They Can’t See Your Shoes On The Radio

My last blog post came about after bumping into fellow photographer Ian Robertson who also happens to present a photo themed radio show on Camglen Radio.  Well today’s blog continues that story as Ian recently invited me into the studio to be interviewed about my photography, and today was the big day.  

I’d mentioned it to one of my friends at work a week or so beforehand.  He suggested I should consider having somebody do a voice over for me, as he seems to be under the impression that I have an accent.  What can I say?  I’m from Walsall, he’s from Wigan.  You’d think there would be some kind of solidarity between us, both coming from alphabetically disadvantaged towns.

Ian asked me to provide a couple of my photos to be displayed on the radio station’s Facebook page while I talked about them.  It’s not easy just picking out one or two images from your portfolio.  It’s a bit like being asked to choose which of your children is your favourite.  Anyway I selected two…photos, not children.  The first one of Bank Street in Greenock, and the second one of the Armadillo in Glasgow.  Both photos that you may have seen before, but if you’d like to hear a bit about how they were created, click on the link below to listen to a recording of the interview.  (I had to edit it to remove all the music, so I made it into a video to include the photos).

I got everything ready.  I sent the photos through to Ian a couple of days ago along with a couple of song choices to play in between our chat.  (Sorry Chas, I forgot to ask for George Formby!).  I thought about what I was going to say about the photos.  I had a good nights sleep.  I got myself ready.  I went out into the garden. I pottered about and fed the fish. I said bye to my lovely wife.  I set off for the studio.  I got 5 miles from home when I realised I still had my mucky gardening shoes on.  Shit!  Dilemma time.  Do I go home and swap shoes or not?  Well they can’t see your shoes on the radio can they? 

Can they?

I went home and changed them anyway…just in case!

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

You can’t always get what you want…according to the Rolling Stones, and I think they’re older than everybody else on the planet so they must know what they’re talking about.

A few days ago I took a trip down to a spot between Seamill & Ardrossan to try to take a photo of the remains of an old shipwreck on the beach there at sunset.  I’ve seen plenty of great photos by other people taken there so I wanted to have a go myself.  I didn’t even know exactly where I was going as I’ve been up & down the coast road hundreds of times and never actually noticed it before.  I found the spot easily enough this time.  Amazing what a difference it makes when you’re paying attention to your surroundings!

I parked the car a few hundred metres to the North and walked the short distance down the beach to the wreck.  I was already set up & taking photos when another photographer arrived from the opposite direction.  We had a good chat as we snapped away, but ultimately after the sun had gone down & most of the light had faded I don’t think either of us were overly happy with the shots we’d got.  For me the sunset and the light in the sky was happening too far to the North for it to work harmoniously with the shape of the wreck.  Probably a location that works better in early Spring or late Autumn, and the water level up around the base of the wreck would help too.  Oh well…some other time.

This was the best result I got at the location I set out to shoot.

My companion for the evening turned out to be Ian Robertson, the host of a weekly photography show “In The Picture” on community radio station Camglen Radio.  After we’d finished shooting and packing up our gear we headed off in opposite directions back to our cars.  I was about halfway back to my car when the reflection of the late evening sky in a curving pool of water caught my eye.  I couldn’t resist the urge to unpack again and take a few photos as the light in the water contrasted well with the darkness of the sand forming a wonderful leading line towards the Isle of Arran with the last of the sunset’s afterglow.  I was very pleased with the way the evening turned out after making this photograph.

You can’t always get what you want, 

But if you try sometimes well you just might find,

You get what you need.

After I’d posted the image above on Facebook, Ian contacted me to ask if he could feature my photo on his radio programme.  (Yeah I know…photos on the radio…? - well the pic gets posted on the station’s facebook page for listeners to view as it’s being discussed).

Of course I said yes, and you can hear what Ian and his guest photographer Jamie Simpson had to say about the photo by clicking here.

If you’d like this image to hang on your wall, please go to my Prints For Sale page from the menu or click here.

Birmingham Blob Blog

Over the Easter holidays I took a trip down to England to visit my family.  My parents, sister, and oldest daughter Stacey all live in Staffordshire.  Stacey has also been getting interested in photography over the last couple of years, and so on Easter Sunday we went into Birmingham city centre hoping to make some interesting photos.  We found the car park that the app on my phone said would enable the car to be recharged while we were out & about, but on arrival it looked like that plan was already going sour as the charger wanted a smart card to activate it.  Full of hope, I called the helpline number, not really expecting anything other than a recorded message informing me of their office hours, but no…a real person answered.  Not just any real person mind you, no, a real live helpful person who was able to start the charger remotely for me.  Thank you to Plugged In Midlands/Chargemaster.

After leaving the car park there was no alternative, but to see the Selfiges building.  I’m a bit of a fan of bold, modern architecture, but I found this building quite challenging.  Not just photographically, but also aesthetically.  If some of Glasgow’s modern buildings are the spaceships of 1950’s sci fi, then this building has to be The Blob!  

Sorry about the crazy angle, I was running away at the time.  It was already devouring the footbridge to the car park, and I don’t know what happened to the guy in the photo checking his phone…probably never knew what hit him.  Poor bugger.

After escaping from The Blob, Moor Street Station was the next location, and its retro styling was like stepping back in time.  I felt that there was a great photo to be made here, but it eluded me on the day.  I did like the look of this ramp down to the platform and waited for a few minutes for someone to go up or down.  Easter Sunday obviously isn’t Birmingham’s busiest day of the year though and rather than die of boredom waiting for me, Stacey offered to walk down.  

We didn’t have any kind of plan where we were going so we just wandered.  This building used to be the Fox & Grapes pub, but I think it was already unoccupied before it caught fire.

One of my goals when taking photos in a town or city is to try to find images that represent the mundane & everyday aspects as much as the landmarks and other cliché shots.  I do like well done street photography, although I do see a lot of photos taken in the street around the world that seem to have very little thought put into them and which as a result don’t inspire me.  One of the photographers who I think makes some excellent pictures is the American John Free, and I often aim to follow his advice when choosing how I’m going to make the photograph look interesting.  

This is a taxi driving through the tunnel at St Martin’s Queensway.

Say cheese for Stacey!

Where New Street Station used to be there’s now some kind of shiny alien thing.  It appears to be inanimate, but that eye is taking everything in.  I took the opportunity to take some photos of the people around reflected in its outer skin.  Mirrors can be so unkind though.  Sorry Stacey…

Talk about being under the spotlight!  This unusual lamp is outside the Mailbox.  I like the way the red is the only accent against the relatively plain background.

We eventually found our way down to the canal basin at Gas St.  I took a few photos, but nothing really came out the way I had hoped.  With our feet aching we headed back to the car after a fun day together.  Birmingham has plenty to offer, and is one of those places that needs multiple visits to get a feel for how to get the best out of it.  Watch out for The Blob though!

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