“Real tough toys for real tough boys” went the slogan for the eponymous metal trucks, diggers and fire engines made by Tonka going back to the 60s and 70s. And I remembered the slogan without Googling it!
My latest assignment takes me into the realm of real-life ‘Tonka Toys’ as I am doing work for a quarry that is full of noisy, chunky and very, very big trucks, excavators and diggers.
And dynamite. Or whatever the modern explosive equivalent is for blowing up rock!
So it’s a ‘big boy’s’ and photographer’s paradise really.
Right up my street 🙂
In a bolt out of the blue phone call, I discovered that LEEC, one of my photography clients had entered some of my pictures into a national contest run by a manufacturing industry body. At first I thought the lady had said she was from EE and I thought it was about my mobile – but it was in fact EEF!
Turns out that my photo is on display at the House of Commons with the other short listed finalists, and they are inviting me down for the presentation ceremony there next month.
Maybe I will end up shaking hands with David Cameron? Who will have the cheesiest grin? Me I bet.
Wish me luck!
Never mind Angry Birds, I’m an Angry B’trd as we’ve been without telephone or broadband for 15 days – and the guy at the call centre today says “they don’t know when it will be fixed”
So this blog post is being sent with a Heath Robinson hook-up via my mobile connected to my computer.
On Friday 10th October, our telephone stopped working and the broadband slowed to a virtually unusable 30kbps. So I reported the fault, with dire automated warnigns that I would have to pay £195 callout fee if it was a fault with my wiring! Gulp.
I have been given many dates that the fault was going to be fixed, beginning with Wednesday 15th (which I thought was slow service), yet each time has come and gone with no fix. Sometimes the broadband loses it’s pathetically slow broadband connection altogether for a day or two. All my emailing and web browsing is done via my phone.
Sometimes I get a text from 61998 advising that BT Engineers have advised of an extended delay to fix my fault, sometimes not. If I reply to this text then I get a reply saying “Thank you for your question. One of our advisors will look into this and text you back with the answer soon”.
But I don’t get a reply.
If I all to report the fault, I usually get BT’s Indian call centre, who are always very polite, and this is a summary of what happens:
I get an apology from the representative. Then they contact ‘the engineers’ or ‘Openreach’, whilst I hold. They come back to me with various reasons for the fault, such as wires having to be replaced, waiting for a permit to dig up the road etc – even though our lines are on telegraph poles!
There’s a promise that it will be fixed tomorrow, or sometimes in a couple of days, although on my call today to a Geordie accented chap he told me ‘they didn’t know when it would be fixed”
The call centre worker promises to call back the next day to see how I’m getting on, and sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.
But today, I saw two Openreach vans at a neighbour’s house. They were fixing her phone, which was also off. I was gobsmacked to learn that the engineers hadn’t even been given a work detail to fix our fault!
One of them explained it was to do with a problem with the Telegraph Poles, which were rotten and it was a Health & Safety issue, meaning wires could not be replaced. They had a manager looking into it. I said “how about giving us Fibre Optic lines?” and he laughed.
Fair play to the Openreach engineer, he has telephoned his manager (on a mobile of course) and now got permission to start to work on our fault. He has managed to get a dial tone back, but the phone still does not work for incoming or outgoing calls. But at least I have a nice soothing dialtone to listen too when I get frustrated by it all!
Spike Photography client Handelsbanken’s new office is in the news today. The official opening of their West Bridgford branch was celebrated with a drinks and canapes party and I was there to record the event for posterity – and the POST!
Branch manager Ian Davys knows me from way back, we often bump into each other at events for Nottingham’s great and the good, so it was a no-brainer for me when he asked me to take some great photographs of him and the team at his new outpost of the Handelsbanken empire.
Behind Ian and Neil Clarke, Leader of Rushcliffe Council, is part of a mural of photographs I took for their boardroom – and it looks amazing – even though I say so myself 😉
Dianne Allen, President of Nottingham City Business Club with Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
Today I photographed Sir Ranulph at Nottingham when he spoke to the Business Club. His story was like something out of a Boy’s Own adventure – but true! He told how he started his climbing carreer on Public School drainpipes, then onto his gung-ho antics in the army and SAS, then clearly not quite wringing enough excitement out of life, how he went on various expeditions which would make the bravest man think twice.
After seeing photos of frostbitten fingers and toes, I had to wonder why his wanderlust drove him to such extremes, but unfortunately he didn’t touch on his big reason why…
Staff from East Midlands Trains joined volunteers who help keep their local train stations clean, tidy and looking great. The big ‘Thank you’ to the ‘Station Adopters’ coincided with National Volunteers Week and also Stagecoach Group’s Green Week.
Volunteers carry out tasks using their DIY skills and green fingers – all to help their local train station environments greener, nicer places.
If you are interested in finding out more, go to http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/information/community-environment/work-in-the-community/station-adoption/
One of my favourite restaurants, Savai in Nottingham has undergone a superb revamp inside, and there were a host of regulars there on Sunday to see Carl ‘The Cobra’ Froch officially relaunch the popular Italian venue.
I had chance to chat to the ten-times world, five British and eight Commonwealth title winner and despite winding me up to start with, saying I can’t photograph him because of ‘image rights’ (could have been true!) he was very much a ‘man of the people’
Carl gave out gifts to people who had helped in the refurb and was patient enough to be snapped by me, another guy shooting video and dozens of iPhone-weilding snappers!
The Cobra is rapidly turning into Nottingham’s own Frank Bruno – and he deserves every success.
Charlotte Meadwell (left) and Lynda Reddington of Nottingham Property Investors Network meeting at the EMPO Expo Nottingham Landlord’s Show held at East Midlands Conference Centre on Tuesday.
Driving past the other day, the building they were in has a big To Let sign outside it but their signage is still up and pictures are in the window. I had a call yesterday from a dad who wanted Work Experience for his daughter, but I’m too busy at the moment, so suggested Venture Photography. However, he said they had closed down.
He asked me about Olan Mills and I told him that they went out of business many years ago, then were revived by some guys and they sprang up in a shop in Huntingdon House, on Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, but they didn’t last too long and were soon closed.
Now Venture have a reputation for very expensive portrait sessions despite their ‘£25 voucher offer’ – see: http://www.ukscrappers.co.uk/boards/showthread.php?t=114829 so maybe the recession has done for them? Their phone number is disconnected.
Anyway, I am always happy to provide some really great family photography or portrait sessions at a much more realistic price – get in touch if you are interested…
Spike Photography was up for an early start to photograph a lorry being loaded with wheat in Lincolnshire to supply a new multi-million-pound biofuels plant.
Photography client Frontier Agriculture is in charge of supplying the £200m Vivergo plant, at Saltend, in Hull, has revealed that it has signed over 500 farmers to the ‘Humber Gold wheat club’ in tjust a few weeks.
The Hull-based plant is set to become the largest buyer of grain in the whole of the country and hopes to buy the one million tonnes of wheat it needs each year from local farmers.
The site is a joint venture between DuPont, BP and British Sugar and will turn the wheat into biofuel for use in lorries and forklift trucks.
What a fabulous, glamourous evening at Miss Mansfield and Sherwood Forest last night!
As official photographer I had my work cut out snapping away at all the gorgeous girls in the final dozen.
Well done to all the girls for doing so well, it takes a lot of bottle to step up on stage and strut your stuff, as well as get grilled on the mike in front of over 250 people!
Eventually the eight judges decided Alicia Caley, my pick for Miss Photogenic was the winner, closely follwed by Jade Hawkins and Nicole ‘Cola’ Bailey – pictured here.
Malcolm Hall, owner of super-successful fastening firm Hall-Fast has only been in business for five years – but his firm is a finalist in the Nottingham Post’s EMB-sponsored Nottinghamshire Small Business of the Year Award.
Naturally, as a discerning businessman, Malcolm chose Spike to have him looking his best for the paper’s promotional picture, modeling some of the latest in bespoke builder’s fashion available from their trade counter.
I photographed a 66,000,011 year old lady the other day in Leicester University. Jane was pictured with Rod and John from Vertigo Creative who made her look her best with some creative lighting and a dynamic pose.
By the way, Jane is a Tyrannosaurus rex, found at Hell Creek, amid the arid badlands of Montana. She is a sub-adult, estimated to be around 11 years oldat the time of her death. Vital statistics, 7′ 6″ tall and 21 feet long – around half the size of a fully grown dinosaur.
Weight 110 stone – but would have become 5 tonnes if she had reached adulthood.
Dinosaurs are typically named after the archiologist who finds them – hence the name ‘Jane’.
Her lower jaw features a full set of razor-sharp teeth, ideal for tearing into flesh. I wonder if she was smiling for me? 🙂
Singers from property companies throughout the Nottingham area joined forces at Oceana nightclub recently to make X-Factor look like a bunch of beginners.
Nottingham Hot Property was established in 2004 by Malcolm Wright to raise money for Nottingham based children’s charities and over the years it has raised over £180,000 for them. All the singers and musicians are from local property firms and spend weeks rehearsing to get the performances pitch-perfect. See event photos (by me) here
We’ve been having our usual ‘fall of snow so the country grinds to a halt’ fun and games this week. As a professional photographer, I’m like a ‘Photographic Mountie’ in that I always get a photo of my man. Or woman. Or not, as in this case.
My assignment was to photograph the MD of an engineering company in Derbyshire yesterday. We arranged the time earlier this week. I battled through blizzards and left my car parked precariously in half a snowdrift, as despite it being a four wheel drive Jag, it struggled to get up the lane to the company’s offices, which was both uphill and covered in two feet of snow.
So as I was hiking up the hill, one of the firm’s Transit vans returned to base, took a flyer at the lane and ground to a skiddy halt five yards later. I left them, wheels spinning, determined to reach the top on time.
Halfway up the hill, I found a firm of four-wheel drive mechanics, grinning at my hike and also the large flatbed truck belonging to the firm I was photographing. That too, was stuck and didn’t look like it was going to get to London that night, as planned. They advised that we should all get ‘proper vehicles’ like their custom Range Rovers and the like. They pointed me in the direction of where I could find my MD.
Imagine my disappointment then when I got to the door of the office and found it padlocked shut.
A solitary fitter, the sum total of the company’s workforce that day, informed me that the boss wasn’t in today, he’d been snowed in back home at Sheffield. On phoning the chap, he was most apologetic, had forgotton about me, and bearing in mind he had spent the morning shutting down his various site operations in Lincoln and Birmingham, I could almost forgive him.
So I set off back, pausing only for a photograph from the fitter to prove I’d been there. On arriving back at the car, I got a call from a different client who had booked me for a financial dinner that evening in Nottingham. Called off due to snow and postponed to January.
Not n’ice’ news eh?
So I had a challenge when photographing an Indian restaurant in West Bridgford, Nottingham because the owners wanted a nice shot of the outside showing their posh illuminated sign. However, because the black perspex acted like a mirror, it was reflecting the two security lights positioned either side of the shop. The only angle to eliminate them was head on – OK, but not the most interesting of shots.
So with a bit of moving around, I found an angle where the reflection of one of the lights made it look like a fiery exclamation mark on the end of the Aziz Khan name, which summed up the fiery, spicy nature of Indian cuisine and looked good too. Job done!
Well, I got my iPhone 4 swapped for one where the camera does actually focus – see my post below and I’m pleased with how that works now. However, I am having trouble with the infamous reception issue where Apple’s response is to ‘hold the phone differently’ – well, their slogan of course was ‘Think Different’. Or use a case.
So I set about doing research to find a case that would solve the antenna bridging problem, look good and not get stuck in my pocket when the phone was ringing.
I came across a company called Ultra Case and they do a great selection, including one which whilst it’s for the iPhone 3G has to be the most gaudy, OTT, blinging, show-off in your face case – EVER. See this vid:
I waited a while before getting my iPhone 4, I’ve had all of them since the original on the day of release. Yeah, I know, I’m an Apple fanboy – like a magpie, I love their shiny stuff. They just do it better than other makers of tech kit – when they work as intended…
This time I wanted Apple to sort out the ‘Version One’ teething troubles first. Plus I wanted to ask a few real life users about the reception problems due to the aerial around the body. Although right handed, I use my phone in my left (so I can write,etc) and this apparantly makes the issue more noticable. Friends said they were having no problems, although I did not they were all using a case, so better get one from Apple whilst they are still giving them out free.
So, I took the plunge and went with one from the 3 shop. Having just unboxed it, charged overnight and synced it, imagine my frustration to discover the autofocus on the front camera doesn’t work. The camera pointing to me does, however. The problem is there for both stills and video. Not very good for a photographer like me!
So, back to the shop for an exchange. I wouldn’t mind so much but it took that long to do all the blooming paperwork when I bought it, I got a parking ticket 😦
UPDATE: After an hour out of my life including travelling time, the shop exchanged my phone for a new one. He’d not seen that problem before, although had one where the screen was totally black. My number ported just before I took it in to the shop, leaving my old iPhone 3 on O2 useless, and my replacement iPhone 4 useless, as even witht the sim in, it has to be synced with iTunes. . .
. . .Back home now, attempting to restore from the iTunes back-up. Frustratingly, the error message says:
“The software on the iPhone is too old to restore from the backup. Set up as a new iPhone and update the software before you can restore” Grrrr.
Your Gold Plate Mate as I’ve christened him, Riki Capone made his mark in Nottingham’s Post newspaper (mental note, must stop calling it the Evening Post, as all locals know it) when they ran my photograph of him presenting a microphone to comic Gina Yashere.
Riki’s business plates all kinds of unusual items with precious metals, and for the occasion he coated the mic in gold, which went down well with Gina at Nottingham’s new comedy venue, the Glee Club.
If you look carefully, you can see the rib he was munching, but refused to put down when I went backstage to take the photos!