Photography at night

I have decided that this year, I will mostly be taking photographs at night. Well, mostly might be overstating it a bit, but “sometimes” might cover it. “More frequently than in the past” might also be more accurate.

While we were in London last weekend, I took most of my shots in the evening or at night. Obviously there are some additional challenges there when compared to daytime shots, but the dramatic contrast between the lit and unlit areas is, to my eye, quite pleasing. For example, here’s one of Tower Bridge, Been done a billion times before, but the floodlighting certainly adds something to the drama of the scene. I metered off the stonework while we were crossing and the exposure has worked out perfectly.

This week’s “Photo of the week” was also taken on that visit – that one was at dusk and has an exposure time of about 4 seconds.

There are also examples that I took in Venice for the “Night Challenge” that I like. Now, I must make sure that I get hold of a stock of Neopan 1600 before it all disappears. These two shots were with Tri-X, though, which is probably the best all round black and white film ever made.

The book arrived yesterday. I am very pleased with it. The better quality paper is probably worth the addition couple of quid. One frustrating thing, ironically, is watching the track page of the FedEx website. “Come on! It’s been stuck in Paris for 12 hours now! What’s going on?” kind of thing.


I have been doing a bit of research into mistletoe. Apparently, it could be very helpful for people with low grade, indolent, follicular B-Cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – like me. It boosts the immune system for a start.

So, next time I see my specialist (Wednesday next week), I will ask him whether he knows anything about it.

While in London at the weekend, we went into a herbalist in Neal’s Yard and asked about it. The assistant was extremely helpful, but they were reticent about selling it to me, given that I actually have something wrong with me. If I were just a healthy Druid, she’d have had no problem. In fact, for the first time in my life, I was asked “Are you a Druid?” I look so much like a Druid, I’m amazed she had even a slight doubt.

So, it’s “Vitamin R” session Nr 3 next week.

Good news is that progress is being made with the NICE approval and with a bit of luck it will go onto the approved list before the summer, meaning this nonsense about turning up as the ward closes will be over and I can have the treatment along with everyone else.

Checking the website at Blurb, I see that my book is due for dispatch tomorrow, so with a bit of luck it will be here by Friday. I’m looking forward to seeing it, of course and, since it’s only 10×8 inches, I will be able to carry it round in my briefcase easily to show off what I do.

I have a few prints being printed this week for hanging on the office meeting room walls. Which reminds me, I must do an invoice for them…

Other news? Well, I need to research the possibility of hiring a long lens to go on holiday with this year. We have booked to go to New England in June and a long lens would be very handy when it comes to watching (and shooting) whales. I’m not sure about insurance for one, though, but if I get a chance, I might pop into Calumet this week or next and ask. Will definitely take the binoculars of course. We haven’t been on a long haul holiday for nearly 10 years (indeed, we’ve only been long haul once before at all), so the experience is going to be an interesting one. We fly into and out of Boston, but spend a week on Cape Cod, then follow up with a bit of touring round the coast and the countryside. Should be good.

Only 4 months away now.

A very bad December

Now I can do a post about what happened during December.
Starting with the treatment, I did manage to be seen on the Friday evening. The nurse who had volunteered to stay behind on the Thursday also did so on the Friday too, so that was much appreciated. Clearly, this is proving much more difficult for him to organise than he first thought (especially as he’d been in the US for several days at a conference, running up to the treatment day). Maybe, if he is actually in the country, February’s session will run more smoothly. We will see.
However, as you will have gathered, the big news for December, was that Pippa died. She was absolutely fine on the Wednesday evening until about 9:30, when she took herself off to one of her favourite chairs, in the dining room, overlooking the back garden. I went downstairs to let her outside at bed-time, around 11:30, and found that she had been sick in several places around the house. I let her into the garden while I cleared this up, and found that she wouldn’t (or couldn’t) come back. She was lying on the grass, in the cold and obviously pretty unwell.
I picked her up, brought her back in and settled her into her bed.
In the morning, she was pretty much lifeless. She couldn’t stand and her breathing was laboured and shallow. I took her to the vet and waited outside with her until he opened. She was on the passenger seat of the car, and her breathing more or less stopped while we waited. I couldn’t feel a heartbeat and thought that she had died then.
On his surgery table, he heard a faint beat and I obviously left her with him. I kissed her on her head as he took her into the treatment room and she just about managed to look at me. She died at around 11:30. The vet thinks that she probably had a massive stroke on the Wednesday evening. She was only 9 ½ and she was a beautiful dog.
We will collect her ashes after the New Year holidays are over and take her up to Thurstaston Common, her favourite local walk. Lots of squirrels to chase for eternity up there. (Tears are rolling down my cheeks as I type this…)
The house is so empty. Yesterday, New Year’s Eve, was the first time in those 9 ½ years that I had been totally alone in the house. She was like a Philip Pullman daemon. She was always with you and I reckon that I spent more time in her company than Ann’s. Her loss has been terrible. I loved that dog.
So. We will need to buy another dog sometime this year – probably in the Summer when we get back from holiday. A 50th Birthday present, maybe. The house and the family is now incomplete without one.