Sunday, 30 November 2008

To have a Tree, or not to have a Tree, that is the question

Well Most Excellent Blog Readers, the question has arisen in the Messy household: should we get a Christmas Tree this year. It is a question fraught with emotion (mostly mine) as in all our 8 years of marriage (eek!) we have never had a Christmas Tree of our very own. Tinsel, yes; Decorations, yes; Holly, yes but an actual tree (alive or dead), NO.

Mostly we have never really had the space to store a tree and all the accompanying trimmings, so we have just made do with decorations strung festively about in an effort to create some Christmas spirit. I suspect we have a box of gaudy baubles (marked "Fragile: Christmas Decorations") in every State of Australia we have ever lived in: Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne.

However, given that we are in London, and fresh trees are readily available, I raised the issue with Mr Messy about whether we might have a tree this year. His answer? "If it costs less than £10 you can get one."

"£10!!!! ARE you SERIOUS???? You can't even buy a needle off a tree for that amount of money!" I mean, I don't want a Fraser Fir, or a Supreme Nordman Fir or even a Blue Spruce- a regular ole Scots pine will do. But they DO cost more than a tenner....ummm, considerably more :(

So, unfortunately dear blog readers, this year we will once again be Without Tree. Instead I will be forced to frequent the shops of Marylebone, Pimlico and Columbia Road to breathe in the scent of pine and citrus, touch the spindly needles and delight in the twinkly lights and lavish decorations. Oh, and I can be smug in the knowledge that once New Years Day rolls around, I, for one, won't be dragging a half dead tree through the flat, down the stairs and out the front door leaving a pine forest of razor sharp needles in my wake...or trying to find a hiding space for the box marked "Fragile: Christmas Decorations"!

Store window on Pimlico Road (above)

Is this a dog or a bear??? or half and half?

Does this cat look suspiciously real to you??? I dearly hope that someone has not stuffed their beloved meow and stuck her in the window!

Thursday, 27 November 2008


I wanted to post more than this here little ole' autumn leaf but computer

So blame it. Not me. For the lack of interestingness of this post :)

I was thinking back over the last week and all the "interesting" things that have happened to me, like:

1. I lost the lens cap off the rental lens I was using for Monday's shoot- I have never lost the lens cap off any of the lenses that I own. Worrying.

2.When I was returning said lens to the rental place, I walked past a City Farm and thought I would say hello to two rather forlorn looking horses in a small paddock. Well, helllllooooooooooo, no wonder they are lonely- one just about took my finger clean off! I have never had a horse do that, EVER! Makes me wonder what two tetchy horses like that are doing in a children's educational farm! Very Worrying.

3.Since Mr Messy has been away, I have been sleeping in our "receiving room" (aka the lounge room) on an inflatable bed as it is waaay too cold in our bedroom (Mr Messy is like a portable heating device and generates enough heat to keep me warm and snuggly). However, last night, as I flopped down on the airbed it suddenly started to deflate....rapidly. Yikes! Despite examining the increasingly limp object for what seemed like hours I could not find the hole. Very, Very Worrying.

*said in the voice of Little Britain's Carol Beer

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched

Well Most Excellent Blog Fans, here ends another chilly day in London Town for your photographic correspondent. After some rather terrifying moments yesterday dealing with "computer issues" (firing up the disc drive caused the computer to emit sounds reminiscent of a Boeing 747 on take off), I have managed to today hunker down in the digital darkroom processing photos.

Unfortunately, while an actual photo shoot might only be a few hours long, the post-processing can take many, many hours (days, weeks!!) to complete. And outsourcing retouching work just isn't an option unless the work is for a magazine or advertising- just think of a figure per hour in your head and triple it!

Retouching isn't simply about making someone 10kg thinner, lengthening legs to Naomi Campbell-esque proportions or removing an ex from a photograph (although all these things are possible)- it is about colour tweaking, ensuring the white balance is correct, "enhancing" beauty, creating different moods etc. Yes, it is best to get things right "in camera", but in my view, most photos are helped along by a little post production zhooshing. Retouching has always been around... it just used to be done in the darkroom (with lots of stinky chemicals) rather than on the computer.
Now to my post title....well, blog fans, as some of you know by now, I have received word that a travel article and photographs I took for a magazine have been accepted for publication!! I am, of course, extremely excited by this news (think: Labrador presented with an unattended buffet at a wedding reception) and can hardly wait to see my work "in print". I can already picture myself at Borders, proudly clasping an armful of magazines, telling strangers that "um, yeah, see this article here, well, um, yeah, see I WROTE IT!!!!"

It is, of course, against my nature to announce such news before seeing hard evidence of same (and it could all go VERY pear-shaped) but I am throwing caution to the wind and counting my (organic, free-range, happy lifer) chickens before they hatch.

Good things people, good things :)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

I'm afraid I'm going to have to fine you £20....


The pudgy, balding, one-eyed station attendant (okay, so he didn't really have one eye but I am feeling particularly ungenerous towards him) looked at me coldly: "It's the rules, love, and it says on that there window that you can't travel on the Southern line with a pre-paid Oyster card. I'm going to need t0 get some details from you."

I looked around wildly (for what I have no idea), my eyes filled with tears, my bottom lip trembled and my heart started beating furiously..."but, but, no, see you don't understand, I only have £20 in my wallet and I need to get my husband's dry cleaning with that by 6pm.....I can't go home WITHOUT THE DRY CLEANING". I was starting to get a little hysterical at this point thinking how the heck was I going to break the news to Mr Messy that I had managed to travel illegally on a train (albeit unknowingly), got a fine and had no money to get home let alone get his dry cleaning (which he needed for a 7am flight this morning).

Y'all know I am a worrier, but this was, as Clarice Bean would say, THE WORST WORRY I DIDN'T EVEN THINK TO WORRY ABOUT*. I always pay my fare on public transport for fear of getting into strife, and because I have an "automatic top up"Oyster card I usually just jump on the tube or bus, swipe my card and off I go. No problem. Except for yesterday...

As the tears started to roll down my cheek, I reached into my bag and started fishing around for my purse (yes, I am hearing you blog fans- I KNOW I need to clean out my bag!), when suddenly I hear a soft voice from above:
"Well, now, what seems to be the problem here....I think we can put that pad away Bubba..." (my name for evil, one-eyed, pudgy man).

My Most Excellent guardian angel had arrived! I could have hugged him and probably would have done so if I wasn't laden down with so many heavy bags (probably my resemblance to a slightly overgrown and stressed hobbit helped my cause somewhat...).

Instead, I hustled my way to the ticket window, paid my fare and got the hell out of there.

Blog readers, you will be happy to know that despite having to walk home (the tube line got suspended just as I was boarding), I managed to get the dry cleaning. Disaster narrowly averted, again.

*The Ruby Redfort Survival Handbook states "REMEMBER- it's the worry you haven't even thought to worry about - that is the worry that should worry you the most."

Now to the shoot with Jane and Eleanor- oh my, I couldn't have asked for two more gorgeous, fun gals! Jane is a spitting image of Princess Diana (she has amazing big blue eyes) and Eleanor (whose nickname is Pickle!!!) is the sweetest, cutest little girl. Eleanor was such a trooper who giggled, chatted and slept (yep, you read that correctly readers) her way through the long day and rather horrid weather. Jane was completely fabulous and didn't even laugh at me when I stepped in a massive, steaming pile of doggie poop at the park (WHY dear readers does that type of thing happen to me??!)

I will ask Jane if I can give y'all a sneaky peak of our session once I have processed the photos.

Thank you so much Jane and Eleanor- your "Pickle Smiles" made my day (and more than made up for evil, one-eyed, pudgy man!)

p.s. the ickle puppy above was NOT the purveyor of the poop. Trust me, it came from a much larger source than this little fella.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

The little red port...

This is the scene which greeted Mr Messy as he came home with the groceries this afternoon...he walked in, took in the set which had mysteriously appeared in the 15mins since leaving home and ruefully shook his head. I could just about hear his thoughts processing...oh god, what is she doing now? is that a new red suitcase? I wonder how much that cost? is the rabbit (WWW) going to catch fire? where the heck is the fire blanket? do we even have a fire blanket?! oh dear, I really hope she doesn't blog about this... (since launch of my blog each time we have a "disagreement" I threaten to blog about it. hee hee!)

Of course, I just smiled super sweetly and kept snapping away thinking how cool it is to finally have an audience for my "mucking around" photos- the stuff I shoot when I have a hot flash of inspiration and feel like doing something creative.

Anyway, so yep, the little red port* is the newest addition to my props collection and is a sneak preview of what I will be using in my shoot tomorrow with a wee little girl called Eleanor and her mum, Jane. I am extremely excited about our session and have lots of ideas for the shoot which will (hopefully) go to plan if the weather holds. I have been obsessively checking Metcheck over the last few days and keeping my fingers, toes, legs, arms crossed that it doesn't rain. Cloudy I can deal with (great light for photos) but rain? not so much**

Eleanor's mum and I have been emailing back and forth preparing for our session. I can't wait to meet Eleanor as she sounds exactly like my kind of gal. When I asked her mum what sort of things she likes doing, top of the list (currently) is beetle hunting!!! Apparently this involves a wooden spoon, the park, and a fair amount of dirt- happy days indeed!

*is port an Aussie term or do other people use this term for suitcase as well? I think it is rather sweet and reminds me of my grandma- she always used to talk about "packing/carrying her port", never her suitcase :)

**just checked Metcheck for the 50th time today and was rudely informed that "weather details currently unavailable"!! What the?

***phew, Metcheck now back on line and the weather man predicts...wait for it....SLEET!


Joy because: it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, snow is predicted (woo hoo! y'all know how much I love snow :)), I am officially a blogger WITH viewers (thanks guys- you seriously rock), I have a very fun photo shoot planned for tomorrow (more on that later) AND I got to eat the above excellent sweet treat from one of my favourite coffee bars in London, Fernandez and Wells...actually I only got half of it because Mr Messy snaffled the other half :)

On a slightly different note, here is a teaser from my new project, "London Calling: running with the fash pack":

I shot this hip young man about town in Soho about 2 weeks ago. I love his look- the directional hair, the pushed up sleeves, the chunky scarf, the fab jacket and boots...I think the key to his look is that he owns it and knows he looks great. Confidence goes a long way to looking good, non? Oh yeah, and guess what he does for a living?... fashion student :):)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

First Tentative Steps...

So, I have spent the entire day trying to set up my blog- somebody please shoot me, or at least hand me a large Gin and Tonic in a tall glass with extra lime! The worst thing is...setting up a blog is suppose to be SIMPLE. I can get myself on an international flight (in joke with Mr Messy aka "the husband"), hustle my way around a Harvey Nicks store on the first day of the sales, appear on behalf of a client in front of a Judge (okay, so I really hated that one but I still managed it!), whip up a mean raspberry clafoutis and a diirty martini* but computers? Arrggggh. Not how I roll.

I am guaranteed of at least one computer related "moment" per day- generally involving photoshop CS3. But today it was this jolly blog! I have been messing around trying to get my FTP's, DNS's and http's sorted from my url's and sFTP's. Around 3pm I went completely shouty crackers and took myself for a soothing photowalk - it worked, sort of.

So, why am I entering the heady world of blogging? Well, this is what I have come up with so far:

  1. I refuse to be the last person on earth without a blog;

  2. It is terribly self indulgent- and I adore a bit of shameless self indulgence!

  3. My "proper" website is "under construction" and appears to be more or less permanently so due to my computer, um, "issues";

  4. I am sick of whinging to myself (it never gets me anywhere) so now I can whine to the world at large. Sure, it will probably still get me nowhere but it feels so good;

  5. I am supremely confident that an art director from a glossy magazine or advertising agency will randomly happen across my blog, LOVE my work and commission me for a big editorial or advertising campaign. Yep, this is DEFINITELY going to happen and sooner rather than later ;)

  6. My friends and family back home in Aussieland often wonder what the heck I am up to over here in London due to some rather, um, re- lax-ed emailing habits (she types while looking around, whistling ) so this is a way of conning my A-List (you know who you are!) into looking at my photographs while letting them know I haven't been trampled to death by Christian Louboutin wearing fashionistas on the mean, lean streets of London;

  7. I am useless at keeping up with flickr, MySpace is way too cool for school, and facebook, well, I am a teensy bit over it;

  8. I am a self confessed blogstalker- now I want MY own blogstalkers. Even if there is only 2 of you.....(A listers, this is where you come in and make me look super popular- pleeeeeease!);

  9. I do a fair bit of "street photography" and often get asked by people why I want to take their photo. I normally mumble something unintelligible about a portfolio, street fashion, a project I am working on etc- which are all true- BUT don't make me seem overly sane (nobody comment on my sanity or lack there of, please!) or professional. At least now I can proudly say that "it is for my widely read and uber cool style blog!"

  10. Just because...

*um, yeah, so I don't really know how to make a dirty martini, not even a martini but it makes me sound rather hip!

**the photograph landed at the top of the post- it was suppose to be at the bottom. Mmmmmm another slight technological problem I need to sort out...along with about 20 others! I took this in London a couple of days ago- a young boy, his boisterous pup, playing chasey in the park- I couldn't resist a photograph. The dog's name was Charlie- I didn't catch the boys name. Typical Messy ;)