Monday, 26 June 2017

Instant Work for Idle Hands

 The Instax SQ10. A reincarnation of the Polaroid concept.

Looks like fun until you check price. £250 in UK.

Looked for another way to remind myself of 1970's Polaroids.

Found Load an existing picture. Looks like an old Polaroid print. Camera on screen sounds like an old Polaroid. Takes a few seconds for the image to appear, just like an old Polaroid.

Strictly for fun. Instructions on screen are vague. But hey. It's Free!

Instax picture via Patrick Ng @scription.

Poladoid picture via my June 19 blog.

Sunday, 25 June 2017


Dover Dock and Harbour Entrance from the Operation Dynamo Tunnels at the Castle
Wednesday June 21st 1315 Hrs          Canon Ixus 70 camera set on automatic

Last Wednesday we visited the Dunkirk Evacuation Tunnels at Dover Castle.

A great audio-visual presentation in the spot where the plan was evolved and from whence it was activated and controlled.

Too this photo from there.

The panorama of the harbour entrance and dock was beyond the scope of my baby Canon camera ... until I took two shots side by side.

Another guy was after a similar shot. He had a £2000 camera and lens in his hands.
Guess we'll never know if his result was, like his camera, worth 100 times more than mine.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Exactly one week ago

A business meet at Sands Hotel.

Of course I had my camera.

Bet the beach beyond was kinda distracting for these two guys.

Like the idea of a 'picture in a picture'.

The RNLI Lifeguards set up on Margate Sands
Seen through the window of Sands Hotel Terrace Suite

Friday, 23 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 6

Time to consider getting the pictures into the photo journal. This maybe be the most time consuming aspect of your set up. The good news is that, when you have got it sorted, then you can just leave it ticking away in the background.

A reminder: My aim - to create a picture a day with around 40 words of handwritten text, for 365 consecutive days.

The format: pocket notebook sized Moleskine Cahier to hold a month of pages. Each page is 90 x 140 cm.

The strategy: to reproduce the photographs and stick them in the pages with no need for glue, scissors, guillotine or individually measuring each one.

The tactic: sheets of self adhesive address labels printed with standard computer software.
Two sizes: Same Idea

With so many options of computer program, printer and scanner it is impossible to describe them all here. To give you an idea, here is how I reproduce my chosen photographs on self adhesive address labels.

It is worth noting that it is OK to accept a slightly lower quality compared with usual photo printing stock which would add too much weight to the individual pages.

  In Word 2010:

Open new blank document A4

Select 'mailings' from menu
Select 'labels' from menu
Choose label size
Select 'Full page of same label'
Select 'New document'
Blank template of labels should appear
Cursor to first blank label
Click 'insert'
Click on selected picture
Move cursor to next blank label and repeat
When all labels have a picture, print sheet

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Happy Margate Beaches

 This accolade for my home beach is well deserved.

Of course, beaches for blokes are best when shared with an attractive companion.  If you don't have a good girl, then maybe take a good book about a bad one?

And wear sun screen.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Photo happenstance and stupidity

 Sorrento 2015.

Mid morning coffee break. 

Front door to main road. Back door on to the narrow street where a passing tourist guide leads her flock. They take less than a minute to pass by.

Like frames from an old movie. I make mono prints, put them in an album. 


Deleted memory card. 

Yesterday revisited the album. Scolded self for not storing original images or negatives.

Scanned prints for this post. Still enjoy despite loss of sharpness.

It took two years for me to appreciate the original idea of these happenstance shots made with a £10 pocket camera.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 18 June 2017


Canon IXUS 70 pocket camera from across the  room with added foggy frame effect
No flash - just yesterday's super sunshine streaming and beaming in Margate

Friday, 16 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 5

Welcome back!

If you are new here, you should find the earlier articles on each of the last four Fridays.

Time to reveal my modus-operandii for my current 365 day photo journaling project.

Once I had decided on my format ... 3.5" x 5.5" ruled Moleskine Cahier Notebook ... I took a blank page, then, after trying several sizes, decided that my photos would be around 65 cm x 72cm and that the lower half of the page would be for words which might, or might not, be relevant to the subject of the photograph.

One of the reasons that many well intentioned photo journals miss making it beyond the first few days is that it is a task too far to make every photo match the words, or vice-versa.

Another reason is that the word quota is just too high. My dummy planning page was written in my normal every day writing and gave a rough count of 40 words per day or per page.Easily achievable!

If your eyesight is keen enough, you may decipher my scribbles in the picture panel above to see that I worked out a kind of target of around 14,600 words in a year, equivalent to around 58 pages of an A5 book. How many would I have written without this project? How much fun would I have missed?

Whilst typing this I had a notion to do a similar test using a larger page size for a totally different project, so if you'll excuse me [and even if you don't] I'll leave you here, for now.

Next Friday, a spot of trial and error. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017


A good read for when you are in a mellow mood.

Probably even better for a long winter evening, but it just came my way and is already destined for a charity shop, so that's why it is here.

I was in New York a few weeks after the 9-11 Twin Towers atrocity. We felt it would be too much for us to visit the Twin Towers site because we were so moved by the roadside shrines and the one in St Patrick's when we went to Mass.

Phyllis writes about her memories of the horror being unveiled. It's not a long piece but I think it is good. That's why I have copied it here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 4

Instead of prattling on more about all the choices and options available for your photo journal project, I shall cut to the chase and describe my own 365 Day Project.

I came across the format almost by chance. As I was growing up, my father subscribed to a series of booklets about a self improvement technique known as Pelmanism. These little grey covered paperbacks were probably as near in size to Field Notes Brand notebooks of today. A similar format featured in the five years of my secondary school life as we learned questions and answers by heart from The Penny Catechism.

When I started this thread of posts a month ago, I was working on a book that would fit ideally into this 3.5" x 5.5" 48 page format. 

Then I discovered that, whilst there are hundreds of options for blank pocket notebooks , there are very few companies prepared to print books of that size, so I started playing with the idea of reverting to genuine home table-top publishing ... just as we did in the old days before home computers, using paper, scissors, glue and a photocopier to produce a 'zine'.

And so to my far.

My format would be Field Notes size, but not that actual brand. Instead I would use Moleskine Small Cahier Notebooks for four reasons; they are half the price, they are stitched instead of stapled - hence no rust problems, the last few sheets are finely perforated so that they can be removed without damaging the rest of the book and finally, there is a handy storage flap pocket inside the back cover.

Whilst reading a photo blog by Eric Kim I discovered his own self published booklets in Field Notes format. They are easily pocket-able, enforce succinct writing, can accept photographs and are easy to archive in minimum space.

As for actually getting the words and pictures on to the pages ... you'll have to wait another week for these revelations I am afraid.

Thanks for being here.

Friday, 9 June 2017

It was wet and windy last Tuesday

There seemed little point in going out unless I had to. And I didn't have to.

Which is why I chose to stay indoors and play with my camera.

Having long ago opted out of being conned into buying the latest updated box of tricks, I sought a new way of co-ordinating mind and body by featuring my beloved Canon Ixus 70 ... which is now over ten years old and still going strong.

Back then I could have described it as being a similar size as a deck of playing cards, we don't have one in the house so I cannot be sure. I would have described it as being like a packet of cigarettes, we haven't had one of those around for so long that I cannot be sure. I once saw it compared with a block of bath soap. We use showers and gel, so that can't be confirmed either.

Back in the day I would say it is, 'Three-and-a-quarter by two inches and about three quarters of an inch thick. But, that would be meaningless to anyone born after 2000. If they are still taught such things in school they might just be able to visualise 8.5 x 5.1 x1.7 cm. But probably not. If you are into art 'n' design it has golden ratio proportions. It has these, even if you aren't artsy.

So I grabbed a sheet of A4 with a cool sea themed graphic, stood a life-size photo of my camera on it and sprinkled a couple of notes to give a sense of proportion. Appropriate too, as the camera was a £10 eBay bargain.

That's the result at the top of this page, taken with this little beauty and printed within a few minutes of being created. No cameras were harmed in making this post and Photoshop is way beyond my means and abilities.

There are probably better ways to spend an hour whilst meditating? Suggestions on the back of a twenty pound note please.

Cecil Square Margate - from one wet local 'Loop' bus to another
 1000hrs June 6th 2017         Canon Ixus 70 digital camera

Then we went out anyway and got wet. The rain stopped as soon as we got home.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Numbers Game

photo by Dominic Savage - Margate - 1950's
[Just at the end of our road!]
If you are into retro/vinyl/real music or, if you were born in 19-hundred and something,you may recognise these numbers as the revolutions per minute of discs that typically came in diameters of 
7-10-12 inches

My earliest cameras used 120,124, or 828,film that offered eight or twelve exposures per roll.
Then I moved up to 35mm film and enjoyed the luxury of 20 or 36 exposures per roll.
I still use 35mm sometimes. But thanks to digital memory cards it seems that I have almost unlimited shots at my disposal.

35mm was also the standard width of cinema film which was sliced in half for expensive home movies at 16mm and in half again for cheaper options. The 9.5 dimension was preferred in France by the Pathe company whilst 8mm offered us up to 4 minutes of unedited action per cine-camera reel. Now my digital stills camera can do video too, no film required!

36-26-32 Simply three figures to describe one perfect statistic from the days when this was common.

NOW? Lies, damned lies and statistics.

The true definition of politics?

By the way, this is the


post of this blog.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Do Books and when I didn't [Twice]

OK, no more free plugs for Do Books but, they do give me flashbacks to a couple of times when I didn't that is.

Times where I was between a rock and a hard place, just like most people experience sooner or later. And pass through.

Easy to slip into, easy to blame others or circumstances. And as difficult as hell to break out of. As one Australian life coach said at the time, 'If there ain't no light at the end of the tunnel, grab yourself an effing torch and create your own'. 

My own torch was my combination of abilities and broad experience in the public speaking and personal development seminar scenes, in books and publishing, in small business promotion and in network building.

Trouble was my torch batteries were being shorted out by temporary periods of self doubt and depression where another day of sofa surfing crap tv programmes represented the peak of my energy levels.

So when I recently stumbled across the 'Do Books' phenomenon, they gave me an uncomfortable flashback.

The books were the idea of Miranda West who, four years ago, took the initiative to develop a library based on the already established series of 'Do' lecture tours.

Back in my black dog days I already knew about 'The YES Group' and 'The TED Talks' and their spin-off publications and products. And just didn't get involved.

Yes, of course we can all be bold in the benefits and brilliance of hindsight, it takes a little time and distance sometimes to back off from introspection and take a wider angle view of a situation.

With my speaking and publishing interests, knowledge and experience I COULD and SHOULD have developed a fantastic career by developing these contacts. 

Instead, I lost my marriage, my home [and the significant collateral invested in it] and, very nearly, my equilibrium too.

Now I am in a good place ... emotionally, materially and physically and reunited with my family. It could ALL have happened 28 years earlier. Could have. Should have. Didn't.

You can do your own on line explorations of 'Do', 'Yes' and 'Ted' organisations. 

Check out;

If you are not happy with where you are now, do your own inventory of your skills, talents and experiences to see if there is a better way forward.

On the other hand, I hope that you don't need to learn such stuff the hard way and already have the time and means to share your own wisdom with those who may need a catalyst to dig themselves out of a rut. 
Screen shot from
By the way, Do Books are light on text and heavy on design, making them an ideal dip into read and they are a handy size at around 150 5" x 7" pages. Mostly priced well under £10 too!

Spread the cost by buying and reading one a month? As the Victorians preached, 'Read, Learn, Inwardly Digest and Apply'.

And I intend to. Starting now.
Will electronic books last like REAL books can?

Friday, 2 June 2017

Photo Journaling Week 3

Before starting any project, you need to choose your resources and gather them together. Starting and sustaining a personal photo journal is no different from this.

If you aim to go public with your journal by publishing it on line as a blog, then it all depends on your PC or device and the broad variety of blogging tools that are available. As there are simply so many variations this aspect is beyond my scope here. So, what follows today, relates to good old analogue [pen and paper] approaches.

Your toolkit of resources will have two main divisions: - the abstracts and the tangibles.

The abstracts concern your lifestyle and, as motivational guru Tony Robbins suggests, 'When you do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time each day for at least 14 consecutive days, then you create a habit that is hard to break'.

During 2015 this was my favourite seat for reading and writing
More simply, Woody Allen is quoted as saying, '90% of success is just showing up'. So right here and right now, decide where and when you can set aside at least ten minutes a day to devote exclusively to your project. Think about space, seating, lighting, noise, home or coffee shop, indoors or outdoors ... and anything else to define your space and time. Care is needed to avoid conflicting with the plans and lifestyles of anyone that you live with.

The tangibles are the hardware of your project, the nuts and bolts of the thing ... the stuff that you can touch, pick up, carry, hold and use.  Think about your pens, paper, notebooks, inks, camera, computer, printer and something to hold them all together. Have a clock or cheap kitchen timer to hand too as it is easy to get carried away with enthusiasm as you create your journal.

Your first thoughts will invariably be based on your prior experiences and yet, when you allow your mind to wander away, to the path less traveled, you may gain an insight or three which will affect your outcomes.

For example, during most of my schooldays a book to write in [Yes! They called them 'copybooks'] were quarto sized and skinny exercise books. In my early careers the norm was foolscap which gave way sometime in the 1960's to A4, My first series of self published books were all A5 for reasons of economy.

A few years ago I fell in love with the Midori Travelers Notebook concept. Then I found that the Field Notes approach suited my downsized lifestyle better. For my current 365 photo journaling project I chose an unlikely route, inspired by the books pictured below. All will be revealed a week from now, which should give you  ample time to gather your resources, both abstract and tangible.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Friendly Reminder

Tomorrow is June 1st.

This is six months since New Year.

Could be a good day to think about the resolutions you made back then.

If you didn't keep any it could be that you simply set the wrong ones.

There is no law that says they have to be set on January 1 anyway.

Think about what you want, what you really, really want.

Then take one action every day with this in mind.

A good place to start is to buy, read, learn and inwardly digest a book on The Law of Attraction.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Books and another bit of serendipity

painting by
Last Monday I revealed how a blog entry from C J Chilvers in USA led me to buy a book from a small UK publishing house.

I don't usually do book reviews here, so I'll just tell  you that I ordered the recommended book and it arrived last week.

Brilliant author and entrepreneur David Hieatt has such an unusual name that it was lodged somewhere in the back of my increasingly unreliable memory.

As soon as I read the back story for his own company, Hiut Denim Co, I recalled that I once subscribed to his entertaining blog and newsletter. 

More about the book another time. If you can't wait, search

Visit and hit the blog button to find enough entertaining video clips on a broad variety of topics to while away the next passing springtime rain shower. Sign up for their free newsletter while you are there and they'll send you a link to download a free pdf of their first year book. This magazine, heavy on photos, graphics and short articles is now in its 4th edition. Well worth a read.

Thanks again to CJ Chilvers and also to Peter at Start Bay Notebooks for the link to this header picture which has absolutely nothing to do with the words. It just pleased me. So did this  one courtesy of Paperblanks blog. 
A gentle reminder ...
I am a blogger, not a peddler. 
This means that any products mentioned in these posts is there from my own enthusiasm for them and they earn their place on merit ... free of any fee, reward, sales pitch or commercial consideration on my part.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Photo Journaling Week2

Welcome to the second phase of my approach to photo journaling ... the first was here last Friday May 19th.

The objective is to address a few of the snags that stop people  having a go or that result in them giving up after a few days or weeks. There are many sites with ideas of what to journal about and what to photograph, so those topics are off limits here. Similarly, I have no intention of devising a log-book that lists reams of details about the photos you take.

This time out I offer you some ideas based on other photo journaling approaches. Never to imitate of course, but to use their success strategies as models.

Before we get to that, I have a couple of points about motivation. I simply forgot to include them last week.

The ONLY effective and lasting motivation in any endeavour must come from within. So do your photojournal because you want to. Not because you have been told to. Yes. It is OK to be 100% selfish about this! Only you can identify what you want out of it and how you aim to use it. In my own case I have no intention of creating my photojournal for publication or to leave as a legacy. It exists simply to try out a concept which I believe to be original. Well, at least I haven't discovered it anywhere else so far.
Photo via Google Search

If you put your journal out on social media or on line as a blog, do take sensible precautions to stay safe. One or two that I have seen almost gave out the writer's home address, or offered enough clues regarding family, friends and location to amuse a stalker or weirdo with malicious intent. So yes, a journal has to be personal by definition, but if you go on line with it as part of a 365 or Daily Prompt project ... please proceed with care.

At this time next Friday I hope to look at some of the resources that you may need to consider.

This picture cropped up during one of my web surfing sessions and I'd love to give it a credit, just cannot remember where I found it. It is here for a little light relief as your reward for reading this wordy post and because it makes me feel good.

Happy dreaming and planning ... now if I had a chalet like this .....but I DO have the sea less than 200 metres away [when the tide is in, add another half mile when its out]so I shouldn't complain.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A note for notebook and journal lovers

As part of our 2017 'staycation' we took a trip to nearby Quex Park with its amazing museum and Quex House, home of the Powell-Cotton Family.

Two particular items caught my eye, in amongst all the bigger and more dramatic stuff. In one of the many show cases of explorers' artefacts there was an opened page of a pocket notebook, truly a Field Notes book which any user of the Field Notes Brand would instantly recognise. Similarly, a modern photographer would be familiar with the circa 1920 box cameras and film boxes displayed in a nearby case.

Then, in the house, there is a desk with a bound journal and a display note nearby saying that the occupant 'had kept a journal as a boy, a daily habit that he maintained whilst at sea on an East Indiaman and resumed thereafter until his death'.

I find it odd how my attention is unconsciously drawn to such artefacts and how often they appear in unexpected places.

If you come to Thanet, be sure to take in a visit to Birchington and The Powell Cotton Museum, Quex House and the Gardens.

Meanwhile, the closing photo by an unknown lensman - or lenswoman - almost  reflects my own passage through journaling media. A hefty leather ledger beneath a quarto notebook, beneath an A4 book and topped off by a Moleskine pocketbook.
Generic notebook shot from internet

Monday, 22 May 2017

International Serendipity


Thanks to gentle Southerly breezes and clearing skies, the early temperature soon rose to the low 20's C ... the warmest day of our year so far.

It seemed like a good day for the sixth of our Staycation Excursions to local tourist attractions. At breakfast we leafed through our collection of publicity brochures and chose this one, just half an hour away by bus. Note the title!

An hour earlier I had been checking some of my favourite blogs, two of them were overnight postings from the USA.

Dave Lawrence [Jackson Michigan]had published an interview with Steve Gray, a photographer from Hertfordshire whilst CJ Chilvers [Chicago Illinois] featured a book published by a small company in Shoreditch, London.

As this one was new to me, The Do Books Company, I  checked out [and ordered!] CJ's recommended title before browsing the rest of their site. Wow! This is truly MY type of publisher in so many ways.

My closing photo is from their page promoting Embrace the Unexpected by Robert Paynton ... sorry, couldn't find a photographer credited ... but I liked the active street scene, even although I couldn't recognise the location.

So there you have it. Within a couple of hours TWO references to expecting the unexpected, TWO American bloggers featuring British creatives from the South of England on the same day ... one about books/small business and the other about photography.

An intriguing start to an enjoyable day out in hazy, hot sunshine. us
P.S.  Owing to quirks in Blogger, what I create and layout on my screen is not always what appears on publication. Sorry about that and I am too PC illiterate to know how to fix it. Despite this, please stop by again soon.