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Monday, 12 December 2011

TIME .........

Skies Over Bristol

Sometimes time just seems to run away. I've been really excited with the idea of participating in the Twitter #photochat on the 14th being run by Darcy & Kent, started a new Blipfoto series, been taking pictures and blogging.. and then there's Christmas .. how will I fit it all in?

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A new endeavour I've started on since my last photo blog entry is a 30+ Blipfoto endeavour. Partly inspired by an idea I had a couple of months ago about wanting to track 'a month in the life of' and partly inspired by my Twitter contact @leena_photo who has set out on a marathon 365 on her Facebook page (yes, a photo a day for a year)!


I hope you'll stop by and enjoy both our sites.



I wanted to share these colourful images with you - in my home city of Bristol this summer there was a street art festival called #seenoevil. Various street art took over the sides of many of the buildings in Nelson Street and gave them a once in a life-time makeover.




These are just a small example of what they managed to achieve. 


Sweet Shot Day

Saturday, 10 December 2011

TWITTER #photochat WEDS 14TH DEC



Two amazingly talented photographers, bloggers and Twitter contacts in the U.S. have been running 1 hour #photochat sessions in North America to bring together photographers of all standards to answer questions, give advice and swap ideas.


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Darcy & Kent have agreed to run a session at a time that fits in with the U.K. & Europe so that a new audience can benefit for their expertise.


If you’re on Twitter (and if you’re not yet you ought to be) then we’d love you to join us at 9pm GMT (21:00 CET) on Weds 14th December to participate from this side of ‘the pond’ using the hashtag #photochat. 


For more information on how to participate Kent (@kw_daddio) has a great reference on his site at http://kentweakley.com


Darcy (@my3boybarians ) says on her site at http://my3boybarians.com/
Also, next week is the twitter photography #photochat. We’re trying something new this time! By request of our friends across the pond. (I love saying across the pond, as if it’s nearby. The internet does make the world seem more accessible.) Anyway – our friends in Europe are always sleeping during the usual #photochat time, so we’re having an afternoon in the US / evening in the UK and Europe time that will allow more people to attend. Several amazingly talented photographers from England, Ireland and Italy have said they’ll be there. Hope you will too!


Twitter: @kevleighton














Tuesday, 29 November 2011

STORM CLOUDS, SUNRISE and SILHOUETTES

Well it's a day later than I like to publish but sometimes other things just have to come first.

It never ceases to amaze me how people love to take pictures of the sun. Be that sunrise, sunsets or for me the sun shining through storm clouds and it amazes me even more the feedback photographers get from having taken them.

I certainly like taking the pictures, I think you can get some stunning effects with the sun in the right place even though you sometimes have to play with the exposures the point where your family has got bored and wandered off into the distance.

The joy of the modern camera phone is that it's possible to get very good shots without having to lug your dSLR around with you so I wanted to share a couple taken with my Pentax and a couple taken with my Samsung Galaxy S2.

These first two are taken in Cardiff Bay, Wales and are from the 'mobile' set on my Flickr site taken on my Samsung Galaxy S2.























For me the low sun on both of them gives the opportunity for some nice silhouettes. I liked the sun coming through the light fitment on the top of the lightship and on the other, I was keen to capture the silhouettes of the tree, church and cranes in the background. Neither of these shots used any special settings and were just taken 'point and shoot'.



















This shot taken on Brighton Beach, Sussex one overcast and stormy afternoon was the last of a number of images I took in manual mode trying to get the balance between the contrast of the bright sun and dark clouds.

















And finally ... this one has been around before and featured in my blog of 11th January based on around Clevedon.

I'd be really interested if anybody has any advice or guidance for me on taking this type of image I'd be really grateful for your feedback.
Sweet Shot Day

Monday, 21 November 2011

THE RETURN OF THE PHOTO BLOG!

It's baaaaack. Well the photo blog is anyway After a break of a few weeks I thought it was high time to get back to the basics and bring the photo blog up-to-date.

So much has happened in such a short while I thought I'd start this week with a brief resume of events. My photo blog may have been quiet but looking back I seem to have been quite busy.

PEOPLE PAINT: Cheeky customers of all ages got colour drawings on their faces. Photo: Kevin Leighton PhotographyThere have been photo shoots and events to capture, air-shows and a news article with my pictures. The Flickr app for Android made an appearance on my smart-phone which has led to some new work on the Kevin Leighton Photography Flickr site and I've been busy with my dSLR trying to shoot ever more awkward subjects in a manual mode.

When so much has been going on it's difficult to know what to concentrate on so I thought I'd just bring you some of my favourite images and just go with the flow. I hope you enjoy them.

Fence Friday - Wet & Grey In The Bay


Taken in Cardiff Bay, Wales. This was taken with the new Flickr app on my smartphone using the Tokyo filter and is one of a recent set of mobile phone images on my Flickr site.








I've been trying to capture seagulls in flight and have found it and extremely difficult task to get the exposure correct especially with the autumn skys being so changable depending on where you point your camera.






Hope your day goes like this!




And finally November 5th and the inevitable fireworks displays were another photographic challenge and is one I'll write about in another blog.








So what's up and coming? I'll be writing about some of the photographic challenges I've encountered over the last few weeks and asking for some advice.

 I've also been in touch with  Darcy from my3boybarians and Kent Weakley from kentweakley.com who run very successful Twitter #photochat Q&A sessions in North America and they have agreed to run one for the UK & Europe hopefully in December. I hope to be able to confirm dates & times for the UK & Europe Twitter #photochat session shortly.

See you all again soon.


Sweet Shot Day

Monday, 14 November 2011

INSPIRATION, MOTIVATION, LIFE, LIVING & LOVING


My more recent blogs have veered away from photography and towards a discussion of different sources of motivation and inspiration and how people use different sources to help them to plan their futures, motivate themselves, become inspired, or just make it through to the next day.

Readers of my blog have placed their own interpretations on why I was writing on these topics and offered me messages of support, sent me links to further information and passed on their general good wishes all for which I'm very grateful.

My reason for sharing these thoughts with you over the last few months is simply because I've become more aware of them and have been in a position to see and hear messages both via Twitter and in presentations that previously I hadn't noticed or had the opportunity to receive which gave me more than just a passing interest in what was being said.

I've read much and learned plenty including how controversial some of the motivational, inspirational and life planning methods actually are, certainly not everybody has agreed with what I've written or discussed with them face-to-face. It's also fair to say that much of what I have read is very subjective as much of my reading about motivation, inspiration and life planning has left me; well ... uninspired!

So I want to finish up this series of blogs with a few sentences on what did get through to me and hope that you might find it useful. One thing I have noticed is that it's virtually impossible to apply these good messages to your life holistically but they can certainly be applied to certain situations.

So .. firstly I'd like to mention the presentation by Neil Holloway from Microsoft at the University of Reading. He gave a beautifully understated insight into life planning that I wrote about in my blog No Regrets . Follow the link back to the blog and you read all about it.






Secondly, I was sent a link to this image which made me smile and with which I agree wholeheartedly.





And finally I'd like to link you to the Energised Performance blog from Kim Ingleby. A lady who I've never met but would love to be able to share some time with at some point in the future. On the blog Kim links to a 'video' featuring insights from Steve Jobs the last few seconds of which I wrote down and pinned to my PC. I have applied the words it in a number of situations in my day job and I've found it to be truly helpful.


It reads ..

Your Time Is Limited
Dont Waste It By Living Someone Elses Life
Dont Be Trapped By Dogma Which is Living With The Results Of Other
Peoples Thinking
Don't Let The Noise Of Other Peoples Opinions Drown Out Your Own 
Inner Voice
And Most Important Have The Courage To Follow Your Heart And Intuition
They Somehow Already Know What You Truly Want To Become

Steve Jobs


Thursday, 29 September 2011

A CAUTIONARY TALE - WHERE ARE YOUR CAMERA PHONE PHOTOS TODAY?


Some weeks ago, buoyed up with minutes of research under my belt and a recommendation from a friend I ditched my old phone and invested in a shiny new Android powered Samsung Galaxy S2. From there my relationship with my phone has been a happy one, I've very much enjoyed getting to know it and the Social Media apps I can run on it and we've had some fun times together. I'm typing this blog on the Google Blogger App and until now everything has been rosy in the garden.

So what's changed?

Afew weeks before I got my phone I joined Google + and at some point whilst exploring the Android Marketplace I happened upon the Google + App which I installed and almost forgot about along with Google +. Imagine my shock, when logging onto Google + with a purpose for the first time in weeks, to find a copy of every single photo I had taken and stored on my phone, probably since installing the app, also residing in Google +.

Don't get me wrong .. the photos themselves remained private to me and hadn't been shared but I feel really aggrieved that Google by default enabled an option which allowed the Google + app to upload copies of my photos without explicitly asking me.

There are two issues for me here, one of privacy and trust and one of my phones data plan.

Privacy and Trust
I guess it was probably in the Terms & Conditions somewhere to allow Google to do this and the images weren't displayed in my circles but nevertheless they are mine and I will decide where I upload them to be it for backup, storage or display. Organisations must be aware that not only are the words and images of the people who write and capture them their property but may also be deeply personal to the individual who may  not want them shared on any platform no matter how 'private' that platform may be.

Data Plan
Those who know my home city of Bristol will be very aware of the 60ish statues of Gorillas which adorned the city to celebrate the 175th anniversary of Bristol Zoo and it became the summer time challenge of many to visit as many of the Gorillas as possible and have your photo taken with them.

I had been struggling to work out how I was going through so much data on my data plan so imagine my shock when I found copies of dozens of hi-res photos from my Gorilla trail and other adventures on Google +.

It's No Suprise Then .... my view is that Google should NOT be enabling this function called 'Instant Upload' by default. Luckily it can be turned off by doing the following:

Start your Google + for Android App then perform Menu -> Settings and un-check  'Instant Upload'.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

NO REGRETS

In common with many parents at the moment I have been doing the rounds of the Universities to help my son short-list those he'd like to attend when it's time to go. I've been surprised by our reactions to some of the Universities which has ranged from 'just don't get it' to the 'wow factor'.

One such wow visit was to the University of Bath where, building on what had already been a good day, I went to the 'welcome talk', albeit that it was at the end of the day.

One of the presenters was Microsoft Vice President Neil Holloway . Now I'm no Microsoft fan and I envisaged a Microsoft skewed presentation on something or other but Neil presented a well reasoned and understated presentation on his thoughts about University life, life after University and life planning that really made me sit up and listen.

The phrase that really did it for me was 'have no regrets'. Neil qualified this in terms of how when making any decision you need to know your objective, weigh up the options and make a decision. What ever that decision is, whatever the outcome, don't regret it. I thought this was such a bold and brave or maybe even foolish statement to make. Initially I couldn't imagine not being able to make a decision without having regrets if the decision turned out to be the wrong one or didn't provide satisfactory results, but the more I thought about it the more I realised how much easier our decision making processes and lives would be if we didn't have the risk of regret behind our decisions.

I wonder if this state is really possible to achieve?

At this point, as is often the way when I write a piece like this I have taken a few days off from writing it whilst I process my thoughts in the background. I had a concern that what Neil had said in some way conflicted with 'relationships' or family life or whatever label you'd want to put on it.


In my view the answer to that question is 'no'.

The beauty of Neils point-of-view is that he talks about considering the options before a making a decision and having no regrets once you've made it. This is in pleasant contrast to those who talk about life planning as a roadmap to wealth and success but make no room for others and the considerations that must be factored in where relationships are involved.

To conclude, I'd like to thank Neil Holloway for his considered and inspiring talk but I wonder what your thoughts are on the matter. Do you have a life plan? Is it working? Do you have regrets from making decisions? Does it work for you?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A NEW LOOK AND A NEW URL

In my last blog I wrote about how I was simplifying my on-line presence by integrating my blog page with my photography web site. This makes sense as most of my blogs are photography related although I do wander off into other subjects from time-to-time as the fancy takes me.

All the technical work is now completed and I've matched the look and feel as closely as possible to that of the main site whilst removing the other pages I had on the blog as they were becoming irrelevant.

Whilst my old blog URL will still work the new URL, in keeping with the photography site, is http://kevinleightonphotography.com/blog .

Look out for the next regular update coming soon and I hope you'll continue to enjoy the blog in its new home.

Friday, 16 September 2011

REFLECTION AND RECONSTRUCTION

It will come as no suprise to regular visitors that my blog has been unusually quiet in recent weeks.

Sometimes in life events happen that make you want to reflect on how best to move forward. Sometimes when these events come along one at a time it is difficult enough but when a number of events come together at the same time it can be almost impossible to reflect and choose best paths because of all the 'noise'.

My friend Paula White wrote a blog called 'What Do You Say To The Person In The Mirror' which tells the story of a networking event we attended which included a motivtional talk from Jim McLeod. Jim spoke about identifying and removing influences which prevent you from achieving your aims and happiness and so I set about identifying what those might be.

Having given it some thought I decided on courses of action I need to take but to take all of them at the same time just isn't possible. The next step I took was to put them in an actionable order.

The first action I have decided to take is to simplify my on-line presence to make it more manageable and effective within the time I am able to dedicate to it. I'll do this by streamlining the relationship between my blog and professional website and effectively integrate the two.

This will give me more time to start to action other steps I need to complete to move forward again.


This work includes changing the colour scheme to match that of my professional website and simplify the page layout and give it an integrated look and feel. It may be a bit untidy for a while but once it's finished I hope it will look so much better.

In the meantime, if you have arrived at this page through the Kevin Leighton Photography website and you can't get back by clicking the 'Home' button please use the 'Back' button on your browser. If you didn't and you'd like to go there then please click here.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Death of a Red Arrows Pilot and unsung hero - Fl Lt John Egging

In my last blog 'Photographing The Red Arrows' I wrote how excited I was to be going to the Bournemouth Air Festival today and would have the second chance in two weeks to photograph The Royal Airforce Aerobatic Team, The Red Arrows.

What started as an excellent day, presenting the opportunity to photograph a number of different aircraft turned to tragedy when one the the aircraft crashed during a final manoeuvre over the local airport before landing.

I have had the pleasure of watching numerous Red Arrows displays over the years and never fail to be amazed at the skill that must be involved in making it look as easy although it obviously is anything but.

Fl. Lt. John Egging must be counted as one of our unsung heros. It was announced during the display that many of the pilots in today's display had recently returned from tours in Afghanistan and he had certainly served his time there supporting coalition ground forces

He obviously loved his flying. He transitioned from front line duties to entertaining the public with his flying prowess with the RAF Red Arrows and as such has etched himself certainly into my memory as 'The Egg Man', as was announced in the display commentary.



I don't know which aircraft he flew but I should imagine he has appeared in a number of my pictures from the last two weeks displays. I just want to publish this one from the display in Bournemouth today to say a simple 'thankyou' for for flying with the Red Arrows.

Kevin
Kevin Leighton Photography 

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