Saturday, 30 July 2011

A week in London

I stayed in a hostel in Arsenal while I was off work for the Glee concert. I ended up taking 6 days off, which on hindsight was a bit too much time! I am getting a bit tired of seeing London.. or to be more accurate, I'm sick of exploring London BY MYSELF. I want someone to share the experience with, so I did spend a bit of time in the hostel just reading. But it was nice to relax, and have time to myself. Or I would go to a park and read/eat my lunch or dinner.

Waiting at Trafalgar Square
On the Thursday (same day as Glee) I caught up with Vicki (who I went to Egypt with) for lunch, followed by ice cream, at this gourmet ice cream parlour, where they do all kinds of fancy ice creams. While I was waiting for her I saw people marching against the changes to teacher's pensions. The march went on for a good 20 mins - that's a LOT of people!

Lots of Police for the march

Vicki, and our ice creams :)
I also FINALLY made to the houses of parliament and Big Ben - although I wasn't overly interested in it. I like I said earlier, I wanna do stuff with other people, not just by myself - it's boring :( 

One morning I decided to be naughty for breakfast, and went to a bakery that sold HUGE jam donuts and pain au chocolat.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Glee Live!

Proud Gleek
On June 30 I went to the final Glee Live concert in London at the O2 arena (I hadn't actually realised it was the last one until the night, when they kept saying it was their last day in London). I was a bit apprehensive about going by myself (told you I was a Gleek) but it was pretty awesome and I totally got into it, spending the whole show on my feet, 'dancing with myself'. The only problem I had with the show was that I had bought new shoes and was walking around London all day in them and my feet were absolutely KILLING me. Spending the whole show on my feet didn't help, and my feet were so swollen I couldn't actually put my shoes back on properly at the end. Walking back to the youth hostel that night was VERY slow and agonising.

Back to the show, the support band wasn't actualy a band, it was the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LXD). And they had some pretty awesome dance moves. The show was choreographed in part by Harry Shum Jr, who plays Mike Chang on the show. When it was finally time for Glee Live to start they had Mr Schuester and Coach Sylvester talk to us on a big screen before the cast came out singing 'Don't Stop Believing'. They sang a variety of songs from both seasons of the show, although there was a slight change in the set list, as Naya Rivera (Santana) was absent. I had a pretty good seat, on the flat part of the arena, so it was pretty close to the stage, and even closer to the second stage that was actually behind me.

Outside the arena
While I enjoyed the whole show, the most enjoyable part for me was when the Warblers sang. Not only were they on the back, closer stage, but they also had some audience involvement, getting us to join in with the singing :) The day after the concert I learnt that Gwyneth Paltrow made a guest appearance, singing 'Forget You', which is my favourite Glee song, so I was a bit disappointed to miss that :( But all in all it was a great concert, despite the fact I went by myself, and I had a ball!

Not that many seats  between me and the stage :)

I got there early... pretty empty atm. Glad I'm not waaaay up
the top there!


William McKinley High Schol

Lot fuller now

Cheerios handing out 'Sue's Barf Bags'.. cos it's gonna
be a horrible show

Mr Schue and coach Sylvster

Don't stop Believing
Pretty :)

The Warblers, so close! (Crappy phone picture.. I bought
a new point and shoot camera for the concert that day,
so only had enough battery charge for half the show...

Kurt performing 'Single Ladies' - AWESOME

Moving on... New client

Well since I returned back to work after Turkey/photography course I have been in a new county (Surrey this time) with a new client. It's fairly quiet and unfortunately she doesn't live very close to a gym... it either costs too much to get public transport, or by the time I walk there I have already done my workout and don't need to go the the gym. So I cancelled my membership (I was still with the same gym group that I was with in Chichester, as they have a branch 'close' to wear I live). I like going to the gym, especially the exercise classes, as they are more fun then just using the cadio equipment or doing weights. Luckily there is a nature reserve about 100m from where I live, so I do try to go out for runs fairly often. It has a couple of ponds and there are still some baby waterhens, which are cute and fluffy :) I also find that running on the dirt/grass paths are much kinder to my legs, and I am not getting such sore shins as I was before I found the entrance to the reserve and was running on the road/footpath. So that is definitely a plus.

My client is about to get some renovations done to her house, and I will have to drive her to her accomodation while the work is being done. At the moment we are waiting on council to approve a quote form one of three contractors, and it is looking like the work could be done in September, when I am going away anyway. Hopefully everything falls into place, and the work can be completed while I am away, and wouldn't be working anyway! I am definitely looking forward to a long drive, as I haven't done one of them in over a year - probably the last time I did a long drive was when I moved back to Brisbane from Townsville! Generally the furtherest we drive is about 10mins away, so not very far at all. On Thursday we are going to see Blondie live, so that should break up the monotony a bit. I am quite looking forward to it actually.


After the photography course ended I went with Gillian and Veronica (it's handy having people you know in London!) to see Wicked, the musical. and WOW it was amazing!! If you ever get the chance to see Wicked, GO AND SEE IT!!! It is by far my favourite musical... and I would love to see it again, even though I only saw it less than 3 months ago :) And the ending of 'Defying Gravity' left me speechless. I didn't think that anything could beat Glee's rendition (hey, I'm a Gleek, what can I say? - but more about that later!!). I had even gone onto youtube and listened to it. But I think seeing it live, without the distortion of crappy quality recording, was absolutely mindblowingly incredible!! I loved it!!!! (that's a LOT of exclamation marks :P)

What made it even better, is that seeing it in London meant it was CHEAP, I only paid about 15GBP for the ticket. Granted, it was right up the top back of the theatre, but they provide binoculars you can hire for 1GBP :P I had a good catch up call with my sister today (we were skyping for 1.5 hours!!), and she went and saw The Lion King in Vegas (I think?!). Her ticket was 130USD. When I went to see the Lion King I would have paid about the equivalent of $30. FINALLY I have found an advantage to this silly country. There's no place like home... oh wait, wrong musical hehehe....

Saturday, 23 July 2011

The British Musuem

On the Wednesday that I had off from the photography course I went with Gill and Veronica to the British Museum. It was pretty good, and we spent a good few hours there. They had an Australian garden out the front, so that was good to see a bit of home. We also saw the Rosetta stone, somehow walking straight past it the first time we went into the Egyptian display!? By far the funniest thing we found was a 'flying lion phallus'...

Photography Course

May 9-13 I did a 4 day beginner's photography course with London School of Photography. The Wednesday was a day off, so it actually ran over 5 days.


On the first day we met our instructor and introduced ourselves. One of the other people on the course was Trinny, who looked and sounded oddly familiar - turns out it was Trinny from Trinny and Susannah! This day of the course covered the basics of digital photography, such as: lenses, image quality and type (JPG/RAW), shutter speeds and aperture settings. We had a bit of fun playing with shutter speed and light grafitti, and homework for that night was to get a self portrait of ourselves in 2 different positions. Considering it was still light at 8.45pm meant this homework took a while to complete, and I had been sitting around, waiting for it to get dark since 4pm, so got a bit bored, and couldn't wait for it to get any darker!

fast shutter speed
 This day we learnt more about manual exposure including ISO and the light meter, as well as manual and autofocus. In the afternoon, we had a bit of a 'field trip' to a local park near Oxford street with a fountain, where we used the camera in shutter speed priority, which gave a completely different look to the water. We also played with different effects by zooming and/or twisting the camera while taking a picture and looked at the difference in depth of field using aperture priority. After that we practised panning, where you follow a moving object and the back ground blurs.

Slow shutter speed

As the Wednesday was a day off we had two sets of homework: 1. to get a shot will all 3 colour traffic lights, and 2. to take photos of the elements of nature (fire, water, air, earth). That night I caught up with Gillian and her sister, and we took the traffic light photos, as well as having a bit of fun with our cameras!

fun with Gill :)

We learnt about bracketing and metering modes. We also spent a bit of time looking at white balance and creative styles. Next we learnt a little bit about composition (rule of thirds, the golden triangle, and golden spiral, all based on the golden ration) and lighting. Homework for that night was 'reflections and shadows'. 

Not part of homework, but I found a squirrel in Hyde Park :P
Friday we learnt about flash, and how something as simple as putting a piece of tissue (well, actually we used toilet paper! :P) over the flash can help diffuse the light, giving a much softer photo, particularly for portraits. Next we did a short bit on portrait photography, followed by a quick tutorial on photoshop, which ended the course. Before we did that though, we went to Chinatown with the task of only 10 photos... to be honest I didn't really like the subject matter, so I struggled getting that many!

Now for the big question: Was it worth nearly 600GBP?? I will admit it was useful, and I did find out how easy it was to go from fully automatic mode to fully manual mode, something which I hadn't quite picked up with all the reading on photography I have done... BUT with six people in a class I am struggling to see how we used nearly 3600GBP of resources over the 4 days. We had 1 tutor for less then 6 hrs a day, and about the only equipment we used was a room and a computer, as we all used our own cameras. While I did meet somewhat of a celebrity, and they (the photography school, not Trinny!) did provide biscuits and drinks, I don't think it was worth the price... however this course wasn't much more expensive then all the short photography courses out there, so I guess there is a lot of profit involved, no matter where you go!