New and shiny isn’t always better. Moving from Squarespace to WordPress

Old_siteI’ve been with Squarespace as my blogging platform for many years and they did a great job. Fantastic templates and a solid publishing platform. That is until they updated to version six. Then everything became that little bit harder.

Photo galleries were always a pain and a lack of widgets and a very counter intuitive editor left me frustrated. Add to this an unusable mobile app on Android and it was time to say goodbye.

So why WordPress? I’ve built seven websites using either WordPress.com or WordPress.org in the last five years. Sure they are not quite as beautiful as Squarespace but they are fast and free and I’m afraid that trumps pretty and hard in my book.

I’m not just a cheapskate but $96 a year is hard to justify for the aesthetic advantages alone.

Does yourself find this awesome?

   

I happily accept that language is an organic and evolving thing; that’s why we don’t say five and twenty to five for 4.35 any more. I like ‘my bad’ and I can tolerate the odd street speak without being violently ill. But two phrases have been cropping up in my life that drive me into a, foam-at-the-mouth, rage.

The first is the use of yourself in place of you. “Is there anything else yourself would like with that washing machine?”. “Would yourself like extended insurance”. No, the only bloody thing I’d like Mr Illiterate Call Centre person is for you to use the English language properly. It is like a knife stuck in my ribs and the next person who does it will be forced to sing the following Stevie Wonder song….after I’ve explained who Stevie Wonder is.

Yourself are the sunshine of myself life
That’s why I’ll always be around, 
Yourself are the apple of myself eye, 
Forever yourself’ll stay in myself heart 

The next one is AWESOME (always over emphasised). This is a hideous Americanism and actually means cool or excellent. However, it is used as an equivalent of a pause. US radio journalists will listen to a three minute opinion piece on net neutrality, the abolition of female circumcision or particle physics and with nothing to say just spout out…. awesome.

Speaker “…so in conclusion my belief is that if the funding for the LHC is approved we can reduce global warming and provide food and water to 90% of the starving world and it will cost 1% of GDP for most developed nations”

Presenter “………….AWESOME”

Awesome should be reserved for things like fill you with awe, like the birth of your first child, a stunning sunset or Zeus flinging thunderbolts from Mount Olympus. Not some app for your smartphone that makes fart sounds.

Three days in Venice

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After the rigours of Northumberland I thought I’d have a relaxing time photographing on my own in Venice. I went with the idea of escaping the crowds and shooting at night and early in the morning and thought that much of what I’d do would be in mono. In the end it was a mixture of the two.

Venice is awash with tourists even before Easter but even so there were alleyways to explore. My only moments of buttock-clenching fear wasn’t pick pockets but wandering down alleyways in the pre-dawn and seeing the odd rat zoom past. Given their diet of Fegato alla Veneziana and Fettuccine Vongole they are the size of Dachshunds (well almost).

So here are a few of the best images

 

Landscapes in Nothumberland

I spent the last few days of March this year on a landscape photography course in Northumberland. A group of slightly older gentlemen and one intrepid lady crawled out of bed at 5.00am to shoot Bamburgh Castle at sunrise, scrambled over rocks, carried heavy camera bags in force 9 gales and generally had an excellent time. It only rained once for about ten minutes which counts as a record for that part of the work. 

These are some of the images I took at Bamburgh, Dunstanburgh and Lindisfarne castles. Gorgeous scenery and I managed to bag a few decent pictures.

Then onto Venice but those shots will available in a later post

 

LRPS Advisory Day – Doom Decends

So when last you checked in I had prepared my panel and was feeling confident. I then headed off for my Advisory Day on 15th February and my small bubble of euphoria popped like a hedgehog rolling across a bubble wrap factory. The excellent advisor’s spotted that some of my prints were on different stock and the printing on some was a bit soft. They also suggested swapping a few prints.

Jump forward a week and £400 for a new printer and I was back in business. Print quality restored but confidence eroded.

However, undeterred I have booked by assessment day for 11th June. So if you’re in Bath and hear reports of a man throwing camera gear into the River Avon you’ll know the reason.

LRPS Advisory Day – The panel is finished…I hope.

For those who haven’t been following my saga, I decided a few months ago to try and get my ‘L’ or Licentiateship of the Royal Photographic Society. This involves having a panel of ten mounted images assessed by a group of RPS judges. 

In an attempt to produce something decent, I decided to turn to follow RPS members for some advice and posted a panel on the RPS Forum. A few forum members took the trouble to provide some really useful criticism and I got some great advice. So I scratched my head and redid parts of the panel. I dropped Whitewall.com for the printing as they were very expensive and slow and went to Photobox who were fast and much cheaper.

I dropped the mono shots and tried to create a overall theme that is tonally similar but contains a variety of style and subject matter. 

I have now mounted the 10-12 alternatives for my Advisory Day on February 15th so I’m feeling pretty chilled out about it all now. Skip forward a few weeks and I’ll be a wreck after the advisors rip the panel apart and I’m forced to retreat to my photographic cave and lick my wounds. Watch this space.

 

Dawn photography – the antidote to Christmas

After a Christmas filled with a bad cold, too many parties and grey skies, I was looking forward to a chance to get out with my camera and try and get some half decent shots. So for reasons I can’t quite understand even now, I got up at 5am and drove off to Boscombe Pier near Bournemouth. 

I chose this for no other reason than it might be an interesting spot for some long exposure photography and the wind was strong enough that the waves may not be pounding but would at least be interesting. So I headed off in the dark and drove to the deserted beach to set up my camera, try and avoid frost bite and capture the pier.

Then a bit of Lightroom and Photoshop love later and I had four shots I’m happy with. An unexpected result and it reminded me that often the best results come when you set expectations low and just go for it.

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