Sunday, 26 February 2017

Can this old sea dog learn a new trick or three?

Now Flats after rebuilding a few years ago - this maybe 1970?

Margate - Back in the 1950s maybe - John Hinde Photo

As February draws to a close I will attempt to create some logic or flow around this assortment of pictures from the internet. Yes. Chaotic. But that's the sort of month it has been.

As for the young lady above, I might explain her presence later.

This week's TV Choice came up with my horoscope just 21 days after I had signed my pact with the dark forces of technology by buying my first ever 'smart' phone. Ah well, better late than not at all I guess.

The French flavoured 'Maison du Marin' print was for sale in a charity shop and it appealed to me but, as we have nowhere to display it at home, I whipped out my trusty compact camera and grabbed this picture just because I could. 

This is the same camera that I pointed at my laptop screen to see what it would make of this open book shot via YouTube.

Ah. That 'smart' phone which was just a tad too smart for me and my lady. After a week of getting increasingly frustrated at making it actually do anything basic I managed to wipe it clean and start over using a very useful manual that I found on line ... why should I have to? Couldn't the maker have popped it in the pack?

Eventually we booked an appointment with 'An 02 Geek' [The name is theirs not mine, which says it all really!] as it was included 'free' with our purchase. Now we know more than we did before and will, I suppose, learn its crazy little logics before our grey cells give up in distaste.

Then, I figured that as I am on this vertical upward learning curve anyway, I might as well chuck another tenner into the 'investment' and grab a five-in-one lens adapter kit for the phone.

Back in the day I was well used to swapping lenses on my SLR camera so this shouldn't be too hard to grasp. Apart from its minuscule meniscus. Each component appears to be glass and metal which makes me wonder why those converters for 35mm cameras cost hundreds of times more?
Yes, I enjoy handling prints but never need to go above A4 size and, for this, 4 megapixels are totally adequate as offered on my new phone. Another example maybe where megapixels are advertised as the next big thing to feed a gear acquisition syndrome ... hot air and GAS!

My goal for March - weather permitting - is to spend at least one full morning on the seafront and learning by playing. That's what the dame who headed this post was doing I suppose. I hope it isn't compulsory to squint and wear my RayBans on the top of my head.

If I get results I'll share them here.

Thanks for coming along for this ride, now what are your personal goals for next month?

Friday, 24 February 2017

Frugal Friday Free Fotos

I have always found that magazines are a pain-free way of earning a living, learning, acquiring a veneer of knowledge and relaxing.

With the prices of mainstream Photo magazines hitting the upper limit of acceptability I have had to let this pleasure slip away, for good.

This means that I have to overcome my dislike of reading on a screen if I am to get my fix of information from others.

Take this for example, which I discovered on an amazing site called which seems to emanate from Bana India.

There you can find several hundred FREE interviews on line along with a couple of dozen FREE handbooks to download.

All the photos on this post came from Photowhoa and these last two are from a blog interview with Satoki Nagata who has taken the street-photography genre to new levels. His technique is to use an off camera flash mounted on a tripod, a slow shutter speed to record the snow, sleet or rain and I suspect a bit of careful photo montage.

If I thought I could even begin to approach taking pictures like this I STILL wouldn't venture out on the streets after dark, in the snow and loaded with gear.

I have downloaded a free book on Street Photography ... a 62 pager with plenty of examples and supporting text and, so far no annoying pop-ups or advertisements. I may even print it out ... in fact I shall do so right now for reference during my next camera playtime mood.

Thanks for being here.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Time of my Life!

The late 1950s were good for me. I was good at my job, I had fun in the USA, the American Dream looked as if it really could come true, red and chrome were dominant features in my life and I had money in my pocket and some very pretty young ladies to escort.

Of course there were also tough times and many disadvantaged souls but these were off our radar.

I was reminded of this when reading of the movie The Founder which is now playing at various UK cinemas. I am tempted to see how well it recreates the fabulous fifties when Ray Kroc screwed his partners. left his wife, stole the McDonald's name and concept from Mac and Dick McDonald and the created the fantasy that he was the 'founder' of the Golden Arches empire. [He wasn't - they were]

It is many years since I last visited a cinema and I plan never to do so again. Guess I'll wait until it is released on DVD ... if I remember.

As for my 1950s lifestyle ... the cars, boats  ladies, burgers, coke [Coca Cola!] and the invention of Rock n Roll ... all now just gently fading sweet dreams when I am sittin' on the dock of the bay here in Margate ... or at least I will be when the weather warms up and the wind drops,

When were your 'happy memory years'? If there weren't any, then set about making 2017 your first.

Meanwhile, there are some interesting links in the weekly newsletter from
Still from 'The Founder'
Other pictures on this page via Glastron Boats PR materials

Monday, 20 February 2017

Its the business

Many moons ago I subscribed to the US magazine Entrepreneur and yes, it is still going although my subscription isn't.

Two of their earlier regular columnists were Jay Conrad Levenson and Ted Nicholas who were also prolific business authors. Although most of their output was in the pre-digital age, their fundamental marketing strategies still hold good. I learned more about this dark art from their columns than from any text book.

One of them, and I forget which, suggested the concept of a 'fire sale' to clear dead stock at rock bottom prices. Keeping old stuff occupies valuable real estate space which is a cash outflow, selling it, even at cost, is a cash inflow. 

During the early 1980's we would have a queue outside our wool shop waiting for us to open for our 'One Day - Once a Year Penny Sale' when we would sell odd remainders, patterns, needles and accessories at 1p per item. The stuff flew off the shelves and left space for exciting new stock. 

I note that Holland & Barrett now run regular 'penny sales' but theirs are simply variations on the Buy One Get One Free principle.

Last week I received an email from a small family run publishing house that I once used. It was headed 'Fire Sale' and explained how the proprietors wanted to recoup some hefty losses incurred when their website hosting company did the dirty on them and pulled the plug.

I found the offer irresistible ... a one year, non recurring sub to their excellent photography magazine at a full 50% off the usual price. Of course I went for it! I got a bargain, they got an instant income of cash up front for products not yet printed so  I guess it was win-win.

I have made two references to different magazine subscriptions and yet I really dislike the idea. Another photo magazine changed ownership and then called in the receivers so I never saw my money or any magazines again. A US fine art magazine totally failed to deliver any issues at all and after a long hassle sent me a refund cheque in US$ which would have been  reduced by 50% in value by bank charges for depositing it in UK.

Generally I hate paying for subscriptions to anything in advance because my tastes and obsessions and interests may well have changed long before the promised goods are delivered ... and usually the special offers to encourage new subs are worth very little over the length of the agreement [and especially beware 'automatically renewing concepts']

If you must subscribe to anything, I suggest you do so by a one-off payment and do not get involved in direct debit arrangements or standing orders. At least with standing orders YOU are in full control. With direct debits the vendor is in control.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

What the ****

Please do not adjust your set ... or ... it's probably not you, it's me.

I proudly present my first ever photograph taken with a mobile phone.

It is through a window because it was cold and windy outside. The horizontals and verticals go every which way because I wasn't holding the damn thing correctly.

I still haven't  figured out how to send it from phone to laptop via bluetooth ... and as for getting the phone to access the internet ... well I STILL haven't found the correct bit of magical geek talk or logic.

Mmmm. Cannot see me abandoning my camera any time soon, in fact it is more probable that you will see this distinguished gentleman shouting obscenities to the seagulls as he tosses this 'smart' phone into the sea at high tide from a great height.

I've seen grey haired old grannies doing it on the bus. I've seen three year old kids doing it on the bus. How hard can it be?

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Traveler's Notebook Olive Edition

It has been some time since I caught up with the Traveler's Notebook company.

I took a look at their official site [] and was surprised to find that they have done a lot since my last visit. They've even opened an on-line shop!

The first two innovations for 2017 are a new collection of brass stationery accessories and this Olive Edition TN.
[Photo from their website]

Now I can see the appeal to genuine jungle explorers who want to carry their TN around in their low visibility tracking suits ... but would they really?

From checking out a few favourite blogs it appears that most TN enthusiasts are probably female, aged 20-30 and obviously with significant disposable income. It's a helluva long time since I met one of these delightful creatures although I remember them with love, even so I cannot really see them queuing up to get their hands on one of these olives.

Being a gentleman of a certain vintage my immediate reaction was that it reminded me of army issue and wartime austerities and atrocities which was not a happy thought. In fact it was totally negative.

Then I remembered how Flying Fortress Sally B needed an olive paint job to protect her former unpainted aluminum body ... and how this was used to enhance her role as a flying memorial to more than 72,000 USAF lads who sacrificed their lives on our behalf during WWII. I even had passing thoughts of pre-ordering a TN Olive to 'customize' as a Sally B special. Then I remembered that it is not a good look for elderly gentlemen to even think about recapturing their past ... even in a notebook.

Of course, the TN team see it differently. Well they would wouldn't they? Here is their take on the colour choice. It seems this 'collector's' item will be available in the UK during April 2017.
From Travelers Company Blog