A daily blog is too much.

The one thing I have got a lot better at over the last few months is knowing when to make changes. I can be accused (some cases rightly so) at changing my mind too often. But that said with each choice I make other previous choices or decisions have to be questioned.
When I decided to do a daily blog it was to create some discipline around my blogging and also add some content to what was at the time a fairly empty blog. My blogs used to be written first thing on a morning just after my meditation time and this was a period I had spare. Recently I have taken on a study course online to gain a qualification and finding the time to fit this in is proving a challenge. So from this week, I am going to concentrate on this and the blogs will be fitted in to spare time as and when it comes up. So this is a long way of explaining I am stopping the daily blog, it's just too much.
I was also becoming aware that I felt pressured into writing a blog and in some cases, it was forced and that is not the kind of writing I want to do. When I was out in Wakefield last week with John I noticed he only took a few shots to my 450plus. He was waiting for the shot to feel right. He made pictures I took photos, a big difference in mindset. I was in many ways shooting loads and hoping at least a few of them would be ok. Only shooting when it feels right is how I want to photograph going forward and I only want to blog when it feels right and I have something interesting to say is also my desire.
I also have to consider what this blog is. Is it all about photography or can I add posts that are more about what I see going on in the world as I see it?
Anyway, another week is ahead of me and another week to learn more and look at making more pictures.


Long lease and John.

On Friday I had a little pootle around Wakefield with John as he again shared some of his photography tips, but this time out in the street. I had another lens in my collection to test, a 55-200mm and it was the lens I have used least over the years.
It was nice to be out shooting with someone else, I enjoyed the fact I felt someone had my back and strangely two blokes pointing cameras at people does not look just quite as weird as just me. I was also aware we both stand well above 6ft so who was going to say anything anyway. 
From the get-go, it was so interesting to see how a professional experience photographer sees the world. John has a keen eye (as he does this for a living that should not have been surprising) and I was impressed just how he could see a shot when I missed it completely. But as the time went on I got more into it and was more open and mindful of situations that looked "interesting"
I was on full manual mode, this feels like the way it should be done and even now after only a few sessions using manual I am getting the understanding of the camera a lot better.
In previous blogs, I had talked about how scary street photography was and how I was nervous about encroaching on peoples privacy and this was dictating the shot I took. Today I had a lot more confidence. This was partly to do with getting used to actually being out there but also a lot to do with the lens I had on today.
So the lens. Well I have to say I loved using the 55-200mm it felt good, was quick and it took some very clear images. It allowed me to stay at a safe distance and still get the shot I wanted. The one drawback was at the 55mm end it was not wide enough and limited me a little bit.
Now I know true street photographers would see a 200mm zoom somewhat of a cheat but f**k that. To be a photographer one must take photos and having help from the lens to get me over my nerves is quite acceptable in my book. My time out with a 35mm shoving into peoples faces may well come or it may not, my enjoyment is taking photos that mean something so the lens is the means to the end.
In all honesty, I started to think about another lens when I got back (yes I know I said no more gear) as the perfect lens yesterday would have been an 18-200mm or even an 18-300mm.
But overall I had a fab time and having John with me shooting than also editing on Lightroom after was another great learning experience.

I have added 3 photoes to the street gallery that stood out in the day and where edited with John's help, have a look you can't miss them, they are the ones that don't look s**t.


Whats the story?

Yesterday I spent the day with a small group of people looking at our connection with nature and storytelling. It is a course called the four seasons, we meet 4 times a year for a full day and these days correspond with Winter, Spring, Autumn and Winter. Through the work we do on these days we explore how we as a species have become more and more disconnected from nature and how over the years we have forgotten the power of stories and the place they hold in our lives to help us learn about our past and navigate our future.

I love storytelling and have always believed in the power of story not just to educate and entertain but to move us is deep. As a rule, I am a very deep thinking and melancholic bloke, and it is deep and melancholic stories I like the best.

Photography is just another form of storytelling but one that challenges the viewer to make up the story based on the image they see. I like dark images, obscure images, images that capture emotion, especially deep and serious ones. 

The other day the true power of photography hit me. I mentioned in a blog that I went into Wakefield early and before going out Sue was getting ready for her Yoga and I was testing my camera and happened to be clicking away as Sue wondered past to get her mats out for her clients, I fully intended to delete these practice shots before I headed out but didn't.

After the shoot I was busy but the day before Yesterday I transferred the images to Lightroom to do some editing. As I was going through them most got deleted as they were s**t but some made it and were good enough, in my opinion, to be put on this site. But the one that really stood out was one of the "practice" images of Sue that I had failed to delete. 

When I looked at this image I liked it, when I viewed it in black & White I liked it even more. Technically it is probably rubbish but as far as an image that captures that dark deep serious mood I connect with, it hit the spot for me.

I want all the pictures I show on this site to have that effect on me. I realise the story that each image tells may be different depending on who it is viewed by and as far as my photography is concerned the images I share have to be what I like, what I feel tells me a story, images that move me. This image of Sue does.

Something is changing in me at a fundamental level around my view of life and creativity and exploring this feels important. 

My day on the 4 seasons program reinforced my view of the importance of storytelling and our responsibility to be telling our stories in as an authentic way. They have to be our stories told in our way and they have to move us for them to be of worth. Everything we produce tells a story.

So I have added the image of Sue below, I was going to say I hope you like it, but in truth, I don't care if you do or don't because I do and a true storyteller should only share the stories that move them. The story that this amage holds moves me.




Goodbye social media, you were useless!

If you have been reading my blogs you will be aware I have been going through some kind of social media detox in recent weeks, even deleting a couple of accounts.
Well, yesterday in a moment of clarity I realised how good my life had become during the detox and how little I missed having to log on to accounts. I am feeling so much freedom and my mindset and focus are better than they have been for a decade or so.
I have had a move towards simplicity for a while now and I a bringing this into my photography, the one camera one lens shooting is really feeling good to me. And in effect without knowing it I have been doing this with my online presence too. I want one website one email, anything over that is just a distraction and not necessary.
So in this moment of clarity, I spent some time imagining life with no Social Media at all, not just not using it, deleting the lot. Now deleting LinkedIn was easy (I have always hated the site) and Twitter was too (I think its dead) but Instagram and Facebook I quite liked. The problem with this is those were the two platforms I was spending all the time on, what would life be like without them. Surprisingly when I thought about not being on them it felt very good, so much so I decided to delete Instagram...its gone and I have deactivated Facebook and plan to allow myself a month before permanent deletion. I have even deleted my YouTube account. So for all intense and purposes apart from this website I am an online ghost. I cant be followed or liked and it feels so liberating. I also deleted my Flickr account. I had set it up and justified it as a place where photographers hang out when in reality it was just some other distraction I did not need.
I have no idea where this simplification and decluttering is taking me but I keep going deeper and just when I think I have got down to just what I need, something else comes up that can go.
At this rate, in 6 months I will have a house with one chair in it, a camera with one lens and a wardrobe with a t-shirt and a pair of jeans and my brown boots, you would be shocked to know how much that appeals to me.


7am Wakefield.

Every Tuesday Sue has some Yoga clients descend on the house to get all bendy and as a rule, I normally either veg out in bed with my laptop or head out to the gym.
Well, this week I was up at 430am and as I pondered the day ahead thought it might be a good opportunity to use the Yoga time to get out early in the City and play with the camera.
It was a cold start and after my last experience out with the camera, I made sure I was well togged up. I had more layers on than an onion and even had my woolly hat on, I looked a bobby dazzler.
The city, especially around the main train station, was full of life but then other bits around the shopping areas were dead, it was Wakefield as I had never seen it before.
I had the 80d with me and a 50mm lens attached. Now the 50mm acts like a 75mm on my camera body and that gave me the ability to be at a more comfortable distance from people and still get a good shot.
One thing that stood out almost from the get-go this morning was my understanding of the F-stop/Iso/shutter speed was a lot better. I could make like a lot easier using either AV or Tv or even P mode but I have decided to use manual at all times.
A little practice and some great tutorials online had me making changes almost instinctively and although some of the shots were boring, the exposure and clarity were very good.
Just mooching around the city so early was nice, it felt good and I enjoyed the hour I sent there and managed to keep warm so I ticked a few boxes.
The other thing I observed about myself this morning was I was much more comfortable with the camera attached to me and almost made a point of having it on a show. Last time out I tried to hide it and it felt a bit sneaky and I must have looked like I was up to no good. Today I felt and looked like a photographer and those around me could make of that what they wanted, I didn't care.
I have to get the images into Lightroom later today and will see if any of them are good enough to show on the blog, I also tried using colour today and took the monochrome off so I was reviewing them on the screen in colour, and I liked that.

So my first early morning shoot was a success and I will certainly be doing more of them, but in typical Booty style, I now want to go out earlier and see what that rings up. 5 am Wakefield is my next goal.


Getting rid is rubbing off

Yesterday I again started to declutter some more stuff from my office. I had some old camera stuff that was no good and had to go. It shows how fast technology moves when a Sony point and shoot I had in a box is blown away as far as quality of the image is concerned by my iPhone. I was going to shove it on eBay but its worth less than the postage to send it anywhere so it is in a box now to go to the charity shop.
What was interesting about the day was how Sue also has been bitten by the decluttering bug. She got up, got dressed then set her sights on sorting the kitchen out. What was even more interesting was how she asked me to record via video and photos the process. By lunchtime, the kitchen looked amazing and was spotless, clear and very minimalistic.
One thing that photography is giving me is a new perspective on everything and a new interest in small details and that seems to be rubbing off on Sue.
Sue is on a creative journey into writing (she is a good writer) and we are both recognising how cutter slows down and restricts our creative ability so decluttering is essential if we are to progress with our skills.
We are getting to the stage now where the house and our respective "own" spaces in it are becoming very sparse and it feels and looks good.
I have my office (man cave) in the cellar and Sue is in the process of converting one of our bedrooms into a space where she can do her writing. 
Between us now we are developing some nice skills with words and pictures and so as we think more about it, having a blog may well be a nice place for us to record some of the stuff we get up to while also helping us with our creative paths...I will make it happen!


Less Stuff

In a seemingly quite innocent comment to Sue this morning I came out with a comment that "I can't remember when I have had more peace in my life than over the last 30 days or so" When it came out I realised I had been questioning in my own head what I had done in recent weeks that had got me to this point and to making this comment. The answer soon came to me, I have less stuff.

Over the last 12 months but more so in the last 3, I have constantly been simplifying aspects of my life and it feels good.
The simplification process got me back into using the camera again and using taking the simplification and minimalist principle into photography feels really good. After this blog, I am going to declutter some of my camera gear, I think over the weekend I have managed to find a setup for my photograph that covers up all eventualities and it can mainly fit into one small bag and when I am  doing street photography, it can actually fit into my jeans pocket.
I have mentioned Erick Kim a few times in recent blogs and I am liking his attitude to Zen and Photography. More and more as I watch and read more articles by him he just seems to be speaking my language. I will add a link to his website at the end of this blog.

Over the weekend I also questioned my Instagram usage. Linkedin and  Twitter have gone but I have some resistance to deleting Instagram, I am going to feel into that today.

What is really clear to me is how I have spent so much time and money accumulating gear, especially around video production and in truth, it has been used as an excuse to not create stuff and me thinking "when I get X/Y/Z, then I will be able to get stuff done" was a very justifiable reason I had made to myself for not actually getting my arse into the street and capturing some moments. 
My photography at this point is pretty s**t but I am cool with that, it will get better. But it will only get better if I actually go do it. So go do it I will, but with a little stuff as possible.


Click HERE to go to Erick Kim's Website.

Kirkgate Station 80D

On Friday morning I headed out around 9 am to have a play with the 80d.
I have had the camera for a while now and bought it purposely because it was very good for video. But I never really used it at all for photos, until now. I normally use my Canon G7x Markii for photos.
I posted a blog last Friday where I mentioned Erick Kim and his practice of using one camera and one lens, so today  I tried that out. The canon 80d with a 24mm prime lens attached.
The first impression of this set up was how light it was and easy to carry. No need for a bag, just the camera slung onto the passager seat of the car and I was away.
I wanted a location close to the house as time was limited (I set myself the goal of 40mins), I also wanted a place that  I knew would have buildings and few people. This was partly to do with wanting to try shooting buildings but also a lot to do with nerves and not wanting people about to make me feel uncomfortable wondering around with the camera attached. We have two train stations in Wakefield, I chose Kirkgate, again to do with my thoughts it would be less busy with the general public, I was right.
The first thing that struck me when I parked up was how quiet the place was. The lack of people and also the grey sky made the place look very eerie especially an abandoned pub next to the station that took my attention. It was also very cold and my choice of t-shirt and leather jacket soon stood out as being a bad choice for maintaining a comfortably warm body temperature.
I removed the lens cover turned on my camera and was good to go. But then I had no idea what to do next! I stood for a while getting colder by the minute and feeling a bit of a pr**k. I was overthinking, I was trying too hard to find some inspiration for the perfect moment to shoot. Then I thought f**k it, have some fun and play!
I started with what first caught my attention, the pub. As I looked at it through the lens I started to feel into how the pub may have been back in the day when it was actually open. All those people who may have enjoyed a libation after their train journey, the noise that would have been heard inside and the smell of beer that would have wafted out of the place as people walked past. It started to come alive in my head and I started to click away.
Having the 24mm prime on meant that any zoom had to be done with my feet and that was interesting and I found that getting the shot I wanted of the front involved me standing in the middle of a road and having to avoid the taxis that headed to and from the station.
The station itself although a grand old building looked kind of plain compared to the pub and I had to really think about what bit of it I could capture that would look interesting. In the end, I found a set of steps away from the building that clearly had not be used much so far that day and still had the grit on them to help with the earlier ice. When I edited and turned it to B&W the image the grit stood out and I like the end result.
My 40 mins soon came and went and eventually I forgot how cold it was, I take this as a sign I had become engrossed in the photo taking process.
I got back in my warm car and headed home. But as I got out f my car I was struck how empty of cars the street was. Normally it looks like a carpark but today no cars just bins as it was bin day and that in itself presented me with a couple of shots that would not be easy to get, and I took them.
All in all this first experience with the 80d was a good one, I was aware of the nerves and awareness of looking daft but that soon passed and having the 24mm only was nice and I think Eric Kim is onto something with this one camera one lens idea. I have several more lenses to try so I look forward to my next outing. And next time I will also be more mindful of the correct clothing, as it took me over an hour back in the house to get feeling back in my hands.

You can check out the shots I decided to keep from my outing by clicking HERE



Although I had some basic editing software on my Mac for making changes to my photos, the more I read online the more the word "Lightroom" kept coming up among serious amateurs and professional photographers.
It was also something that John mentioned so I was curious and had a look at Lightroom.
It is clear that editing is a huge part of the photography world and after playing with a free trial from Lightroom for a couple of days I can see why. I decided to not be too hasty and on Thursday decided to sleep on it. When I woke on Friday I was clear that I needed to have a copy so committed my £10 a month to have access to it.
What really sold it to me was the way I could make even my bad photos look better, quickly and intuitively.
The image on the front page of my website with the cool white background was done in Lightroom. I know a picture of me pointing a camera at you could look a bit cheesy and very "I am trying to look like a photographer" but I like it. 
The other big factor in making the purchase was just how many free tutorials there are on YouTube.
I am looking forward to really getting to know this tool and as it can be accessed on all of my devices including my phone so shows how well the developers (Adobe) have thought it through.


An Extension Of Me.

I spent a lot of yesterday in close proximity and connected to my Camera. The more I touch, use and hold my canon 80d the more it is starting to feel part of me.
After some practice, I can now intuitively find the control keys without having to look at the camera and I have a much better understanding of the menu set up so I can change things I need to quickly. This helps when creating a shot and it feels good.
Yesterday I had the 80d out in daylight and some of the images were brilliant and so full of detail compared to when used in low light inside.
I also spent some time reading blogs and watching videos by professional photographers and what came out for me was the way they are so immersed in their work. It was less of something they did and more something they were. The level of commitment and focus they had was inspiring and motivating. It was also clear that to the pros their cameras are more than just a collection of bits of plastic and metal bits and more an extension of themselves, I aim for that to be the case for me also.
One blog I read by a photographer called Erick Kim was talking about why he used only one camera and one lens. He was writing about how the simplicity of his set up and how the limitations that brings actually pushes him to develop his skill in a way that having a bagful of camera and lens choices wouldn't. This piece of writing really spoke to me and his comment about the "Zen" of photography especially hit a note in me. Today I will among other things be exploring what my one camera and lens will be.
I also revisited my Flickr account and tickled that up a bit, I can have 1TB of storage for free and get to showcase some of my work while also being able to look at other peoples stuff. I will be using it quite a bit methinks.

Anyway, going to keep this blog short today as I have woken after "Sleeping on" an idea to purchase something for my photography work and I am about to make that purchase.....more tomorrow.


Time to get s**t done.

Over the last week, I have been pretty much fully focused on tweaking my website. I have changed it a lot and the site you will see now is unrecognisable from where I started. It took many changes and each one I felt evolved to leave me with a site that I think is just right (for now..lol).
With each day I explore my camera further and learn new things about photography, my excitement is building and I am itching to get out and about and take some pictures.
With anything we start there comes a time when all the ideas have been talked about, the website completed and some semblance of a plan is formed. Then it's time to get into it. The time for me to "get into it" is now.
I have to be honest here, what started as a bit of an idea for a hobby is now something I really would like to look at doing a bit more seriously. There are 1000's of professional photographers out there, why can't I be one of them.
I love the creative word and over the last 12 months, most of my waking hours have been spent messing with websites, making videos and writing some of my stories down. Being creative is not something I like in my life, it's something I need in my life, I see that clearly now.
I am finding I spend my time with creative people these days. Photographers, graphic designers, musicians and foodies. All people who create wonderful things in their own specialised genre.
I have to keep my tech side in check and the slightly obsessive desire to get more gear, the Canon 5d Mk4 keeps finding its way into my Google search. And I am having dreams about lenses that is a bit troubling but probably only a reflection in my subconscious just how into photography I am. The fact is it feels the right place to be and has for some time.
Anyway the blogging each day is holding and that's good. I am not focusing on any one subject at the moment so the posts look a bit random but I will trust this process of experimenting until my thing in the writing space shows itself.

Right, the day ahead beckons and I have stuff to do so off I pop.


Goodbye January, you were awesome

I am mindful of times in my life that have felt important, times when either something very positive happened or time when it all went a bit, Pete Tong. 
1998 was a big year, I quit drinking. (Positive)
2006 I started a business and that was a big deal. (Positive)
2008 My Dad died, not such a great year. (Negative)
2012 Really got my shit together on all fronts (Positive)
2014 Fell off the wagon and almost killed myself (Negative)
2016 Dealt with a lot of personal issues (Positive)

These years stand out has having an impact on me and bringing about some change. There are more I am sure I could mention, but for the purpose of this blog, they will suffice.

As I look back at January 2018 I have to say it has been amazing, and already 2018 is shaping up to me a little bit special. I have no idea what happened when the bells chimed to welcome in the New Year, but I felt different and very focused indeed.
Throughout the last 31 days, I have really taken a hold of my life and give it a right good shake.
Gone is the ridiculous amount of time spent on social media (many accounts deleted for good). My food has been on point, I am now the lightest and most toned I have been since I was a teenager. Any stuff I had that was not being used was either sold or removed to the tip. And the rather large beard I had been cultivation since June 2017 was shaved off. I have never felt or looked better and as hard as some of the processes were to get to this point, it was all worth it.

The purpose of this blog is not to come across as some smug tw*t who is gloating, no it's more a personal note to myself to remember this feeling when the times get tough again, because they will. I am grateful for the moment but also ready for the challenge ahead.

Starting to blog and pick up my camera again was a big deal to me, I had kind of resigned both activities to some cupboard in my office, but now they are out again and feel fresh and new. I am hungry to learn and improve.

I set the intention to enjoy 2018, every second of it, I made no huge goals or started any silly exercise and diet regimes, I just used what I knew worked and was consistent in my execution. Consistency and patience always get results we should remember that. I have  childlike curiousity that had been missing for a while in 2017 and I am open to the oppertunites that show up, while having no expectaions from anybody ot anything. I feel very liberated.

So as we move into the short month of February my intention stays the same and I am ready for it. So come on Feb, bring it on.

I have decided to drop the "And that's the way I see it" end to the blogs. Reading them back it sounded shite. So going forward I will just sign them off with a simple GB.


Blame John!

I did not get to sleep until very late last night and was up very early messing with my website again. I am sleep deprived with a head full of ideas around taking pictures, all because of a man called John.

I have known John for a while now, he is a big man with a big heart and a big camera. Yesterday he gave me some of his time to share some ideas and answer questions I had about how to take good photos. In less than 2 hours I was introduced to a new way of looking at both images and also my camera. In truth, I had never really considered rules of photography until this session with the John.

I learned about the rule of thirds, it was life-changing (well not literally, but I wanted to add a bit of drama to the blog) And as he critiqued some of my recent shots it soon dawned on me that they were shite! As kind as he tried to be the simple fact was they were rubbish and in truth I knew that.

Knowing something is wrong but not knowing why is very frustrating and all you end up doing is producing more of the shit stuff through lack of knowledge. So the fact he was so honest but also showed me why they were bad was priceless. I can now start to think differently and that can only help my photography.

He also gave me some feedback on my black website, and by the fact now you are reading this on a white background you may be able to guess what his advice was.

Once John had left I was on the internet looking at videos and sites and before I knew it the day was at an end and I was still eager to learn more. 

Today I have a shed load of stuff to do (including paying my tax bill) but I only have photography on my mind so that other minor stuff can all wait. So I am likely to pick up a fine from the HMRC and have some people upset and chasing me for the info I promised to email today. And my excuse to all these parties will be...blame John.

I love John's work and his attitude to his craft and you might too. So check out his website by clicking HERE

And that's the way I see it.



I love Mondays

There is always something about the start of a new week that I love.

I see Monday as a chance 52 times a year to have a mini fresh start. No matter how bad I have performed in the previous 7 days, once Monday rolls around the counters are reset and I get a chance to start anew. I like that, I like that a lot.

I was up early this morning and the week ahead is looking busy and after yesterdays small wobble around blogging I am again back to being"On It" and feel full of things to say.
I have not had a "proper job" for some 18 years and I have been able in that time to keep a very flexible schedule where weekends did not have the same meaning for me as those that do the 9-5 grind.

I feel lucky to be able to have a life that allows that flexibility and also feel somewhat sad for anyone walking up today dreading the fact its Monday morning and they have to head out to a job they don't like that much.

I use my Monday morning to reflect on many things and always end up feeling grateful, I think feeling grateful is important, no, essential to having a life that has meaning.
Now I have no Social Media to check I have a lot of time to think and just be. I have stopped chasing goals and instead replaced the chasing with a willingness to allow what I would like to show up in my life to appear. I set an intention then wait, the work is done in making patience be part of the process.

And that's the way I see it.


What have I done?

I found writing a post today felt flat, day one after my commitment to blog daily and I just was not feeling it.

I felt pressured into writing something and that was the last thing I wanted this blog to become. If I had not posted yesterday about doing a daily blog I would not be feeling like this. I have spent weeks removing the need to have to be chained to a laptop or screen and here I am throwing myself back into it all again....will I never learn?
Creativity, in my opinion, has to be spontaneous for it to be any good.

But then I realised that this blog is not just about creativity, it's about my journey into discipline and focus also.

I like a leisurely Sunday and that won't change and even on those Sundays, I have to be honest and say I have time to put a few words together enough to pass as a blog post. 
I even considered changing the daily blog into a daily blog on every day but the weekend. That would work, but not give me what I want.

I have a need now to be committed and know my commitments are real and hold. I have to be in a place that allows me to push myself and do things even when I don't always want to do them.

Over the years I have been told I am too harsh on myself but I have found it is the harshness that brings the growth. Anyone can do anything when they feel like it but most fall over once it gets a bit tough. I want more from myself so expect more from myself.
So apologies for what reading it back is a boring post, but it is necessary because a boring post is better than no post at all.

And that's the way I see it.


This is not a daily blog! or is it?

I woke early this morning and had another blog on my mind to write (this blog is not it by the way)

The one thing I have developed over the last 3 months is more discipline, I was and still can be a fairly lazy bloke who soon loses interest in projects, I am a great starter poor finisher. So discipline is a good thing, right?

At the start of 2018, I started doing a daily journal where I decided to journal for the whole of 2018, this was to create some discipline around my writing....it lasted 18 days.

As my focus is on human behaviour in my work on this website I realise as much as I am fascinated by all human behaviour, my behaviour is the one that fascinates me the most. I have the tendency to think I am a bit mad so f**k knows what others make of me. I really feel for Sue as living with me must be hard work at times.

I have been called many things over the years, many of them not always complimentary, the two words that describe me best and are used most are obsessive and extreme (I am currently 36 hours into a 48 hour fast because I  want to be exactly 11stone in weight by Monday...see what I mean?). I am a black and white, all or nothing kind of dude and the grey areas in-betweens hold no interest for me.

So when I re-hashed my website a few days back and turned it into a blog and photography portfolio, the idea was to blog as and when the inspiration came. Problem is that a grey area. So I thought, well maybe every Friday...too much like how other bloggers operate. I could choose never to blog, that's fairly black and white but would result in no content. So in my usual extreme and obsessive manner I am going to challenge myself to do one every day. It will tick both the doing more writing and the must be obsessive boxes and should, in theory, make me more disciplined (well that's the theory, I have absolutely no evidence to back it up)

So the idea of a daily blog hit me. And as I have done a few days on the bounce now I have a base to start from...result.

Now, in my opinion, the reason the 2018 journal lasted such a short time was that it was me writing about my day and what I had done and in reality it was boring, a lot of my days are very similar in their structure and content. This blog is different and it's me sharing my opinions. Now as I have also been called opinionated over the years (I am not sure that falls into complementary or not, but for the purpose of my own ego and sanity I will class it as complimentary) finding daily content should not be such an issue.
So my first target is to beat the 18 day run the journal managed. If I get to and past that we will see how long I can keep it going. Since my departure from Linkedin and Twitter and my avoidance of Facebook and Instagram, I have a lot more clarity and focus and a daily blog kind of feels like the right thing to do now. It will also help me deal with the still quite intense need to use a keyboard and post online.

So I will record here in writing my intention and commitment to the daily blog. I am well pumped for it an believe it will become popular to millions of people all over the world (I say this about every idea I have) But if I end up deleting the entire site and starting over this time next week I would not be at all surprised, neither would anyone who knows me well.

I once read that a man that keeps changing his mind will never accomplish anything and that may be true but never changing my mind sounds boring, predictable and way too normal for this cat. There is nothing extreme or obsessive about same!

And that's the way I see it


My First Wakefield street session.

My first real experience of Street Photography came on a trip to York in December last year when I purposeful spent some time walking around with my camera taking shots of what I found interesting.
I got some good images, most of which through some schoolboy error I ended up deleting while messing with my camera settings.
So yesterday I headed into the metropolis of Wakefield to have another go.
My car was in for some work so I had an hour to spare, a city to explore and my little Canon G7s Mkii in my pocket, what fun this would be me thought.
The reality was a lot different. In York, it was so busy that getting close-ups of people was easy. I blended in with the others hoards of tourists with a camera and I found it easy. But today in Wakefield I found it a real struggle and at times felt daft. A cold Thursday morning around 9 am with people looking half asleep and me mooching around trying my very best to look inconspicuous while cupping my camera in my hands held close to my crotch could have to any normal people look a little strange, if not a lot creepy. it certainly felt weird and uncomfortable to me.
After 10min I started to see my reflection in shop windows as I glided past and I started to think I looked creepy so decided on a new tack. I would be more overt with my camera usage and hokd it in front of my face, this was even worse.
Finding people on phones (which was my intended focus today) was easy, even with only a handful of people out and about so early it was staggering how many of them had some device attached to their ears. But as much as they seemed to be in a zombie-like state using them, this soon changed when a ginger bloke pointed a camera at them, then they soon became alert and very twitchy.
The little G7X is only tiny so I could soon make it disappear into my jacket pocket, if I had been armed with my larger DSLR I could have had some explaining to do.
The hour soon passed and as I wandered back to the MOT station to pick up my car I was mindful of how many time the fantasy never equals the reality.
Has it put me off the idea of street photography? NO, not at all, but I need to be more in your face with my subjects and that will take time and require me to push through some nerves, so not a bad thing.

And that's the way I see it.


Twitter, you were warned!

Well less than 24 hours after deleting my LinkedIn account, I have now sent my Twitter account to the trash bin. Why? because it's total bo***cks.

At one point at the height of my Twitter usage back in 2012, I had over 25k followers mainly all got through following back or buying them to create some kind of illusion I was popular or had anything remotely interesting to say. 
The fact is I have not had one positive outcome from any of my time on Twitter, and if I dare to consider the time I have spent on it over the years it's shocking just how much of life I have wasted on the platform.
It has been on the decline for a while and in my humble opinion, it is only relentless tweets from washed up celebrities and Donald Trump that keeps the thing going, that and "online gurus" selling courses on how to use Twitter for business.

To see arguably the most powerful man on the planet take to social media and tweet in a manner that would be embarrassing from a pubescent teenager who had just been dumped, is at best pathetic but for me, it's deeply troubling and I have to question the sanity of anyone who advises him.

But it's not just Trump f**ing his career up in 140 characters or less (I know it's been changed but I can't be arsed googling the new letter count). There is a steady stream of business people, sports personalities and politicians who are getting into hot water because of something they Tweeted, yet they continue to do it. This proves as well as being untalented they are indeed galactically stupid.

As I sat yesterday morning taking in the gravity of my decision to delete Linkedin I received an email from Twitter about what I was missing on my timeline and that was all the excuse I needed to press the delete button. My account is now in deactivation mode meaning they will have 30 days to bombard me with emails giving reasons I am ruining my life by leaving them, then by day 15 will present me with some potential apocalyptic disaster scenario if I go through with quitting.

I feel it would be only fair to email them back to tell them the futility of this action, but like the lunatic drunk who tries to talk to you in the airport before you jet off on your holiday, I don't want to encourage them by getting into chit-chat. 

And that's the way I see it.


LinkedIn to LinkedOut

Today at 709am I permanently deleted my Linkedin account.

During my little break from Social Media, I have become aware just how much better I feel not having to check my feeds and get into aimlessly watching and reading posts that have no real value to me just to find the odd one that does.
Now when I talk about social media I am normally referring to Facebook as that was the real source of my misery and frustration, but what about the others?
Well, they are no better, I am finding it hard to think of any redeeming qualities from other platforms with the exception of Instagram that provides me with a source of amusement at just how vain some people are. I am also amazed on Instagram how many likes a picture of some women doing squats in tight white yoga pants can get. But saying that as I am neither a woman or own any white Yoga pants, I have to question my reason for being on Instagram also.
But this morning the king or Queen (don't want to upset the sexual equality crew) of bulshit social media networks Linkedin was the focus of my wrath. 
Having received yet another email from them after unsubscribing several times I decided to go on and change my email settings, my first visit to the site in weeks. I found I had over 100 messages from people trying to sell me shit I don't need or want and 37 connection requests from people I have never met and most of whom had profile pictures that would not look out of place on Crimewatch.
I found I had been recommended for skills I don't even have, by people I don't even know. Then I read a post from someone I have knowledge off and it made me cringe at the level of self-serving shite they were spouting. I kind of flipped.
Now the one thing about Linkedin I have to praise them for is that they make deleting the account really simple (2 clicks) so 3 minutes and 2 clicks after I had logged in, I was gone and gone for good. But what have I done? Surely my business life in now ruined without the connections to the 1874 people on there? Well let me think about that for a moment.

Will it affect my career??...I doubt it.
Will I lose out on the latest business info??...probably not.
Will I have less exposure on Internet searches??..I can live with that.
Will I have one less time wasting, low value, wanker infested Social Media account to check??...That's a BIG yes.

So, one down, maybe several to go, but who might be next. Well, I am not exactly sure but if I was Twitter I would be keeping my head down.


Put up, then shut up.

My website has gone through many different versions over the last 2 years. From personal blog to a Life coach, from alcohol counsellor to business advisor and a few obscure versions of me in between.
The fact is I have been swept away by the tide of the internet hype and this has taken me to places I never wanted to go and show me sides of people and society I never knew existed and  never wanted to see. All this because I fell into the trap of believing that the internet was the way forward and spending countless hours and energy to get more followers was the right thigs to do, alas, it was a road leading to a dead end. 
January this year saw my long and complicated relationship with social media breakdown and we entered a kind of enforced separation while I decided if we were right for each other.
In this period apart I made it clear I was going to try some other things and revisit some old friends that I used to spend time with (words and pictures) I sensed that Social media did not like the sound of this and in the first few days apart did its best to drag me back...but I resisted.
I picked up paper books again, I wrote little stories and journals for no other reason than I wanted to, and I picked up my Canon camera and started to take pictures again, none of which would be posted on Social Media, it felt very liberating. This time apart also had me questioning how my website should be used.

So now as we approach February and I have had time to feel into it all I have decided that my website will be simply a place for me to share the stuff I find fascinating about life, a place to store my musings and images of the world as I see it and leave them here for anyone remotely interested in the thoughts and ramblings of a middleaged Yorkshireman.

As for my relationship with Social Media, I think we will still see each other but it will be far less frequently and on my terms not its. I will be posting occasionally but whether what I post is liked or shared is of little interest to me, I will simply put up then shut up.