• A 2017 Challenge

    A couple of weeks I decided to set myself a major challenge for 2017, my first photography exhibition. The idea came as I was visiting the Edmund Gallery at the Cathedral looking at a painting exhibition. The room is rented out on a weekly basis to anyone looking to hold an exhibition of some sort and after a few enquiries I decided to book a week. So now I have the place from the 29th September 2017 through to the following Thursday.

    Nothing like a good challenge and looking at the place I have my work cut out but looking forward to it and now need to work through the photos I need. Lots more to take and frame and price. Seems a long way off but need to plan it carefully and work out the themes.

    One of the things I am doing is to take photos of the Abbey Gardens at the start of each month to see the season changes.

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  • Bourne, Star Trek and others

    Long time since posted anything on here but then again it has been an incredibly busy couple of months. In between the work and other events going on I have still managed to get to the cinema a few times to keep up to date with what is going on this year. First part of the year not been the best in the past few weeks it has not been too bad and have managed to see Bourne, Star Trek, Nixon and Elvis, Miles Ahead, Money Monster.Bourne

    Bourne, first movie in over a decade and still good. The first three are always on TV and a good watch. I loved it, good action and just as expected. A bit of a mishmash of the previous films but the action continues and well worth watching. Coming from an IT background some of the IT related comments make you cringe but it is for the movie so they have to make it all sound impressive. They have certainly left it open for another film in a couple of years time. Well worth the Saturday evening with feet up at the Abbeygate.

    startrekSo what was it last weekend? Star Trek Beyond but had to go to Cineworld to see it and boy can see why I never go there any more the place is dreadful, staff don’t care, dirty etc. Third one in the new franchise and as with the others just as good. A bit more comedy in it this time and I suspect that is down to the involvement of Simon Pegg in the writing. Another fast paced action film and good fun to watch, nice and easy. well worth it. Again left in a position which means they can do another one which I presume they will. I will definitely be watching this one again when it goes to Abbeygate.

    poster-elvis-nixon-largeNixon and Elvis was brilliant much much better than I expected and if you haven’t seen it go and see it. It was a surprise to see so few people in there though and not sure why. It was a very funny and entertaining movie. Will watch it again when released online.

    Back in June went to see Miles Ahead, about Miles Davis. I have liked his music or many years but have never known anything about the main who produced it. So watching this movie it was amazing to find out so much about his life and just how screwed up he became. Incredibly well made and acted and certainly another one well worth watching when you get a chance.

    Next one at Abbeygate will be The Life of Brian in Augustmiles.



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  • Does the world ever change?

    logoIf you are in Amsterdam over the coming weeks, before the 10th July and have a couple of spare hours then I strongly recommend you head over to a very good exhibition at the De Nieuwe Kark in central Amsterdam. It is a fantastic building both outside and inside and just visiting for that is worth it. However at the moment World Press Photo have an exhibition in the building promoting the work of visual journalists. It is an exhibition full of amazing photographs from around the world covering many happy subjects but also some incredible sad and moving topics.

    As you walk in there is an impressive board showing the photo of the year from 1955 through to present day and there are many on there which you will recognise. There is also a new project ‘Streets of the World‘ showing photographs from Jereon Swolfs as he has visited most countries in the world over the past seven years. Well worth spending time looking at these and the large projected display they have on show.
    DSC_4738DSC_4737As you move around the place the photos continue to make big impact ranging from those taken many years ago to some as recent as April. Many of the photos show the hardship people continue to live through in different parts of the world and the crazy behavouir of human kind. I took a couple of snaps of just a few of the photos to give you an idea of what to expect.

    The Syrian conflict is represented in several photographs and it is looking into the eyes of people that is so haunting, just a few weeks ago. Also the terrible impact of conflicts around the world and it is the children who suffer the most along with the very poor.




    Sometimes the photographer is just in the right place at the right time.



    Don’t forget to admire the beauty of the building while you are wondering around it compliments the photography incredibly well.

    One thing that jumps out after looking at the exhibition is just how little the world has changed over the years. Going back to the photographs from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s you see the same themes continuing, the same pain in people’s eyes, the same tragedy happening across the world. Have we really progressed that much? Some ways yes, many no.

    Overall a fantastic exhibition, go and see it, details here.

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  • Eddie the Eagle

    Quad-Van-AW_29880-Eddie-the-EagleLast night went to the first showing this week of the new film Eddie the Eagle at my favourite cinema Abbeygate :). If you are looking for an upbeat, feel good movie then go see this, if you are looking for something serious and factually correct then don’t bother.

    Sat down with a good glass or red, relaxed and waited for the start. Cinema was full of all sorts of ages and some clearly wondering what all the fuss was about. The film starts in the early days of Eddie and his attempts at getting to the Olympics and the unconventional approach he took to getting into the 1988 Winter Olympics. The British Olympic Association didn’t come of very well from the film, hardly surprising. In order to get a film that fit into an hour and a half they changed a lot of the facts, including the number of coaches he had and locations but you get the picture from the film of the struggle he had to get there.

    What I had forgotten about was that he continued to train and tried to get into future Olympics but failed each time. Love the scenery out there in the Alps and Canada and it has reminded me just how much I have missed not going out on skis for two seasons now, next year I will definitely be out there somewhere.

    Well worth a visit in all these times of bad news on TV good to watch something entertaining. 7/10 for this one.

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  • Big and not so big cats …

    jessops75_logoI’ve talked about Jessops before here and the excellent customer service they provide and how helpful they are at the stores, I put them in the same league as John Lewis. They not only sell hardware but also photography courses and it is clear they are looking to expand this area. Earlier this year I was looking through them and thought long and hard and then took the plunge and booked on the Big Cats Experience. So last Sunday the time came around to head over to Hertfordshire for the day and I am glad, turned out to be a fantastic day, even with a short thunder storm. Now I am no photography expert and I was using the day to enhance my skills and take photos of something very different.

    CSTLogoHT_h80The day is hosted at The Cat Survival Trust over in Hertfordshire. It is not open to the public just members and specially arranged trips such as the Jessops experience day. When you look at the website before you go you do start to wonder what sort of setup it is. The trust is on a twelve acre site with a small farm shop at the front and is run by Dr Terry Moore. Setup in 1976 (although he was doing work before this date) it is a place which houses various wild car species for education and conservation, they house unwanted or surplus wild cats from zoos and collections. Last week they received three leopards on a temporary basis from a zoo in the north while their enclosure is being rebuilt. As art of the cost of the experience you get a years free members to the trust and can go back whenever you like and I certainly will be doing that.


    Snow Leopard

    The day consisted of about 15 of use, two people from Jessops (Phil Gould and Lizzie James) and Terry Moore and another college from the trust. A brief introduction is given of some of the key areas to focus on during the day and it became clear very early on that there is a very wide range of experience in the group. It is not a day to teach you photography, Jessops have other courses for that, it is about the experience and the team are there to help guide you and ensure you make the most of the day. There are two key areas of the site the small and big cats and we split into two groups to cover them. At first you may think that it is not very large but the time very quickly disappears. What makes this different from a zoo? Simple just how close you can get to the cats very very close and you certainly have to respect them, they may look cute but their teeth say something different.

    Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard

    Throughout the day I managed to take a massive amount of photos and after discarding the poor quality ones I was very pleased with a small group of them, just a few shown here and more on Facebook. There are many pictures which I like but probably my favourite on is this one, take just a couple of feet away from the lens.DSC_1392

    Overall the day was fantastic and 4.30pm came around far too quickly. The cat trust does a lot of great work with the cats and they are very dedicated to what they do and incredibly helpful when you are there. The same goes for both Phil and Lizzie who were both extremely knowledgeable, helpful and patient throughout the day. It is money well spent.


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  • Hail, Caesar! and Sicario

    MV5BMjQyODc3MTI2NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDMxMjU2NzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Recent visits to the cinema, Abbeygate, have taken in a couple of very different films.

    The first was Hail, Caesar! which has quite a few stars in who clearly did it just for the fun of it and something easy to do. If you want something very simple and easy to watch, which will make you laugh at times, then this is worth a couple of hours of your time but don’t expect a classic. Set in the 1950s it is about the Hollywood studios and some of the stories around them and the way the key character played by James Brolin, keeps the actors in line. Also gives a little snippet how how much it was a production line of films at the time. Clooney was funny and you do wonder at times why he took the film on but glad he did. It is very easy to watch and ridiculous at times and jumps around a bit but it was very entertaining.




    By contrast Sicario is a very different type of film and very dark about the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico. It paints a dark picture of the area and I can’t see this helping the Mexican tourist trade, not exactly a place you want to visit. Quite a few twists and you have to pay attention, the music score certainly adds to the atmosphere and you realise there is a very different world out there. I think nearly everyone left the cinema in silence at the end of this one. Overall it was good as it does challenge a serious subject and you do wonder how they will ever win the fight against drugs, if at all.




    Glad I went to see both films but I won’t be rushing back to see these ones again, put them on the shelf for when there is nothing else on.

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  • Manchester

    manchester-united.altimgManchester is famous for two things;

    1. I was born and raised there :)
    2. Manchester United, once the best club in the world but having a few challenges now.

    I moved to Suffolk many years ago but haven’t forgotten where I came from. Over the years though I have been back on many occasions mainly for family events but more recently it has been less frequently. In January I was back there for a day visiting the client for my current project. Took the train up to Piccadilly and spent the morning around there. Before my train back I have a couple of hours spare and took a wander around the place. Considering that Piccadilly station is the main one in the city you would think that the area around it would something special, but in fact you will be very disappointed.

    I wandered around for a while but everywhere I went it looked very run down and neglected. The whole area just needs a lot TLC, loads of rubbish around. It was a great shame to see the place like that. I am sure there are areas which are much better looked after but what I saw didn’t inspire me to return very soon.

    Hopefully I just saw it on an off day.

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  • Star Men

    smWent to see Star Men today at the Abbeygate cinema, it was a very late booking and was the only time they are showing this at the cinema. Glad I did go along as it was excellent and something very different from the recent films that I have seen. It is four retired English astronomers who are all in their 70’s now who decided to celebrate the 50 years since they studied at the California Institute of Technology and where they often went on various roadtrips out into the middle of nowhere. It is documentary style and they interview each of the astronomers as they go through the film. It is amazing how much they did in their lifetime and how they contributed to the field quite humbling really. They were joined by Alison Rose who produced the documentary and encouraged them to talk more about what they achieved and life today.

    They reproduced the road trip to Rainbow Bridge in Utah with two of them and Alison walking for a couple of days. It was clearly a lot tougher for the guys than they remembered event the fit one Roger Griffin who runs the London marathon each year and last time was in 3hrs 57 mins! It was funny listening to them chat about things and one of them still wearing his shirt and tie walking through the hot Utah desert. They made it in the end and the bridge was incredibly impressive. It was incredibly listening to them talk about the universe and just how vast it is and their findings. Does make you think just how little we explore places in our own lives!

    It was a very pleasant hour and a half and well worth watching if you get the chance. Will give this one 8/10.



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  • Bury Christmas Doors

    This morning thought I would do something a little different before the rain arrived for the day here in Bury St Edmunds (map). Lots of houses hang some sort of wreath out on the door over the Christmas period and being the last weekend before most will come down it was now or never to record some of those which have been used this year. Many traditional but at the same time a lot which are quite individual in taste. Anyway below are a selection of those I managed to get pictures of before the heavens opened. Original photos can be found here.

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  • Bury St Edmunds

    DSC_1812If you like visiting towns that have a lot of history and some very good architecture then it can do you no harm to visit Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. The place has a wonderful cathedral and always puts in a lot of effort to ensure people come and visit. The Abbey Gardens being a major attraction.

    Yesterday morning I decided to crawl out of bed early as it was going to be a clear morning and headed into town with the camera and tripod to get a few shots of the sun rising. The actual sunrise itself was not that impressive this time but I managed to get a few shots form the gardens. Before the gardens were open I spent a bit of time on Angel Hill playing around with the settings taking a few pictures of the cathedral tower and gardens entrance.


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