Who I am

For the relaunch of my blog, I thought I’d start by introducing myself.

I’m a charity worker, humanitarian, active citizen.  That’s me!

I listen to people’s stories; their hopes and dreams, their fears.  I’ve realised that the more I hear, the less I truly know about the world.  My hunger for knowledge and truth is stronger than it’s ever been.

This blog is my space to share my thoughts, observations, and experiences, such as they are.

Hmm… that sounds a bit serious, doesn’t it?  It needn’t be.  I’ll mention anything that I think is interesting; whether it’s the arts or culture, science & technology, or perhaps some food that I’ve found particularly tasty.


As a bit of a follow-up to last year’s resolutions I’ve been thinking about not just what I want to achieve this year, but how I want to live this year.

I’ll flesh this out more over the coming days and weeks, but so far I’ve come up with: stay focussed, de-clutter, pursue passions, live more sustainably.

There’s no going back

Update: I’ve included the first photo taken with my EF 135mm ƒ2 L USM lens.

I’ve owned a dSLR camera for almost 3 and a half years now, starting with a Canon 550D before leaping to the 6D, which I adore.  I’ve learnt an awful lot from playing about with the settings on my camera, poring over photography magazines, investing in lenses, and following the work of excellent photographers.

I’ve owned a dSLR camera for almost 3 and a half years now, starting with a Canon 550D before leaping to the 6D, which I adore.  I’ve learnt an awful lot from playing about with the settings on my camera, poring over photography magazines, investing in lenses, and following the work of excellent photographers.

…the one thing I haven’t done in all these years though, is share many (any?) of my photos with the wider world, and I’ve taken a lot of photos.  Why?

All this time I’ve felt that I simply wasn’t good enough.  Seeing other photographers’ portfolios acts both as inspiration and sets an impossibly high bar.  I’ve since realised (obviously) that if you’re looking at a photographer’s portfolio from 20+ years in the field as a National Geographic contributor, then they’re going to be really good!  However everyone has to start somewhere, so get your act together and jump in.

At my worst, I’ve been known to leave entire shoots on an SD card and rather than import them into Aperture and edit them, I’ve simply bought a new SD card and filled that one up too.

But not any more, I’m back!

What’s changed?  Many photographers will know the situation: there’s an event on and people know you’re into photography, so ask that you attend as the event’s semi-official photographer.

Cutting to the chase, I took a photo on the day that made the front cover of a publication with a distribution of hundreds of people across the North West of England.  It was everything you’d want from a photo: good composition, real warmth from the subjects in the photo, and well, just generally interesting!

The cat’s out of the bag now: I need to step up my game, and start sharing my photos.  I’ve got a backlog of images that I need to sift through and edit, then I’ll share my favourites with you here.  I’ll also be looking at setting up a dedicated portfolio site.

As for that photo I took that ‘changed everything’ for me?  Well, I share copyright with the organisation that I took the photos for.  I’ll check whether I can share the photo and if the answer is yes, I’ll update this post to include it.

I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on ‘taking the leap’ and sharing your photos with the wider world.

A human being is a part of the whole

A human being is a part of the whole called by us the Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest- a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

— Albert Einstein


What do I want to achieve this year?  Well, where do I start?

The problem is that around this time, year after year, we all make these promises to ourselves which we don’t really intend keeping.  Maybe half-heartedly.  But at least we started off with good intentions, right?

We’re all setting ourselves up to fail; being either too specific, or being too unrealistic.  See the bike rusting away in the garage, the gym membership going to waste, or the language book left unread.

We don’t need a change of habit, we need a change of perspective.  If you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll never find the answers that you need to hear.  I’ll share a couple of questions that I’m going to be asking myself this year instead:

  1. Who you are is more important than what you do.  Who do you want to be?
  2. What if it all goes wrong?  You will never be sure.  Take a leap of faith.

So rather than set myself arbitrary ‘goals’ that I may never achieve, this year I need to be able to provide some answers to these questions.  Many thanks to John O’Nolan; a person from whom I drew a lot of inspiration for this post.  A very wise chap.

What do you want to do this year?  Or really, who do you want to be?

Snowdon fundraising update

To everyone who sponsored my Snowdon trek, a heartfelt thank you!  Because of your generosity over the next couple of weeks £213.32 will be making its way to the British Red Cross.

But wait, there’s more!  The Snowdon trek has given me an appetite for other walks and challenges, so I’m sure I’ll be doing something else very soon…

Single-issue tweeting

It seems that there are some unique species of tweeters out there in the twitter sphere.  Currently in focus through my social media binoculars is the ‘single-issue tweeter’ (Bill Oddie eat your heart out).  Niall Pemberton and myself have been plagued in recent weeks and months by such users.

We’ll often tweet or retweet about human rights or what’s happening in the third sector, and immediately gain a few followers, but as soon as one of us happens to tweet about football or the latest cinema release, we lose them.  Thankfully these Twitter users seem to be the exception, not the rule.

I suppose my question is, as we’re operating personal accounts, do our Twitter followers expect us to tweet about the same topic 24/7?  For example, I expect organisations such as Human Rights Watch and NHS Blood to tweet about their core messages all the time.

Have you come across the single-issue tweeter?