B362 – THE ANNUAL SPEAR FAMILY TRADITION

First off let me start by saying Happy Easter I hope everyone is doing exactly what they want this weekend, I plan on catching up with the family and eating chocolate, lots of chocolate. Right now though I have ended up waking up at like 5am and decided that this is probably the best time to sit down and write a half decent post, in about 30 minutes I’m expecting the kids to wake up and a massive game of hide and seek or tag to kick off and I want to be in the best possible position for what ever game we end up playing and not have worry about getting this post done.

Today is the day of the Spear family Easter egg hunt and for those of you that have been reading this post of the past year will know from last year’s egg hunt, its not something that can be done lightly. It’s a full blown Egg hunt by which everyone (the kids) has their own bag and run around the garden collecting eggs, there aren’t any winners or losers just the person with the most eggs is what the adults tell the young ones Flo (age 4) and Phoebe (age 10) but that’s not the way I see it, right now its war and when chocolates on the line it’s every man or toddler for themselves. Watch this space people.

One thing that does feel weird when I think about it, is the fact that I was doing this blogging malarkey and this is now my second Easter post, its crazy to think how much my writing and photography skills have improved. I’ve gone from being that drop out dyslexic kid who struggles with all things grammar and can’t really write, to someone who’s now confident in the content I put out there and actually enjoying the process of writing and getting my ideas from my head. Don’t get me wrong there are still many mistake that make it through but when you think about the first posts I wrote, they were literally 2 sentences long and full of mistakes, to now writing mini essays about topics that I find genuinely interesting. It’s a massive change. I’ve gone from having a writing age of about 7 years old to now probably a solid 16/17 years old and that’s something I’m pretty proud of and I have a whole website where I can show the improvement. I just know that its something I need to keep up and try to push to new levels and see just how far I can take this whole blog thing, I’ve got some really interesting plans / ideas for when this 3 a day is over and I hope that I can continue to interest you guys into reading my posts.

I was going to leave those “cringy” reflection posts for the last day but to be honest I couldn’t think of anything else to write so I just thought I would give you guys an insight into what I think of my writing. Moving on from that, its time for my second cup of coffee and to get prepped for the Easter Egg hunt, they maybe family but its time to get my head in the game and find those eggs, may the best person win, good luck Flo and Phoebe, you’re going to need it.

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– Stopping off on the way to Michelles for a quick beer –
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– And relax –
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– I cant believe ive been doing these post of a whole year and havent taken a picture of Kings Cross or maybe I have and just forgotten –

 

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B357 – NOT JUST A HUGH GRANT FILM

So now im sat on my sofa after driving back from a long day of shooting in Kent, its like 10:30pm and Im trying to get this post done so i can watch an episode of Sinner before I go to bed. All in all today has gone pretty well, and it feels good to be back at the flat knowing that the shoot went well. The plan for todays post is to show you some more photos from the other day in notting hill, for those of you that arent so familiar with this place that features heavily in that film with Huge Grant which by the way is called Notting Hill, apart from that its been home to the likes of Jimi Hendrix as well as Damon Albarn and George Orwell.

I think though one of the best reason to head over to this part of town is for all those crazy little shops that sell thinks that you don’t even realise you need, till you see it for sale. thats the kind of place it is, like the door knob shop, which by the way I think it really cool, they basically create custom door knobs, how cool is that. I know plan on installing new door knobs on everything I can in the flat from cabinets to bedroom doors if thats even possible. Ive been fully sucked into this idea, I just need to get my vision past Amy first.

Notting Hill kind of has its own style that aren’t seem to be recreated anywhere in London, its got the hustle and bustle of Camden but the social standing of Chelsea, its a place where Sirs and Madams live in harmony with Goths and rock stars. Im not sure if thats just a 2018 thing or if its always been that way, though I cant imagine Jimi Hendrix is the type of person to live in a quite part of the town.

Im going to keep this post short as I need to catch up on Sinner and also spend to time chilling out. I hope you all had a good monday and all getting ready for easter.

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– Driving back to london tonight, I love the london Sky line. this might be all out of focus but I had the wrong lens on the camera. Sorry  –
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– this guy just wanted to play the guitar and pose like a Glastonbury Headliner –
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– I really like this kind of mirror, the Cafe shops round Notting hill are worth the trip too –

 

B351 – ALWASY TRYING TO CREATE OR CAPTURE MOMENTS.

This morning Ive been having a little look at my stats and all those things about my posts to see what it is that you actually read and what you guys think is terrible and after nearly 12 months of these posts it’s becoming pretty clear what kind of posts do well and what kind of ones just suck. so today my plan is to try and understand  how I can keep these posts up and think of interesting techniques and ideas to keep you guys engaged.

I know that some days aren’t going to be as interesting or education than others but thats just the way of the world, each day I am trying to take good photos and keep them interesting and when I started this how 3 photos a day challenge, I never realised how important the writing aspect would become, its now more important than the photos in a way, I need to keep the writing interesting, and use it to explain my photos and my reasons behind them.

Now I could of just post three photos on instagram each day for a whole year, but that would of been easy in my eyes and would probably been so I could build instagram followers. I wanted to push myself and give myself something to dedicate my life too each day for a whole year, no days off and that is what Im pushing myself todo, learning about media management, camera management, learning to think editorially and most of all finding a photo in anything and spotting a good bit of light and just taking the best possible photo. and if you think about it, at the end of the year Im going to having something that not that many people have, and something that did cost that much money to start.

so after than little ramble of mine, how was yesterday? well, I wasn’t out and about or even travelling anywhere, I was just in a studio and then the pub. So taking photos can become generic and I could of just posted three photos of a pint but while I am having some down time, I realised that in the back of my mind I was thinking about photos and ” if that shot will work” and that made me happy, because it was the first time I had realised that my brain is now automatically thinking about photography and lighting, how cool is that!

right I need to get dressed and leave for work any minute now, so sorry to end this post really quickly but I really need to get a move on. heres my photos from yesterday, I hope you like them.

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– leaving work and just caught the last bit of sun for the day –
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– this wall paper is really cool, I kind of what it in the spare room maybe –
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– I lost all four games of pool. –

 

B349 – THIS IS PERFECT

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.

Heres my photos of the hotel, enjoy.

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– beer and wings all for £7 something, what could possibly go wrong with that –

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– look at that duvet, perfect. every one stop shop hotel around the country should take note –

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– I know its pretty stripy but I kind of like it. Amy can we do this with the bedroom –

B348 – MY IMPORTANT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS.

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.

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– this was the area I had to work with, as you can see theres pretty much everything you can imagine to make this shot impossible, and yes it is slightly out of focus because I had to run back and take this shot but forgot I was in auto so it was pretty much just a really rushed shot – 
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.

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– I know you can see some reflections but thats just from the shop and doesn’t show any of me, also you do have some long shadows but theres nothing you can do about those without a reflector or even a flash gun or other photography lights – 

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– see if I shot from this side with the sun behind my back you can see my legs on the cup, if I was to shoot this properly, I would have brought with some some extra lighting and a reflector. also look at the strong shadow on top of the froth! that is something you really want to avoid! – 
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.

 

 

 

 

B346 – THE BIGGEST BRAIN FART

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.

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– Beer one –
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– Beer two –
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– moving to Gin and tonic that was probably the best choice I made today –

 

B343 – THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT BIG CHALLENGE…

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.

Sorry in advance both Amy and my parents.

Heres some snaps, I hope you like them.

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– norfolk beach, it literally goes on for miles –
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– bank tube station this morning before rush hour had started –
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– borough market, the best place for food in london, also where they filmed bridget jones and lock stock and two smoking barrels –

 

B338 – HEATHROW 4 STARS – PREMIER INN

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.

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– This would have been a good photo if I used the right lens, but unfortunatly Im in bed now and have to be up in like 5 hours, so think this will just have todo –
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– I did how ever really like the embroiled sleepy moon picture on the side of my pillow –
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– this soap on the wall, I really dont like this stuff. does anyone use it and like?

 

 

 

B323 – MY HOTEL ROOM – 7/10

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.

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– clean bedsheets make all the difference –
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– a good size room is also the difference between a good nights sleep and a bad one –
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– the shower head isnt too impressive but lets the water temp is consistant –

 

B321 – HYDE PARK IN THE MORNING, NOTHING BEATS IT.

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.

Heres my photos from today.

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– I hope Will and Kate are happy with his view –
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– I know I say it most days but the light this time of year is definetly something to rant about –
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– living in East london, you forget how good Hyde Park is –
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– I bloody love london and my Iphone –
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– me in a rare occasion of wearing a suit, I think this photo was taken in 2015 or something. Look at that hand gesture –