that its not a holiday inn or worst an independent holiday chain, that has a name like “Sunshine Inn” or something just as misleading.
for me the proof is in the shower, if its a good hotel then both the hot and cold water will run an even speeds, giving you a solid mid water temp and nothing too freighting and this Premier Inn is no exception. that have managed to get that situation just right. meaning that tomorrow at 5am, i will be about to have a full and near perfect shower. I don’t need luxury just the chance to sleep a stressfree few hours and include a 3o minute shower in the morning.
Here are my pictures of the Premier Inn room im currently staying in, for me its a solid 7 out of 10.
So today Im at the Baftas working not partying I should mention, my plan was probably to show you some photos from before my day, during it and after. but then something happened that I really didnt expect, it was my walk to work. I did what I always do when im at the Royal Albert Hall, I get off at Lancaster Gate and walk through Hyde Park to the stage door. Nothing crazy.
Well this morning as I got off at Lancaster Gate and noticed that the sun was just coming up, it was roughly 7:35 or something (My call time was 7:30 so I was running a but late) As I entered into Hyde park it was unbelievable, the sun was hitting the sides of everything and the water was still, it was literally magical. I felt like I had just walked onto a set of a feature film which was going to win a BAFTA for its lighting, I instantly when for my 5d and then realised I had left my beautiful camera at home, my only choice was to pull out the iphone, and my god Im happy i did. For some reason it just feels right that I took these photos on my Iphone, it gives the photos a feel of just an average londoner walking through the park if that makes any sense. No special lens used, no expensive camera, just amazing light and a bog standard 29mm f2.9 iphone lens. Im definetly a fan of mobile phone cameras and the photography they are capable of.
If I was to give people one top tip about using a phone to get good shots, it would be not to worry about how good the Iphone X is and how amazing the camera is, Im pretty happy with my Iphone 6s right now and definitely don’t think that for an extra £50 a month the Iphone x will improve my photos that much. If you was to buy an Iphone X on an £80 a month contract, then over the course of 24 months you would spend an extra £1200 on the phone, that means that for the same price you could get a Sony RX100 or Fuji X100f and still have cash left over, now trust me they are some powerful pocket rockets. I personally think Iphone X is over rated, its good but its not life changing. With camera sensors I just think that each sensor model creates its own feel and vibe, at the moment I love the iphone 6s picture quality, thats not to say in a few months or years ill be in love with the iphone X, because I probably will be.
its now coming to the end of my dinner break at work, so Ill stop the rant and if you were hoping to see a photo of my at the BAFTA’s heres one from a few years ago.
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.
Today I leave shang hai and head back to london, im looking forward to getting home and looking back at all these photos Ive taken and getting the posts online, I hope you all are still reading these and wont abandon me.
this place is pretty cool and completely different to anywhere Ive been before, its a completely new culture that ive kind of seen, I wish I had more time to see this city. im now on the coach to the airport and looking out the window at the Bullet train tracks. the bullet train is chinas answer to high speed rail way travel. this thing goes like like 200 mph and travels along these futuristic train tracks which use like 1 mile long bends. its literally a thing of the future, I love the idea of the future and people creating inventions to make life easier and more exciting. the next few years I genuinely think china will over take the west and lead the technology race, if you have over 6 billion people in one country how can they not.
this country is a place I still cant work out if I would like to come back and visit on holiday or if I would only come here for work, I just cant decide. china is a massive place and I like to think ill be back to explore but truthfully Im just not sure. I think ill only know a few weeks down the line when I think back to what its been like and what Ive experienced. right now im pretty hungover from an amazing wrap party 87 stories up at the top of the hotel and all I want todo is eat a mcdonalds and fall asleep on the plane home.
for now heres some photos from my past week in this amazing city!
today a bit of an early start, got a lot happening today but looking forward to getting on with every. its the first day of shooting so need to rush over to location, its like 6am now leaving the hotel at 7 to get there for 8.
Breakfast, Having Chinese food for breakfast is actually quite a good idea. nothing better than noodles and some fried rice for breakfast. takes a bit of time to get used to drinking a coffee at the same time but its quite good in a weird way. I will dedicate a whole post to the breakfast here, i think it desevers it. I have never seen noddles and seafood for breakfast before.
The jet lag is still real, its probably some of the worst jet lag I have experienced, I keep waking up at like 4am and cant get back to sleep, normally i do some running or maybe a swim but I can get past the hotel bar, which is proving to be a bit of an issue. One thing to talk about is the fact that the time zone is really confusing and I cant work out what the time is in the UK. I know we are 8 hours ahead but I keep thinking the UK is in front. thats probably the jet lag talking but for some reason my head just cant figure it out. the only good thin about waking up at 4am is the fact that I can have a bath with this view, it is literally the best bath in the world. I don’t think anything will ever compare to it!
My plan for these post while im away is to write some bullet points each day and then when I get back to the UK fill in all the gaps. I think thats probably the best thing for me todo, I will probably regret doing it that way, but I think while I’m here i need to get as much sleep as I can because my days are going to be filled with running around trying to get everything done.