Deep Joy

I cannot truly express the deep joy I am feeling at the moment to have finally been able to register for, and commit to my studies with the Open College of the Arts (OCA). My BA (Hons) Photography studies start with a course entitled “Expressing your Vision“.

I received my joining email today and there are a few days worth of administration, familiarisation and preparation before I start my course proper. A little time spent getting the groundwork done should make everything  flow a lot smoother in the long run.

I do understand that I have to create and commit to maintaining a learning log which is used by my course tutor to monitor my progress and to help my reflect on my studies and grow as a student. This is part of the reason I created this blog to help me practice.


Fear of the unknown…

My mother in law is having a birthday afternoon tea next Saturday. I have offered to run a photo booth so we can get images of all the friends and family. Should be a lively and fun party. I haven’t done anything like this before. I have the equipment as I have slowly been building up my studio flash equipment and modifiers, but have yet to trying all out in anger. I think I will try out a paramount or clam shell setup.


I plan to use the following:

  • Background stand with grey backdrop cloth
  • Lastolite Lumen8 400 studio flash
  • 140cm octagon softbox
  • Stand with sandbags
  • Silver / white reflector
  • Wireless flash trigger
  • Nikon D7200
  • Nikon 50mm f1.8 D AF Lens
  • Tripod
  • Gaffer tape and clamps
  • Extention lead

It will be good practice and experience for me, but I must admit I am somewhat nervous as I don’t want to make a hash of it. If all goes to plan I will post some of the results after the event.

I would be glad if any readers have experience of running this type of event have any advice.

Roller-coaster of a week!

What a roller-coaster of a week, a lot of emotional turmoil…!!

Busy at work and some of my colleagues are v stressed at the moment, so quite a lot of tension there. Though trying my best to keep things up beat.

My mum was admitted to hospital with suspected pneumonia, but luckily she is stable and undergoing further tests. My dad and brother are making sure she’s OK, but she is likely to be in till at least the middle of next week. Though pleased she is in the best place. I’m working tomorrow so we are popping down to see her on Sunday and take her a few treats.

You may have read in my earlier posts that I had been applying to the Student Loan Company for loan to help me start a BA (hons) Photography with the Open College of Arts (OCA). I have been waiting ages for a response. Then finally this week I was told my application was looking good, then heard today I wouldn’t qualify for the loan. This was a great disappointment, another down.

However after further investigation with the OCA I was pleased to find out that I am able to spread my course payments over the year. This was a bright moment to a dull day. I phoned, paid my deposit and I am now registered to start my first course of the degree next week. So ending the week on an up.

I have just had a face time call with my dad & brother and they said mum is a lot brighter and more comfortable. Dad was also a lot more upbeat, so another up.

I’ll be pleased to get started on my degree course, it is something I have been aiming for since finishing my Level 3 C&G Certificate in Photographic Imaging.

Oh and one last high for the week, three of my images entered for recent Photocrowd Challenges were Expert Commended and on of these was in the top 25% of its challenge.

Thanks for reading a fairly sentimental and personal post, I feel a bit better after sharing it.

Death and Mortality 2

Colours of Death and Mortality

Colours associated with death and mortality vary around world according to race, culture and religion. Please find some listed below:


  • Red is the colour of mourning in South Africa


  • In many Latin and South American cultures, green is the colour of death


  • Blue is the colour of mourning in Korea, Mexico and Iran


  • In many Western cultures, black is the colour of death, mourning and funerals
  • The ancient Egyptians and Romans associated black as the colour of death and mourning


  • In many Eastern cultures, black is the colour of death, mourning and funerals
  • White is the colour of mourning in China
  • In India white is associated with funerals and widows clothing
  • In Japan a white carnation symbolizes death
  • In Korea white is associated with death
  • White is the colour of mourning in Middle East


  • In Thailand purple is associated with widows clothing
  • Purple was carried out as a mourning colour in Brazil as well, alongside black dress
  • In Catholicism purple is a colour of death, mourning and crucifixion


  • Grey is the colour of mourning in Papua New Guinea


  • Yellow is the colour of mourning in Egypt and Burma
  • In the Middle Ages, actors portraying the dead in a play wore yellow
  • In Spain, executioners once wore yellow


  • Brown is the colour of mourning in India

The above list is only based on my investigations and I would be very interested to know from anyone who knows of any other colour associations with death and mortality, either currently relevent or even historically.

Death and Mortality 1

I have decided to start a small project based around the symbology of Death and Mortality. I had Friday off and the weather was nice so I decided to kick start the project with a visit to Brookwood Cemetery.

Brookwood Cemetery first opened in 1854 and was at one time the largest cemetery in the world. Today, it continues to be the largest cemetery in Western Europe and since its opening, approximately 250,000 people have been laid to rest within the beautiful grounds.

An unusual feature of Brookwood Cemetery was that it had its own private railway running through the grounds. The main reason for this was that the Cemetery was over 25 miles from central London, and the only convenient method of transporting coffins and mourners was by the London & South Western Railway. The funeral trains began to operate from 13 November 1854 when the Cemetery opened to the public.

Please find my first images below. I decided to give them an antique plate camera feel using Silver Efex Pro 2.

I am sure that everyone has a graveyard or cemetery close to them, and you will find that they are interesting places to explore in quiet contemplation. They also are a haven to wild flowers, insects and wildlife.


Nifty 50

I have been after a relativly fast 50mm lens now for quite some time and was lucky to get a Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8D at a very good price on ebay new. It is light, fast and as I have a Nikon D7200 so the auto focus works. As this lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera.

I am looking forward to trying this lens out with some street photography, with the up upcoming Photo24 2016 providing an ideal chance.

I tested it out in my garden last weekend on some of the plants and got some lovely results. A couple of these are shown below:

Additional processing on the above images was made using Color Effex Pro from the Nik Collection, which is now free and highly recomended.

Photo 24 2016

Another bit of good news this week was that I made the ballot for Photo 24 2016 in London. This will be my 3rd Photo 24, and my friend Christine also made the cut for the 3rd time as well.

This is a 24 hour photo marathon from midday Friday 17th to midday Saturday 8th June 2016 (normally the longest day). During the 24 hours you are free to do as much or as little as you want, dip in dip out. This free event is hosted by Absolute Photo and Nikon School and is great. There are several meet ups organised with themed competitions and the overall winner of the best submitted photo taken during the 24 hours will win a Nikon D500, a very nice prize.

There are also a few extra special organised activities that you can pay for. In the past these have included mini courses or entrance to special places. This year there will be five:

  • Sunset at the Shard
  • Sunset at the Millenium Wheel
  • Night open top bus tour (2am – 4am)
  • Saturday morning boat ride to Greenwich
  • After hours access to Tower Bridge

Christine and I are signing up for the boat trip and the tower bridge experience.

My images from Photo 24 2014 and Photo 24 2015 can be seen on my Flickr site. I hope the weather is kind and the photos good.