Photography, Travel

Every year for the past 12 years myself and a close group of friends have a weekend away

This year was a trip to the the picturesque location of Coniston, nestled away in the serene English Lake District.

Once again the company was amazing, the scenery of the Lake District never fails to amaze me, hours could be spent just sitting and watching the world, it can be no accident that many literary greats found the inspiration they yearned for here.

Coniston Coppermines


Are ewe looking at me?

Sunset on the lake

Sheep colour

Sheepish BW

Up the old man of Coniston

Love on the rocks

Thar be pirates


The supreme dream team

Up to the old man

The country way, to the pub


My first wedding….

Photography, Wedding

Earlier this year I was asked by a work friend if I would photograph her wedding. To say I was surprised is a huge understatement. I initially said that I wasn’t sure as I had never done a wedding before, the idea of such a huge responsibility scared me stupid.

A couple of weeks later

I mulled the thought over, managed to garner enough self belief to say yes, a decision that made butterflies occur for weeks leading up to the wedding.

Nicola and Marks Wedding – Falling Foss Tea Garden

4th July 2015

Heading over the North Yorkshire Moors, the fog clung thickly to the car and the long winding road leading to Whitby, getting increasingly thicker the closer I got to the venue.

Heading down the valley from Whitby to Ruswarp the fog began to lift, the sun began to shine

My hopes for the day began to rise. As I walked down towards the venue from the carpark with my wife and my two sons, the youngest was in a buggy getting rattled here, there and everywhere. My mind began to go on its creative wanderings gathering inspiration from the wonderful surroundings.

The venue

Falling Foss Tea Garden, is an idyllic, stunning location for anyone to get married, especially if like Nicola and Mark, the sun came out to play. The owners couldn’t do enough to ensure that the Bride, Groom and the wedding party had an amazing day.

Thank you Mark and Nicola for inviting us to be a part of your amazing day.


Once upon a time, 7 Years ago.


7 years ago today, 16th June 2008, I started a 3 month contract within the NHS working on a Sharepoint 2007 deployment.

As I write this blog post I am working on replacing it with something new and exciting.


Firstly I am sorry for the length of this blog, the poor grammar and sometimes Americanised spelling, but this is raw, written straight from my heart

A lot has happened in the 7 years since I started here, I am married to a beautiful lady, we have two highly energetic little boys.

During my time in the NHS, working for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust, I have had more then a few ups and downs, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have had the pleasure to have worked with some amazingly motivational people, these whom I am honored to call friends, mentors and family.

Together we have led projects, fixed – broken and fixed again a number of systems, slept in hammocks, drank a lot of beer, eaten a lot of food, laughed, danced and cried.

Who am I now?

I have grown up, become a man, a husband and a father. I now wear amazing bow ties most of the week I>@<I and developed a deep love for photography, I listen to country music and still enjoy swing.

My love of Wrestling has stayed with me and always will. In the past 7 years a number of my heroes have fallen, these people I have grown up with and watched on television watching them grow as I grew. Some of the latest deaths have hit quite hard.

Some people still think of me as mildly arrogant, but I am able to bottle it up when needed (sometimes), I get emotionally attached to work and become frustrated when things (according to me) are not going the right way.


Over the past 7 years physically I have had so many ups and downs with my physical health my Charoct Marie Tooth Disease has tried to kick my arse, I piled on the pounds causing more pressure on my already ruined legs, my balance went, everyday things began to hurt me, a lot, I began to walk with a stick (my amazing friends at work bought me some amazing, blinged ones). Then I discovered Yoga. In particularly DDP Yoga. Last year I spent 6 months on a mission to fix myself using DDP Yoga to build strength, flexibility and remove pain. DDP thank you.

Myself and My Work

My work is important to me, I spend an awful lot of time thinking about problems and solutions, so much so that my brain is often swimming with ideas.

Having learnt an awful lot about Quality Improvement Systems, Lean, Agile, UX and VMPS plus other acronyms and synonyms. I am, I believe, in a uniquely positioned location and time in my life.

IT and Tech still excites me and always will but what excites me more, generates that hunger and thirst deep within, is the People and Processes behind the organisations and the users who have to struggle to use what is given to them. How do they interact with the Software, Hardware and ‘Solutions’ that us IT Techs thrust upon them? What would make the biggest improvement to their lives? I think it is safe to say that the majority of clinical and nursing staff within the NHS hate technology, they hate how it has been pushed between them and the patient as a barrier that detracts from the job that they originally signed up to do.

The same can be said for many occupations, Police, Social Care. Even in day-to-day life our interaction with others has become less personal, technology is assisting in organisations moving services away from the highstreet and into the cold clinical call center. Yes technology has helped in a lot of ways to improve our lives and the lives of people around us but by taking away, and minimizing the real world interactions you can’t help but feel that we have taken a huge backwards step.

In our world at the moment tech is pushed at you from all angles, passwords and pins need to be remembered for this, that and the other. 6 characters here, 8 plus 2 numbers an UPPERCASE letter and a special character, no, not that one. Do not, under any circumstances tell anyone or write anything down about your password and so on.

Technology is disruptive within our lives, both for the power of good and the bad that often comes with it. It is difficult for us to turn off, step away, ignore the distractions going on, beeps, pings and pongs.

Emails flying in from everywhere whilst you are trying to reply and keep up to date with what is going on and where it is happening.

Gangnam Style plays from Dawn till Dusk on a steady, recurring, repeat with eyes transfixed to devices large and small failing to glance up at the world around.

What is the solution

Disconnect, turn off, open your eyes, get up and go out. Look for solutions outside of technology, talk to people. Your neighbors, colleagues, friends and family, physically meet people, understand who they are and why they are that way.

Live each day with no regrets, talk to those that you love, tell them you love them, do not wait until tomorrow.

Thank you to all my family and friends without you I would not be me.

Thank you to the WWE and the superstars who put there bodies on the line to entertain me and the millions of fans around the world.


Why I Quit..

2015 - 52 Week Challenge, Musings, Photography, Uncategorized

Photo Challenge

January 1st 2015, I started on a journey of photographic learning. To take a new themed photo each week.

For the first 9 weeks I thought oh this is easy submitting photos, commenting on others, often incredible works of art, then boom life hit me, my entries became later and later, the amount of comments reduced significantly both giving and receiving.

Then I just stopped.


I am a huge believer that when things stop being fun and enjoyable, you have to take a step back and readjust.

I started to get stressed out about getting a photo that suited the theme of the week/month, I stopped enjoying picking up the camera. take a step back, readjust

Where am I now?

It has been 3 weeks (I think) since I last submitted a photo. During this time I have taken over a hundred photos.

Some of my, in my opinion, best work has occurred during this time. I have slowed down to take photos, taken more time to understand the scene, what I want to capture and what the story is that I want to tell.

Would I do a challenge in the future

Simply, yes. During the first few months I really enjoyed the challenges, learning to think about a theme and how my photo can meet the subject matter.

I however would have to find a way to ring fence some time to achieve the photos that I want, as such a photo per day or week challenge is out of the window.


Starting now

I am going to aim for a new photo per month (up until Christmas) I know, or hope, that this will be achievable and will hopefully help me become a better photographer.

Transformation – how to survive the daily struggles of life. TED

Design, Musings

As you can see, my legs are bionic.

Hugh Herr

Like many, I spend a lot of time in my car. Until fairly recently I used to listen to music, radio and then I discovered, quite by accident, the TED radio hour by NPR podcast.

For those that are not aware, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading”

TED’s early emphasis was technology and design, it has since broadened its focus to include talks on many scientific, cultural and academic topics.

The TED radio hour adapts these talks for radio grouping together a number of them to discuss ideas and concepts about the way we live and the amazing world that we live in.

Yesterday whilst driving to work I was listening to a show that was first broadcast on September 19th 2014 called Transformation.  One of the stories presented really jumped out at me and hit home.


This is the story of Hugh Herr


When I experienced how hideous and pathetic and unsophisticated prosthetic technology was at that time, I became interested in design.

Hugh Herr

Hugh Herr was a prodigy rock climber: by age eight, he had scaled the face of the 11,627-foot (3,544 m) Mount Temple in the Canadian Rockies, by 17 he was acknowledged to be one of the best climbers in the United States.

In January 1982, after having ascended a difficult technical ice route in Huntington Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Herr and a fellow climber Jeff Batzer were caught in a blizzard and became disoriented, ultimately descending into the Great Gulf where they passed three nights in −20 °F (−29 °C) degree temperatures.

By the time they were rescued, the climbers had suffered severe frostbite. Both of Herr’s legs had to be amputated below the knees; his companion lost his lower left leg, the toes on his right foot, and the fingers on his right hand. During the rescue attempt, volunteer Albert Dow was killed by an avalanche.



Doctors said he would never climb again, never ride a bike.

The story that Hugh tells, is a story of strength, of courage and of pure will, grit and determination.  Elements that  enabled him to climb the mountains and rock faces have enabled him to change the world, improve the world for others around him.

I don’t know how I would respond to that news.  The news that I would never again be able to do something that I love and enjoy.  I don’t know if I would have the strength and ability, power, energy to move on with life like Hugh has done.  I have listened to a lot of the TED radio hour podcasts, never before though have I been so emotionally affected by one.