Tuesday, September 30, 2008


What is this all about then? Six degrees of separation that's what. How confusing is the title? I suppose I had better explain. Are you sitting comfortably, then I'll begin.

KNOXVILLE GIRL sent me and email about a couple she met called Marie and Dave in Knoxville. They just happen to be from the good' ole Isle of Man, and get this they know acquaintances of our very own cdp KNOXVILLE GIRL. .They are also the founders of the infamous MODDEY DHOO MCC .Well known around the island and in biking circles worldwide and by all accounts a rip roaring bunch of biking folks. Where else would you find this lot but on the Isle of Man, the home of the TT Road Races. The aims of the club are.

1 - To enjoy all aspects of motorbiking in the company of like minded people
2 - To attend and organise social functions as a group
3 - To help other members in any way possible
4 - To have a bloody good time
Now you can't argue with that philosophy can you now.
So where does the name come from, and the slightly different spelling. Ah, that would be the tale of the mythical  Moddey Doo black dog, the mysterious dog that haunts Peel Castle.

So there you go, from black cats, to black dogs thanks to KNOXVILLE GIRL . Now if I can just find the escaped wallaby and a manx fairy I'd have the full set.

Monday, September 29, 2008


One day you walk past the familiar sight of the Estate affectionately known as the "Pondi" in Ramsey, the next day this is what you see. In fact today these houses no longer exist. A pile of of demolished rubble stands in the place of what were once a proportion of Ramsey residents homes. To me, who is using to passing this place to get home the image is odd, very odd.

The Pondi contained an Estate of houses known as "Commissioners houses. "To Uk readers you may be more familiar with the term "Council Houses." I am not sure what the equivalent would be in other parts of the world, or even if this type of housing exists in this form elsewhere. Council Housing is a form of accommodation that is owned by the local Council authority and rented out to tenants on long term lets(lifetime in some people's cases) at a low rental. They are not Private sector rentals. The idea was to abolish the slum landlords and overcrowding and provide the working class or lower income families with affordable habitable accommodation. This enabled people to pay a lower rent with a view to purchasing their own home in subsequent years, then relinquishing the property to new tenants and continuing the cycle to provide a step on the mortgage ladder for all. With the boom and bust nature of the world at the moment, we need more of these, yet none are being built. All I will say before I go into a rant.

The Pondi is no more!A new lovely housing Estate has been built to replace it closer to the town centre.The residents then have thankfully been rehoused. What though is to become of this area? I have heard many theories, and conjecture. I will hold fire until I get the definitive answer. I know many people who started life here and who will probably look back fondly. I hope the demolition of the Pondi is a positive step forward for Ramsey and that the land is utilised accordingly for the good of the community. I know it's not the prettiest mono oddshot, but I like photojournalism and historical documentation images and I don't get the change in Ramsey to do them often. Life isn't all sunsets after all.

Does this kind of housing exist in your part of the world?

Want to join the weird world of Odd Shots Monday? Then see KATNEY

Want to join the beautiful and creative world of Mononchorome Monday? Then see Aileni at LOOSE ENDS

Sunday, September 28, 2008


This is the friendly black cat that I came across down by Ramsey Harbour the other day. He quite happily sat up there on his perch adopting his I'm a statue pose before jumping down to stretch out in the gutter. Why do cats decide the gutter, the edge of a roadside is the perfect place to stretch out? I know they have nine lives, but really cars only need to take one.

What of the myths and legends surrounding black cats? So many. See what wiki says below.

Witchcraft and superstition

Historically, black cats were symbolically associated with witchcraft and evil. In Hebrew and Babylonian folklore, cats are compared to serpents, coiled on a hearth. The cat was worshipped in Egypt and to kill one was a crime punishable by death. When an Egyptian family's cat died, the cat was mummified and the family went into mourning. Romans, also, considered the cat sacred and introduced the animal into Europe. In most European countries, except Britain and Ireland, a black cat crossing one's path is considered bad luck; they were also seen by the church as associated with witches. Black cats (and sometimes, other animals of the same colour, or even white cats) were sometimes suspected of being the familiars of witches. Black cats were believed to be shape shifters, that witches could transform into them by saying a spell and travel about doing evil things unnoticed. According to sources witches took such good care of their cats for this reason and it was rumored that they even fed them the blood of babies to stay youthful and agile. As the cat was a form of its witch owner it was believed that by harming a cat you were directly harming its witch. Many also believed that the devil regularly took the form of a black cat. Because of this on holy days, such as Easter, during the Middle Ages black cats were routinely hunted down and burned. By the 17th Century the cat began to be associated with witchcraft and its luck turned from good to bad in many areas around the world.

In Scotland, a strange black cat on your porch is a sign of upcoming prosperity. In Ireland, when a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, it means there is going to be an epidemic illness. In Italy hundreds of years ago, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick person, that person would die. Many years ago in England, fishermen's wives kept black cats in their homes while their husbands went away to sea in their fishing boats. They believed that the black cats would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands while they were away. Superstitions centering around the black cat are some of the most widely known and popular superstitions.

In places which saw few witch hunts, black cats retained their status as good luck, and are still considered as such in Britain and Ireland. They are also considered to be good luck on ships.[2]

However in Romanian and Indian culture, especially in the historical region of Moldavia in Romania and everywhere in India, one of the strongest superstitions still feared by many people is that black cats crossing their path represents bad luck, despite the fact that these regions were never affected by witch hunts or anti-paganism. An identical superstition survives also in Central Europe, such as the Czech Republic. There are also still myths and superstitions in America about black cats, and especially their bones, which are believed to hold magical powers. There is an Internet black market for the sale of black cat bones to be used in various ways to bring luck and power to the bearer of the bone.

Probably because of the Manx cat and being a myth and legend lover I am very interested in the superstitions and myths surrounding the black cat in your part of the world. Has wiki got it right? Have you got a black cat myth in your country. I found so much on the internet that contradicted each other that I thought better of printing it and asking you out there. I know always questions. Thw world would be a boring place if I got up toworrow with nothing else to learn.

For more wonderful camera critters see MISTY DAWN Camera critters and be sure to leave a nice comment for Misty' s own outstanding posts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Has something happened to Blogger? Apologises to anyone who left a commenst on skywatch that I haven't got back to yet, but about 20 have disappeared into the ether. Checked scheduled outrage and nothing there so who knows. Aplogisies too for this post, it was supposed to be a neme and awards post but pics and copy and paste won't load. It could of course be the Manx fairies being a little mischievous tonight as the whole server is somewhat erratic today so a modified draft post that was not due for an outing is here for your viewing pleasure instead.

We seem to be having somewhat of an Indian Summer here. On my virtual blog travels I see others parts of the world are too. Don't get me wrong I'm not complaining on a personal level but it is throwing the photography out of whack. People it's supposed to be red gold and greens intermingling leaves strewn across the pavements, not butterflies. The image shows you the leaves on the turn and as you can see in the background the bright blue cloudless sky peeping through looks more like the height of summer. Global warming no doubt. Personally I could do without seasons. Give me Provence( actually just give me Provence) sunshine all year round, no snow, no rain and I'd be a happy bunny. Poyll Dooey Nature Reserve is definitley having an identity crisis at the moment, clinging onto those metamorphing leaves. I will have no Autumn collection at this rate!

One thing I do have is lots of images that aren't so pretty. Ramsey is regenerating, supposedly.
One day I walk past a shop the next day it's closing. Houses are being demolished to make way for who knows what, the new swimming pool is still ongoing and roadworks abound. So we shall be leaving the Nature Reserve behind for a short hiatus to concentrate on the Ramsey buildings old and new. Quite what the workman think everytime I start trying to sneak into empty building to snap those arty derelict shots I don't know. It's like trying to get into MI5. The more closed off the cordoned demolition sites are, I'm afraid the more this photographer is intrigued. Perhaps it's the new Area 51?

Do you have any mystery areas in your town?

Magic post will appear whilst I'm asleep. That is if Blogger goes to print or maybe it's sleeping too. SHH!

Friday, September 26, 2008


It's Skywatch Friday again and that means it's going to be Ramsey Harbour and Ramsey Swing Bridge for me this week. As they say if it isn't broke don't fix it, so what else should I bring you after a black and white shot yesterday but a pretty sunset for skywatch.

It's taken on the same day as last week, only at a slightly different time an further over to the right. It will soon be too dark and cold for me to take these shots so I am making the most of them before it's cold wet and even more miserable than the already horrid summer we had this year. I expect I will be showing you dramatic cloud shots soon. Also I've been confined to the house with the flu thingy and it's been a week of archive images.

Today though I have been out and about meeting a very sweet black cat who posed nicely, photographing empty shops(don't ask) a few other little quirky little manx oddities and cranes. Lots of cranes. Why cranes? Well Gary is workiing on a project that involves cranes. He's also working on another hush hush project that involves a cinematic icon likeness and a well known phrase. It's all cloak and dagger isn't it, but I can't reveal more as yet. For a sneak peak you can catch his latest art work at BARKER BITES BACK! and drop a word or two.

Scarlet, tune in tomorrow for neme and some of you some blog awards.

To join skywatch go to SKYWATCH
The concept was Dot's, the next host WIGGERS WORLD the guardians of skywatch now are Tom, Imac and Sandy

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Ok I lied! No such thing as a black one. Well The Manx fairies might be hiding one in Ramsey.

Obviously it's a tulip, but a tulip with a twist a study in black and white. This is me playing around with composition, textures, light and monochrome using a portrait lens. 
As you can tell I am still basically housebound until this bug/flu/thingy goes away. Hence the proper stock photography shot. I hate taking flowers unless I can do them my way, like this homage to noir. This is a close to a proper lights camera action shot I will allow on this blog. After all photogenic modelling arty farty tulips are all very well but they are not downtown as it happens unrehearsed Ramsey.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Ramsey Day and the stunt bikes are out in force. You've seen the "flying bike" I've had for skywatch and "Vroom" for V and now I give you the Jumping bike. Ok It'd the same motorcyclist doing another trick form another angle, but a jump shot nonetheless. Photography is all about creativity and of course poetic license. It's also all about I have been stuck in the house for 4 days as I'm feeling pretty flu like rough so I've had to go through my back of tricks, known as the image library. It also accounts for why I have been off the internet and light blog hopping. Magic scheduled posts and stand by draft, don't you just love them.

Following on from yesterday and what setting to use this was the sport mode(the running man symbol) which freezes the bike in the air without blurring the spectators. So although he is travelling and the spectators are static the sport mode (or speed setting could be used) allows for this and freezes the bike in a single frame as if it's static and marries it with the background.
No need to go into Einstein's Theory of Relativity and speed of light in a vacuum scenarios, all you need to know is Babooshka's theory of "this setting works, don't analyse it, just use it."

I particularly like this shot for the simple reason I was not allowed in the stunt enclosure only official photographers. If you look closely you can see the photographer by the lower bike wheel watchhing me take the shot looking a bit miffed. Sometimes it's better to be on the outside looking in. All's fair in love war and photography.

Totally unrelated topics. Thanks Scarlet for the award, which I will of course pass on and thanks
too to for making me DAVID MCMAHON, AUTHORBLOG Post Of the Day again for yesterday and sharing the honours with many fine bloggers.

Want to join ABC got the lovely hostess with the mostest, MRS NESBITT'S PLACE

Monday, September 22, 2008


Ramsey Beach
Mooragh Promenade
Irish sea

For a change not a reflection shot on mirror like water. Don't cry they will be back. No they're just way to easy. If the water isn't moving you can get away with auto (if you don't mind a slightly bleached out look) as you don't have to alter the speed setting. For majestic crashing waves or for those silky ribbons of mist shots you need to switch to manual. Oh you knew I was going to say that didn't you. The shot might be abstract but the text is consistently mundane.

All you want to do if freeze the action. Now there are several ways to go about this, and one cheat. See if you have a sport mode on your camera. Usually a little man(not being sexist but it's always a little man) running or jumping. Try that mode first. It's a semi auto mode so it will set all your white balances for you. If it's gently crashing water, slow moving this is a great way to freeze the droplets as they are falling. Try it. If you still get a blur then tough luck, it's a manual you need as the sport mode is still to slow for the movement of the water. So no good for this image.

For this shot it was manual. As it was around noon on a sunny day the ISO was 100. The lower the ISO the sharper the image. To freeze the action of the droplets and keep the fluidity of incoming wave a speed of 800 was used A.3. Again fiddle around until you are happy with the setting as each wave will be a different speed. If I had wanted to have the droplets merge into one, those continuous silky water shots that have become fashionable(but not for me) then a tripod is recommended and a remote control. The speed would be altered the other way, ultra low into the minus section and possibly up the ISO to 200 just to have some extra light to counteract you merging the white with the green. Simple eh!

Lesson over. So many emails now that I think it's just simpler to do something like this once a week with an image on a frequently asked question. Actually I'm not the world's best photography teacher, I'm like er you just em' get the camera and er point it at the thingy you want to photograph. Now that's a bit crap really so I will do my best to be sensible, but honestly best advice practise, practise, practise and don't be frightened of your camera. You own it not the other way round.

Remember. You don't make mistakes then you aren't taking photos.

Go on then give me your best shot. I mean image not punch!


It's Oddshot Monochrome combination again. I'm enjoying these two nemes together immensely as I have to challenge the grey matter and purposely take shots for this day only. It also means I can sneak in perhaps a real gritty slice of Ramsey life. This is the alley, back of Taubman Street, I usually take the Isle Of Man TT photos from. Well the opposing end anyway. This is the back of the little CO OP shop.

Until the island went non smoking in public places indoors these two inviting plastic white chairs (note the fag packet and discarded fag ends underneath the right hand chair) would have been an extremely odd sight on a cold wet Autumn day down a nondescript down town Ramsey back alley. Now though it's a commonplace sight to see the empty chairs awaiting the smoking ladies from the CO OP to partake of their smoking break, with a hot beverage and a little light conversation.

Ramsey has adjusted to the non smoking in public places indoors regulations very well. Even those die hard pubs that were awash with a layer of cigarette fog patrons seem to have coped well. Smokers adorn the pub doorways and back alleyways have those telltale signs like half full fag packets under empty chairs.

Do you have the same policy in your area?

Want to join the weird world of Odd Shots Monday? Then see KATNEY

Want to join the beautiful and creative world of Mononchorome Monday? Then see Aileni at LOOSE ENDS

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Manx cats are tailless cats by birth and yes as I've posted before originate from the Isle of Man. The cat in the photo is the same one I have posted previously, but you couldn't really see he had no tail in that one. As you can see here, no swishing tail, not even a stump. In the Manx language they are called a "Stubbin" and other nicknames include, stubbie, rumpy, bobtail manxie and dogcat. Sure I will find more nicknames after this post.

Types Are

  • Rumpy - Completely tailless.
  • Riser - Bit of stump at base of spine.
  • Stumpy - A short stump of a tail.
  • Longy - A visible short tail.

  • I never here anyone refer to Manx cats in these terms though as types. You mainly see the Rumpy the completely tailless one very muscular and tabby in colouring. This is the only tortoise shell rumpy I have ever seen in Ramsey. In fact there aren't many Manx cats around my part of Ramsey. I had hoped to show you another one at some time but they all seem to have got passports and gone travelling.

    Have you ever seen a Manx cat, or even owned one, and did you know they originated from the Isle Of Man?

    For more wonderful camera critters see MISTY DAWN Camera critters and be sure to leave a nice comment for Misty' s own outstanding posts.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008


    "Do you always have a camera with you?" asked many a person. The simple answer is mostly. Not always, but 90% of the time I would have to say I do. That means I often take images that were never meant to be . Unplanned random shots that just jump out at me and beg to be taken. Like this one last tonight along Parliament Street. Gary and I ordered and Chinese, waited for the taxi to take us home, camera came out. Needless to say we had also had a drinkies or several down the Swan prior to the Chinese. Photography, booze and 5 spare mins a heady mix. So who's for a lesson in night time photography?

    Firstly lets explode a few myths. You don't need a tripod. It can be done hand held, even when inebriated. You don't have to have fancy pants light meters. You don't have to have camera hoods. It's all about the settings. The shot itself is easy. Enough white building to bounce/reflect light. The sky although darkening still has a little tinge of light. The only bugbear are the artificial lights. This is where people go wrong and get those nasty trails of blurry orange or white light instead of sharp chunks of glow. So firstly forget the auto. Switch to manual and fiddle around with your white balance (ISO) and the F. stops. Take 3 or 4 at different speeds until you eliminate the trails. So this one was ISO 400, F2, low light(slow) wide angled lens on full zoom and a drunken photographer, although that is optional. You keep the warm tones, see the lettering clearly and the feel of a nighttime shot without sacrificing detail or sharpness. If I can do it drunk then you can do it sober. I want results people!

    Well busy weekend. Apparently a big rugby weekend coming up and I have to drag my sorry ass up the Mooragh to photograph it, plus go to the clubhouse later that evening to see what we think is a Ska band or a Ska/Punk band. Who cares it's live music, and I love a live band. Ramsey you see knows how to have fun once in a while. What are your plans?

    Friday, September 19, 2008


    Ramsey Harbour Sunset.

    Got to post an archive tonight. Still having a sort out of images and this is one from my little Olympus point and shoot. The colours are really intensified as it was quite late when I took this and the camera hasn't quite got the best setting for the evening light and colours. That's why they are a little too rich, especially the purple tones for me . It's a very popular image though as it's so vivid, so who am I too argue. with the buying public. Tends to be used as a postcard. Wonder if they write wish you were here on it?

    The bridge in the background is Ramsey Swing Bridge. Another reason for posting this was for those that had asked for a bridge shot in full view. So that's it in the distance, under the setting sun. Next week I will show the bridge in full but closer. I won't include this in my 100 shots as it's too far away. Now for something completely different!

    Have I ever told you about the escaped wallaby. No? Well it was supposed to have escaped from the wildlife park years back. There have been sighting of it along with flying pigs and white elephants of course. Really though, the wallaby has been seen crossing the Mountain road, leaving Ramsey so I thought I might try and track it down. I know it 's not a Yeti or the Loch Ness Monster but we are a small island and a wallaby isn't to be snifffed at. Don't forget we have Manx fairies too. Honest. They sprinkle the colours into the sunset.

    To join skywatch go to SKYWATCH
    The concept was Dot's, the next host WIGGERS WORLD the guardians of skywatch now are Tom, Imac and Sandy

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008


    "Do you want to take my picture?" said the man in the yellow truck.
    "Ok if you don't mind people as far as America to Australia seeing it," said the photographer.

    Out and about on the dullest greyest day in history. Well not quite! There I was snapping the sweep of the road when the man in the truck asked the jokey question, to which came my jokey reply. Yes I am a photographer and proceeded to tell him all about the Daily Photo. I'm not one to miss an opportunity like this, especially as the locals usually run away. So my first official local
    person for you. Say hello to Sean/Shaun( yes I didn't get the which one doh!but if you let me know I can use the right name) out and about working in Ramsey. He even got out to shake my hand.

    Actually he was a great source of info. Ramsey is going through some changes presently and me and my camera have been documenting them. For instance yesterday I photographed something as it was literally being knocked down. I think the workmen thought I was a complete nutcase. We discussed what was happening to Ramsey, the proposed new plans or no plans, what may or may not come to town, all within the space of a couple of minutes. Then he was on his way, and I was on my way my to my next photo area a demolition. Glamorous huh!

    So thank you Sean/Shaun for taking a couple of minutes out of your busy working day, to help out this working photographer. So a genuine local for you to say hello too. I hope to bring you more as nice and friendly as this one.

    So has anyone asked you to take there photo for your city daily photo?


    Isle Of Man TT

    Well what else was I going to have for the letter this week. A no brainer really. Actually it came in quite handy as I am re sorting the images due to the publication of some fresh ones in Motoaction Magazine. Folks Remember, people read your blog and see your images. The ones in the mag, are ones from the blog, and remember my best bike images don't make the blog.

    Again the image was taken, back alley Taubman St. looking onto the Swan pub. It's a low res watered down blog version. This image does require a decent camera, to handle the speed, low light, a telscopic/telephoto lens and a steady hand. So this is a real bog standard job photo, because that's me a photographer. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it!

    To join abc see

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008


    Back Door Slam
    Laxey Blues Festival
    When they were a baby band!

    One from the archives, my own personal little olympus shots. Not a work shot, which is why it's
    not a great shot. This shot is has nothing to do with photography today, but the music. So why a shot of this band today? Read on.

    Back Door Slam are a blues band from the Isle Of Man. I could enthuse all day about this band, not just because they are genuine homegrown talent, but beacuse they are exceptionally talented musicians. I was lucky enough to see these lads, when they really were boys at the Laxey Blues Festival a few years back. They even jammed in a local pub afterwards. Everyone knew then these lads had something special.

    This week I got an email telling me the blog had been name checked along with the band. Followed the link to guess what little old Backdoor Slam who are setting the world a light in Colarado at the Telluride Blue and Brews Festival. To see and read more about the festival check out Lisa, Telluride DP which has a great round up of festival posts. Anything in blue by the way is a link.

    One day I would like to just wander into Backdoor Slam in Ramsey, take pics and publicise them on the blog. Give us a shout next time you are this way lads. I'd also like to photograph Pink Floyd, but sad news RICK WRIGHT died today aged 65 after a long battle with cancer. I really am saddened by this . Photography is a passion, a job, but music is my love affair.

    Monday, September 15, 2008


    Monochrome Monday
    Oddshots monday

    For a while now I've been with Oddshots Monday. A new Neme By Aileni called Monochorme Mondays has started and yes I want to do both as B&W is right up my street. The daily photo though is a single image( mostly) so I 've had the idiotic notion to combine the two concepts with one image. So please be prepared for some lateral thinking and don't think in a literal sense all the time. Here we go.

    The White Bridge Ramsey, straddles the Sulby River, deep within Poyll Dooey nature reserve.
    Nothing odd so far it's a bridge and it's white. This is the lateral bit. It's always shot from the other side looking side onto the bridge with the hills as a backdrop. No one ever shoots from this side of the riverbank, looking down the bridge. Even I have only shot it this way recently. So there you have it a monochrome oddshot. Don't forget not everything in life is black and white, but shades of grey, and odd is a concept open to interpretation like everything else.

    The BBC have uploaded the Gary's cartoons Politics Show to You Tube. Here's the link

    Want to join Odd Shots Monday?Then see KATNEY
    Want to join Mononchorome Monday? Then see AiLENI at LOOSE ENDS

    Apologisies re emails and posts all over the place. Just a little mad here at the moment, and net painfully slow.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008


    For once no bird or cutie. This is a hoverfly. Often confused with a wasp, but on close examination you can see it clearly not.

    Unlike bees and butterflies which have been scarce, I have seen an abundance of these hoverflies
    around the nature reserve this year. Has anyone else noticed this too?

    Got to run, it's late here and tomorrow is going to be a busy day. Not me, my partner. UK readers, watch or record the Politics Show BBC1. Gary's cartoon srtip will be on, voiced by John Culshaw. You heard that hear first. The first installment of the cartoon strip can be seen at this link BARKER GALLERY BBC POLITICS SHOW

    For more wonderful camera critters see MISTY DAWN Camera critters and be sure to leave a nice comment for Misty' s own oustanding posts.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008


    One more of Sulby River, and a bit of a curio. Do photographers ever take bad photos.? Yes. Do they make mistakes? Yes. Do they take an image with the wrong setting on. Yes Yes most definitely Yes!

    Obviously the river is not this green. It has had a green tinge lately, due to the water being so high, and with what the tide has dragged in with it, but this is ridiculous. The grass is certainly not shocking lime with a hint of yellow either. So what happened?

    Simple. Wrong setting! I had been taking images towards the sun and at speed. I just started snapping here as it was nicely framed and the football in the water, really popped out. When I spied them in the view finder I realised my mistake. After uploading this one struck me as being
    usable for the purpose of demonstrating what the wrong setting can do. Interestingly though it's turned out quite well. Photographers favourite friend serendipity again. It looks wholly unnatural, because it is, but a it's popular because it's pretty. Who am I to argue with the buying public. Not this know it all photographer that's for sure. You'd all have litter and sofas in the nature reserve if I had my way.

    Gary and I are having a skive today. No bloody work! I know it's Saturday, but sometimes that's a busy day. It might be the pub watching the football, it might be the wildlife park. It might be doing sod all and being an utter couch potato. Who knows, but we aren't lifting a working finger in the direction of a paintbrush or a camera.

    What are you doing today?

    Friday, September 12, 2008



    Hello! It's that time of week again when we all look to the skies. I seem to have included water and reflections again in mine. What do you think of that sky though? Do you see an ominous sky about to unleash a downfall, or an optimistic sky clinging to the light at the end of the tunnel. I know which way it went for the next 2 hours I was out there, but what do you think and see?

    This is the Sulby River again. Last week's skywatch we were along the river in the nature reserve. This week we are along the same path, but closer to town. This is a far as the path can take us along the river. Now I have to leave the path, walk past Ramsey Bakery, cross the main road and then onto the road along the harbour side. In case anybody is wondering where their rain had got too here it is.!This is actually still quite high. A dry day purleeeeease! Or was this the day we got one? What does the pic say to you?

    I'm early posting, due to much work to do. So the night that Gary has sent his 5 cartoons off to the BBC, I'm the one messing about with more bike images due the publication of mine in
    "Motoaction"( does anyone know of this mag in Brazil?) this week. I thought I was done with these for this year, but no. I've also had a little drinkies. Seriously I got cajoled into having a few down one of Ramsey's fine pubs. No a good idea when you have images to scrutinise.

    To join skywatch go to SKYWATCH
    The concept was Dot's, the next host WIGGERS WORLD the guardians of skywatch now are Tom, Imac and Sandy

    Ciao for now! I may be awake all night, or fall asleep in five minutes. Lager. Bad stuff.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008


    Red on Green

    I'm all over the place at the moment. Blogger wasn't loading images, links not linking and the CDP was down. Anyone else have these issues? Just help me to know if it's just an island problem or universal. So image of the cuff again. Basically the first one that would load. Doesn't look at all like the pub I wasn't trying to upload!

    Poyll Dooey nature reserve is on the turn. Only just touched Sept, barely Autumn, yet the leaves are starting to loose their greens tones and give way to russets, reds, yellows and golds. I hate the weather but it's my favourite season to photograph. I'm not a flower photographer but I am a leaf photographer.

    Autumn(fall) is the only season I would advise images to be predominately colour as opposed to b&w.
    You can't tell it's autumn in a monotone. Red, yellow and green, need to be seen. A daffodil can be b&w. You know it's a spring flower, so you can pinpoint the season. Not so an autumn leaf. It needs to be seen in all it's glory loud and proud, showing off it's glorious autumn attire. This was a portrait lens, not a macro. I wanted to keep the soft focus underneath the leaf for depth of field and to have the image unbalanced. Hence the weight of the image is crammed with foliage on one side. A tight crop would would be nice, but it wouldn't put the image in context of it's surroundings.

    Remember all those motorbike images from the summer, the Isle Of Man TT Road Races. Well if find yourself in Brazil(well you never know!) take a peek in a magazine called "Motocation," you may recognise two images from the blog. Yes, Baboohka's images are in there for a special about the TT Road Races. Sometimes you take a image, forget it and it turns up months later. Even better they used one for the index list, the lead shot. By the way, if you do sell your images to a magazine always ask for two copies, you may get one, I got three.

    Gary has been a naughty boy and uploaded an image about the "lipstick on a pig" Obama comment on his other blogs


    Just thought some of you might want to check it out. This will not be a BBC one and probably not bought by a Republican.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008



    Last minute post. This is Ramsey Harbour, the working end as I call it. Not often you see it like this empty. Always boats moored obscuring the the view of the quayside. The solitary boat, serendipity and the buoy just bobbed into shot. A very dreary day so it went straight to monochrome. One thing about a grey day is you already have plenty of greyscale tones so they convert to B&W painlessly. Don't overdo the contrast. You end up with no shadow details and a harsh flat white. The colours tones should blend not fight each other.

    What I like about this area and why I've tried to capture it boat free is it refers back to what I was saying the other day about dating a place by it's skyline not ground level. From the modern (well not that modern) flats to the mix of houses, pub and business premises in front you can see a timeline developing.

    I've covered this in two posts before but Radio Caroline, Pirate radio station, was moored here and The Euterpe, or Star of India, tall ship was actually built here. A blog search will lead you to those posts.

    It' a bit mad here at the moment. Gary has to do five drawing this week, instead of one. Can't go into details, but if you're in the UK, Sunday BBC1 Politics show. Watch or record. All I can say for now and no Gary will not be on it's the pics, but I can't say anymore.

    Sad news today. Another British Pier has burnt down. What's really sad about this one is it's Fleetwood Pier, Gary's old hometown and where friends and relatives still live. Who said insurance job. The thought has occurred. Seems to be happening to a lot of properties in the UK
    at the moment.

    Want to join ABC got the lovely hostess with the mostest, MRS NESBITT'S PLACE

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008


    One of those bottoms was sat round my house today! Supping coffee, recalling his hols, visit back home(Irish, not a Manxman), the weddings, looking at Gary's latest work and of course talk of the Rugby Season. Hence the image. It tied in with me organizing the image library and again this is one that has been gathering virtual dust. Sometimes you just forget what you take and why. This I'll dedicate to Joanne in England who can never get enough of my Rugby pics of men in shorts. It's only a stock one so I'll send you a large image for the French hols pics. Deal.

    Ramsey are the ones in the blue shirts. I was going to upload the monochrome version, then I realised that would be no good if I said blue shirts in a black and white photo. Doh! Anyway it's Rugby Season. This was home game match( I am not allowed to mention the other team) and as you can see the lads were getting stuck into a "scrum." The Rugby Pitch, Mooragh, runs alongside the Promenade. You can see the harbour in the background. In other Rugby shots I've shown you the Mountain backdrop. I know I'm lucky. No hooligans here. It's a family sport.

    Brad, this is also for you and your son's baseball games. Take static shots first, where they are positioned for action, then progress to movement shots we discussed. Next time I'll show how to freeze the action, even on a little digital. This sport is a lot easier to take than the motorbikes. Another tip, know the rules of the game. This helps to take the money shot. The local paper will only take a few shots and disappear. You stay the game and you'll get the better shot. Again do not saturate the colours. The teams strip should be photographed as they wear it, not over egged.

    Looking forward to the season. Expecting some big wins this year, and some great photos. Ramsey, don't let Ramsey down. I'm watching you.

    Monday, September 08, 2008


    Isle of Man map or Graffiti Odd shot?

    Well no one can ever say I only put the pretty shots on. I did say you might be getting a lot of snapshots this week, well here's the first. For those of you who just want Moody Blues and glorious Ramsey sunsets look away now. For those of you who can handle honest Ramsey read on.

    I snapped this on the one of the local buses. I waited 'til everyone had got off and quickly knocked off a few auto shots. I didn't take the material to the edge of the shot so you could see what it is. Yes it is a bus seat. It's had a makeover by the look of it too.

    I think the kids may have been bored over the holidays. It is graffiti, but I hate to say it's the most ingenious graffiti I've seen on the island. That green splodge you see dotted about the bus seat is the Isle of Man. Most of the map is right, but for some reason they have placed Kirk Micheal(KM) on the opposite side to where it should be. I think this person doesn't like Peel either as where the KM is should be Peel. Unless of course they are just trying to fool the tourists. We don't want you taking all our lovely Davidson's ice cream or Manx kippers. Good idea, lets hide Peel. The 3 legged object in the centre of the map is of course the most famous Manx symbol, The Triskelion as featured on the flag.

    This is really a shot that should be monochrome, but for the purposes of odd shots you really needed to see the green land, and the blue sea. Don't we just have the quirkiest bus seats? Jealous aren't you! I bet you don't have a regional hand coloured map on yours either do you? No you don't do you! Now kids if you're reading this. It's very naughty, don't do it again. Instead put those artistic geographical skills to use at school and produce some er legal artwork.

    Want to join Odd Shots Monday?

    Then see KATNEY

    Sunday, September 07, 2008


    Never mind the last one, we have hardly had any butterflies this year. Our lovely budliea bushes, butterfly bush to you Americans out there, in Ramsey have been lacking in beautiful butterflies. The nature reserve is usually covered in them but not this summer. Now summer is dying and autumn is birthing and the butterflies are fading from view.

    This was another shot lying on the floor along the inlet of Ramsey Harbour. With no macro or even portrait lens to hand had to make do with the telescopic lens. They are a very useful lens for softening the edges of the frame of an image. That lens is so big I'm surprised he didn't take flight. Butterflies are not really my thing to shoot, but I like this as it's not in it's usual setting, foliage. His delicate softness against the harsh grey stone just adds contrast. Subjects shot out of their natural environment I tend to like shooting, and for selling purposes work better.

    Never, ever overdo the saturation, brightness or contrast on these shots. I left this natural. The butterfly already has enough natural colour, the background is already grey enough. You lose fine detail when you pump up contrast, they become flat and washed out if too bright and artificial with extra rich hues. So many potentially sellable images are overdone in photoshop. They may look great as a virtual image, but when printed they are have harsh colours and loose definition. Mother nature knows best, and you can capture what she offers you with practise.

    I'm going to be mega busy this week so I may be around less and you may get just snapshots on the hoof. Now is the time I start concentrating on the Christmas market. So goodbye to greeting card butterflies and hello to British robins holly and the arty farty shot.

    For more wonderful camera critters see MISTY DAWN Camera critters and be sure to leave a nice comment for Misty' s own oustanding posts.

    Saturday, September 06, 2008


    For ABC Wednesday I posted this shot as a monochrome, a black and white shot. This was the original image, before I desaturated the colour. Which though is the better image?

    The black and white one is a classic ground eye shot. I said this before but it's the kind you see in
    Sunday supplements and music mags. You tend to notice that certain shots are favoured for different concepts and mediums. This version is in it's natural state, which is already quite bright and rich in colour. You wouldn't see this image though. If this image was used the colours would all be bumped up, saturated, very artificial. No individual colours would be picked out the image it would be saturated en mass. The grass would have a yellow hue, the sky a richer blue and certainly the guy with the pale pink shirt would find he was now sporting a hot pink shirt. To me this already has a vivid enough hue anyway, but that's' just the way it is. Take a look at your Sunday supplements this weekend. None of the colours will be natural.

    Personally I prefer the monochrome. It's timeless as well as retro. It emphasises the foreground blur and has more depth. On the other hand the colour here draws you to the bareback skin tones, the green bag and of course the pink shirt. The image feels more complete as a b&w whereas the colour feels disjointed and will eventually date the image. B&w images have a longer shelf life, but aren't always the best version of the image.

    So on a personal note what do you prefer? No right or wrong answer, it's personal taste. It's just to give you an idea of how one image can have two identities and how the market place uses them. I haven't even commissioned the colour one, it's gathering virtual dust, just the black and white which I put for tender. It's sells and I know it would always outsell the colour if I chose to offer for use.

    It's been a crap day here. Confined indoors due to the weather. The internet has been a nightmare again, so my absence may have been noted. Apologises for negelecting blogger duties. Gary is in the zone at the moment. Sarah Palin, I have news for you. You are a godsend to the political cartoonist! I think he will have to tone down the sketches he has at the moment. It must be amusing to our American Friends out there, that in the backwater of nowhere known as Ramsey, Isle of Man, your electioneering is followed so closely, it pays ours bills.

    Friday, September 05, 2008



    September already! What happened to the British summer wet, wet,wet. Blue sky days have been few. I could fill a skywatch year of Fridays full of clouded skies or arty shots to cover up for the fact we have had hardly any sunshine or blue sky days. Today though was the put his hat on and game out to play. For a little while anyway.

    This image was taken today along Sulby River, Ramsey. Due the rain it's still quite high, but with little breeze the water was fairly still. Again it's a manual shot. Remember if you do try a manual shot you will need to change both your camera body and your lens setting. The more you practise focusing with a manual the better you will get. Time for the wide angled lens again. No alterations. The image as taken. The more you compose your image first and learn how to use your camera setting, the better your image will be, and you can ditch(almost) the photoshop.

    I don't like posting shots I'm not happy with, but next week I might post a manual and an auto shot of the same subject so you can see the difference. It might be easier that way for you to see why I say manual beats digital software. What do think?

    Just wanted to show a very straightforward image tonight, busy on other projects.

    To join skywatch go to SKYWATCH
    The concept was Dot's, the next host WIGGERS WORLD the guardians of skywatch now are Tom, Imac and Sandy

    Thursday, September 04, 2008


    Still sorting through the images. Laborious but it has to be done. The Babooshka household is a mess again at the moment. Lightboxes(yes a real one), printers, scanners cluttering the floor. Then of course it's Gary's artwork. The political pile, the vector pile, the scanned pile, the prints,
    the BBC pile, the .. oh you get the drift. It's like playing hopscotch on the living room floor. No clear path, like avoiding cracks in the pavement. Like the schools, the Politicians go back in the UK after summer and that means Gary has to have his satirical, biting, political cartoonist head on for the next BBC gallery he's about to start. So he won't be cooking my dinner for a while!

    The image today is just a stock pic for another project. Ramsey Skylines. As you can see it's a jaunty angle and incomplete either side. There is a reason why it's like that. It all about aging a town. It's not the shop fronts you should look at but the skyline. Ground level can go through many incarnations, new windows, doors, paint, tiles, clading, but the top layer tends to remain the same. The topline architecture is what I need to concentrate on as this is where the building can be accurately assessed and aged. So you have two clear buildings and one, the left top corner, the hint of the next building. The angle allows the chimneys pots(weeds optional) and tiled sloped roof to be viewed. A straight on shot would flatten that part of the image, which for the project is the pivotal point. Not so glamorous now this photography lark is it? If it was all sunsets though I would be soooooooooo bored! Note the colours are left natural and the image not brightened. Project images like this have to be as seen.

    Are you still awake? Who is that out there I can see nodded off? You mean you did not take notes. Tsk! Ok for being good boys and girls you can have nice skywatch shot tomorrow. The possibilities. Arty farty, black and white, dripping with sunest hues or thunderclouds. Who knows. I'm just not that organised this week.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008


    This is an archive. As you know I am organizing and filing the archive images. I was actually looking for either the Grandstand, where the TT races start and finish or The Grand Prix Motorbikes Races. I got a little side tracked and found this one. A "Ground Eye"(or worm eye) view of an event called Party in the Park.

    You often see these type of Ground Eye shots in magazines, typically of anything to do with music. JAMJARSUPERSTAR will know exactly what I mean by this, as she is the concert scene queen, and ligger. Your Sunday supplement, the broad sheets will definitely have this shot. So long as you don't mind lying on your stomach( wear old jeans!) grass stains and people staring at you(I'm a photographer dear, honest) with a suspicious look then it's worth a shot. Works bests shooting up hill, blurring the foreground slightly and having everything unbalanced. Do not have uniform people and try and get the odd body on one side not fully in the frame. Uneven rows of concert watchers too for depth and perspective. Contrast to yesterday this is a sold image and as I retain copyright, free to release again. Get one of these in your photography portfolio you students out there. Media and advertising justlove it. My book will be out for Christmas .Joke! New Year.

    This was Party In the Park 2006. Basically, it's was an all day Sunday music bonanza in Ramsey over at Mooragh Park. All comers welcome. Lots of local bands, from schoolkids to veterans, food, soft drinks and on this particular day plenty of sunshine and best of all no trouble. So can you organise another one for us in Ramsey please. We showed you we could behave and we promise to pick up our litter. I need to get some more shots like this too.Thank you.

    Want to join ABC got the lovely hostess with the mostest, MRS NESBITT'S PLACE

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008


    Oh dear, that title! Looks more like an Abc Wednesday than a toned down Tuesday. I am having a clear out of images at the moment. There gets to a stage where you have to take stock and rethink the image library. Is it selling, have I put it for sale, can it be used on a project or campaign etc. The main question is why haven't I used it. Sometimes I simply forget and file away say 100 sunsets for a rainy day on a disc just as back up. Mostly though they are gathering virtual dust because they aren't right.

    This is one such image. I have better versions of it that are in the sales market. So why this would be no use for me? The horizon isn't straight, it dips slightly on the right. The sun has too much of a white glare. The top corner edges are a little pink, not in keeping with the golden tones. The boats are neither silhouetted or showing enough detail, sought of caught in the middle. Overall it's a "nice" snapshot, but it's not viable for sale. Not for me anyway. I could use software to alter it but you would lose on one hand to gain on another and the image isn't worth it. It would still be not quite right.

    So what to do with it? Well I found a use for it here. Purely an exercise in being brutal with your images if you are considering trying your hand at selling them. As this blog is primarily about Ramsey I am happy can make blog use of it here. It shows another view of Ramsey Harbour from an alternative area, at a different time of day. In essence, what the daily photo is all about. A snapshot of the area I live, titled in the blog.

    So normally this image would be dumped, but it has escaped the axe as it's probably more in keeping with the nature of the blog than most images I've shown. Should I show more snapshots, or should I show finer work? My best never go on here anyway. It isn't a photography blog, but it is hard to pull back and not show images that I am 100% happy with.

    So I put the question to you. Should I show more that I wouldn't sell and tell you what's wrong with them, as photographic tips or show the finer more creative work?

    Apologises for answering no emails today. The internet has been a nightmare. My poor partner has had an ordeal with his own artwork uploads and I have crashed most sites.


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