Monday 31 December 2012

2012 year in review.

As the last day of 2012 draws to a close, many people will be reflecting on what they have achieved over the last 12 months and what they want to achieve and even give up for the new year ahead.

2012 has been a big year, remembering back to those soggy summer months celebrating the Queens jubilee and the Olympics. Here's my review of my 2012 from Cornwall.

January - Personally January was an incredibly hard time for me. On the 4th of January I went to Treliske hospital in Truro and had fairly major surgery on my face. I had my jaw broken in three places and am now tied back together with metal plates and screws.

Being stuck indoors for weeks and on liquid diets wasn't the best start to the year. As I recovered I was able to get back out with my camera and February provided some real good photographic opportunities for me.

February - The start of February began with a big freeze. Beaches froze and Watergate Bay saw the formation of massive icicles on the cliffs. Braving the cold weather and wrapping up my new face i ventured to beach to capture the amazing formations. My images were featured in both the Newquay Voice and Cornish Guardian newspapers.

March - This was a sad month for local Cornish radio station Atlantic FM that sadly shut down and was taken over by the generic Heart FM. Although they still have some localisation on the new radio station, personally i don't like being part of the chain radio station and am now in favour of Pirate FM, hopefully the new year will bring something new to fill the airwaves of Cornwall.

April - With the weather getting better and spring on the horizon it was time to start enjoying the beach, April proved to be a great month with Zap Cat racing coming to Newquays Fistral beach. With large waves this created a real spectacle with boats flying and launching themselves over waves. If you get a chance in 2013 this is definitely worth going to watch.

May - For me May was the best month not only because that's when I get to celebrate my birthday but also because I was lucky enough to get up to Scotland and visit Edinburgh Zoo and see the Giant Pandas. This was honestly the highlight of 2012 for me as seeing Giant Pandas has always been a dream. Hopefully the breeding plan put in place by the zoo will be successful in 2013 and i will have another excuse to take a trip up to Scotland in the new year.

June - As the longest day was reached the weather continued to shock and the summer was feeling a long way off. The wet weather continued and staying in the dry seamed to be the flavour of the month. Whilst staying in the dry I put my time into making a birthday cake for the other half. I wish he would have been happy with a simple Victoria sponge and had not requested that I make him a replica of his Porsche 914!

July - Summer in Cornwall is always about loving the beach and live music and 2012 certainly didn't dissappoint. Watergate Bay hosted the Electric Beach festival which was headlined by De La Soul. Feeder amazed crowds over at lusty glaze beach and both nights were fantastic and not a spot of rain to be seen. Unfortunately this didn't continue for the Eden Sessions which were some of the wettest sessions to be held there. Seeing Frank Turner was a particular highlight but by the end of the night a lot of people had left as they had been at the session for hours in the rain.

August - At the height of summer we also saw more rain, as 2012 has come to an end it has now been recorded that the year has been the wettest since records began. Hopefully things can only get better in 2013.

September - As the soggy summer draws to a close the end of season parties and festivals continue. The over the hill festival was a new festival for 2012 and was a complete success. Three days of live music and camping are a definite must for 2013 where hopefully the festival will keep it's intimate local vibe. The season ended with the incredible surf and roots festival held again at Watergate Bay with a massive night to remember created by live music from backbeat soundsystem and Wille and the Bandits.

October - The rain actually eased off in October and the waves picked up seeing the cribbar break just off Fistral. Crowds were down at the headland not only enjoying the massive waves but also soaking up some long awaited sunshine.

November - As with every November men everywhere ditch their razors and grow facial plumage for winter in aid of good causes and November in Cornwall is no different. Great Western beach in Newquay was turned into a massive piece of art work created in the sand around the mustache theme.

December - So we come to the end of the year, another month of torrential rain, more flooding in the west country, the world didn't end like the Mayans predicted but the weather could be described as apocalyptic. The rain has now become relentless and the roads like rivers. Let's just hope that 2013 is a much dryer year for all those that have been effected by flood damage.

Happy new year and here's to a fantastic 2013 in Cornwall and afar. I'm hoping for a year filled with more amazing live music, laughter and fingers crossed some Cornish sunshine.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Womens size 9 shoes

Today I decided it was time to replace last years trusted fluffy boots with a new pair, a pair that didn't leak and weren't wearing thin on the soles. Heading off into the local city centre of Truro I headed to the first shoe shop. I enter Treds, my eyes light up with their range of shoes and boots and so I head straight to the sales assistant to ask for a particular boot in a size 9. She replies with "Sorry we don't stock ANY size nines in this store any more" 

A little disappointed I head to the next shop this time Clarks, all their sale shoes are sorted by size. With a grin on my face I head to the section that is clearly marked up with a big number nine. Sadly I am mistaken once again; below the number nine is nothing but size seven and eight shoes. The sales assistant in here was good enough to come to my help and offer to order in a pair of shoes in a size 9 if i wanted and also said that i could order them online. 

Without sounding like an ungrateful child that wants everything right now, I don't want to order shoes online, i want to go into a shoe shop like any other lady and be spoilt for choice over which shoes to buy. I want to try on several styles and several colours and then buy the nicest fitting shoe or boot. I want the frill of coming home from a successful shopping trip with a shiny new purchase. 

Next I head to Schuh and now I’m getting really excited, there's Hello Kitty trainers for adults, Vans wellies in black and white checked prints not to mention the array of fluffy warm looking boots, exactly what I’m looking for. Marching straight up to the counter I ask for anything in a size nine? Yet again, I’m told that they don't stock anything in a size nine. Although they did offer to try and order something in the store for me. Since getting home I have been on the Schuh website and sorting the shoes by 'Womens' and 'Size 9' i'm deduced down to a selection of just 7 pairs of shoes to choose from, 6 of which are a unisex shoe. And as i'm looking for a pair of boots i'm still unhappy. 

From the comfort of my sofa i head over to see what they could potentially order in for me from Treds. I soon realized that I couldn't even search the site by shoe size. So without looking up every page of shoe that i might vaguely be interested in and then checking to see if it came in a size suitable for me, I decided this would take several hours of my time and so quickly gave up.

Next over to the Clarks website where i'm delighted to say they actually have a dedicated page for the hard to find size 9 shoe. 49 different varieties of shoe all in a size 9, unfortunately they still don't have the flat comfy warm boot that I am trying so hard to find.


I have however, heard of a shop on an industrial estate in Newquay itself, that make their own sheepskin boots in lots of colours and up to a size nine!!!!! Fingers crossed the local trader can help out and supply me with a new pair of boots to keep my feet warm this winter. I will let you know how I get on, but I’m really hoping that I can visit the store and choose a shoe or boot that I like, try it on in my size without feeling like a freak for my big feet and treat myself this Christmas.

Is it so wrong for a woman to want to go into a shop, see lots of choices of clothing or footwear and try items on until you find something that makes you feel fabulous, that you want to part your hard earned cash for? Just because I’m tall doesn't mean that I don't want to be a girlie girl and enjoy a good old fashioned shopping trip. 

Sunday 9 December 2012

The Biggest Movember Mo EVER

In November, men all over the country started growing Moustaches in aid of Movember. Raising awareness and money for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Local artist Tony Plant took it one step further and turned Newquays Great Western Beach into a giant canvas and created the biggest Movember themed sand art ever. Tony invited locals down to the beach, armed them with rakes at low tide, and tasked them to create mustache themed artwork. Tony's work is all about creating art work within nature that can then be absorbed by nature, whether this is washed away with tides or removed by storms his art work is brief and this is the beauty of it.

It was amazing to witness the sand art from both on the sand and from the cliffs looking down. 

Well done to everyone involved and particularly those that raised money for such a great cause. See all my photographs on my facebook page and don't forget to 'like' the page to keep up to date with all my latest photographs. 

Monday 3 December 2012

North devon floods, rainbows and classic car shows.

Last weekend whilst photographing a wedding in North Devon i was caught up in the worst weather and flooding the west country has experienced for years. News reports were coming in from Cornwall of very severe weather and that is was moving east and on it's way to Devon. Twitter feeds were full of reports of flooding and local radio stations had changed their usual shows to feature constant updates on the latest news and the situations on the roads.

This did not in any way damppen the spirits at the wedding, with the christmas decorations up the bride, groom and the hotel all looked wonderful and you'd never even know it was monsoon weather outside. 
The dreaded storm moving over Bideford old bridge.

 Rainbow over the new bridge Bideford.

On the sunday i was delighted to find a small classic car show in the panier market in Barnstaple.  

Sunday 2 December 2012

Baby it's cold outside!

Finally it feels like winter is here, With the advent calendars hung and the first chocolate consumed a heavy frost is just what was needed to complete the festive feeling.

The weather has been so crazy lately being rather mild and then getting terrible floods it makes a change to wake up to a cold crisp frosty winters morning and go for a walk in the Cornish country side.

Saturday 1 December 2012

A Photographer without a computer!

Firstly i wanted to apologise for the lack of blog posts lately and share with you my frustration at having no computer :@(

2 Weeks ago my beloved iMac decided to blow up and give my the white screen of death. Now at first i thought i can live without a computer for a few days, how hard can it be! I can still take photos i can use my iphone for the internet it'll be fine, I then realised just how dependant i have become on my computer.

Mainly i am a photographer and these days that means you need a computer, I shoot all my files in RAW and so need my computer to convert these files into something more usable.

Two weeks ago when my computer died i took it into my local mac store for repair, to my horror it was the hard drive in my machine that had died. Fortunately being a photographer means i have back ups externally of all my 60,000 photos. However with the computer dropped off i went straight to the beach to photograph the Movember beach art down at Great Western Beach in Newquay.

Looking at the pictures on the little screen, i was keen to get them home and share them on my blog..... then remembered my lack of computer, No Lightroom software, no Photoshop, even having a laptop this wouldn't be able to cope with the size of 100 raw files.

A week later and i'm photographing a wedding and again missing my iMac to process the photos. Now after two weeks my iMac is back and the pictures will continue to flow on the blog. Hopefully a little more frequently now too, there's a backlog and with Christmas just around the corner i feel i have a very busy few weeks ahead of me but glad to finally have my machine back, Even if it did take me hours to reinstall all the software and get back up and running.

This is a message for anyone that has treasured photos, videos or files saved on a computer, NEVER rely on saving important documents in one place back them up more than once! I now have all my files backed up on the Mac, on an external drive and now on the cloud too.

Sunday 11 November 2012

Cornwall Roller Derby.

Well last night was the night of the first Cornwall roller derby bout, held at the Carn Brae leisure centre in Pool, and how bloody amazing a sport is roller derby.

I joined a rookie night about 6 months ago and attempted to learn to roller skate but with a busy hectic life i was finding it very hard to commit to the sessions and each time i went i felt more and more unstable on my wheels. Which is no good when the idea is to be nippy and speedy and dodge through people and get bumped around but if you can help it not fall over.

But still keen about the sport and the roller skating action i couldn't resist not going to watch the 'Fight of the living dead' battle of the Zombies versus Vampires last night.

I've got to say for my first experience at watching the sport it was amazing and i want to join even more now, The girls were hot, the fighting incredible the action fast and the atmosphere was incredible. With live commentary, live dj even a live band during half time it made for a really entertaining night out, and could even enjoy a beer whilst watching the action.

I would thoroughly recommend watching the sport if not trying it out.

There's a new rookie intake night in Newquay on the 26th November for any budding derby girls to try out the sport that is capturing the attention of so many. I will definitely be there practising my falling over lots of times and hoping to gain the necessary skills to join in one day in a real bout.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Christmas Shopping, Online or in store?

Now i'm all up for wrapping up warm and heading out to the local shopping centre at christmas time to do the christmas shopping. Theres a certain british romance about it. The decorated shops, the lunch time stop for coffee and a mince pie, Perhaps the carol singers or brass brand playing and sharing the festive spirit. Getting home with bags of goodies and the sense of achievement after a hard days shopping.

However, then theres the crowded shops, the queuing to buy items, the expensive car parking charges, the lugging around of said christmas presents whilst you try to continue to purchase the other items on the rest of your list the thought of internet shopping creeps into mind. On a recent visit to my local town in a view to hit the shops earlier this year whilst they aren't too busy i would get the majority of my christmas shopping done early. Although my experience was an enjoyable one i think this was due to the purchasing of new shoes and Dresses for myself! I came home with only 3 presents for other people. Once home i proceeded to look on the net for gift ideas so that my days shopping wasn't a complete waste.

Now i want to support my local community and independent traders i really do but when i came back so empty handed there was something extremely satisfying about coming home having a nice cup of tea and browsing the online stores. Theres much more selection, and i can see exactly how much i'm spending. Not to mention finding the hard to find items with the click of a button and no endless trying shop after shop with no success.

Now all i need to do is sit back and wait for my items to be delivered. I don't know what the future is for the high street. I'm not saying i'm boycotting it in favour of internet shopping because quite frankly real shopping should be an olympic sport and a particular favorite past time of mine. However i think traditional town centre shopping will soon become all about coffee and clothing. You can't beat going into a shop trying on a new item of clothing feeling fabulous in it buying it and bringing it home. That will always be there, whether male, female or kids the ease of having all the sizes to hand in front of you in the store and trying on there and then and coming home with the correct fitting item will always win over internet shopping.

However when it comes to electricals that are heavy and require delivering or even CD's or DVD's it is so much easier to type in the name of the required cd or dvd and press purchase online rather than spending ages in a music store searching for the particular genre of music then searching alphabetically for the artist before finding what it is you need.

Maybe the future of the high street is clothing and coffee shops.

What do you think? Do you shop online more now, or is there always going to be a need for our high street stores?

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Cribbar Newquay, big wave surfing

Sunday saw a return to the warm sunny weather but also a large swell forecast and this creating 10ft plus waves.

Arriving at little fistral about 1pm crowds were already forming to watch the big waves. With the sun shining men started removing shirts and you'd be very much mistaken that it was the middle of June not the end of October.

After a couple of hours of watching empty, but giant waves, a few jet skis circled the waves but anyone was yet to tackle the beast of a wave. As low tide approached two brave surfers bargain the long paddle out to reach the line up.

By this time the crowds had increased on the headland and more and more people were arriving with picnics and drinks ready for the afternoons entertainment. With a few failed attempts the two surfers finally managed to ride the large waves and with this the crowds cheered with excitement.

Before not to long there was a stream of people bravely attempting the long paddle out to the breaking waves. With 12 in total including a body boarder and two paddle boarders alongside the surfers.

After several hours of watching the giant waves, with and without people riding them and much excitement and bitten fingernails the sun began setting and i decided to leave the beach. And so did one of the brave surfers after they snapped their board tackling the cribbar break.

It's certainly a vary impressive scene and if your lucky enough to be in Cornwall during the next big swell then you really should visit cribbar and hear and see the thunderous crashing waves.

To see the rest of my photos from Sundays session, pop over to my facebook page. Don't forget to 'like' the page to keep up to date with all my latest work.
See my previous Cribbar photos from October 2011, where there were jetskis involved but personally having the fitness and the bravery to paddle out there with no assistance from Jet Ski's and with the setting sun makes this recent swell even more impressive.

Sunday 9 September 2012

The Atlantic Heights Surf and Roots Festival 2012 - Pictures

Well what can i say about The Surf and Roots Festival other than AMAZING. and a big well done to all the guys that helped pull this one off.

Unfortunately due to other commitments i couldn't attend the festival until the evening, but when i arrived i was greeted by friendly faces who told me that the whole day had been brilliant. With the music starting around lunch time and the wall to wall hot sunshine and not a cloud in the sky what more could us Cornish folk want from a festival.

With a quirky airsteam selling tea and coffee, and a bar on tap with Skinners beer and a field lined with flags, windsocks and fairy lights this really felt like a festival how it should be with simple pleasures and all about the music. (No over commercial advertising at this one :")

With bales of hay doted around we perched on a bale and watched the first act of the night for us which was Elijah MC and instantly i was very impressed with this talented guy. Looping and sampling all his own sounds to create a very dub steppy sound. This was received incredibly well by the crowds with everyone up dancing and whooping and cheering as the level of the sounds he created increased. Really impressive to watch one guy create so much music just from his voice.

Next on the line up on the main stage was the Jeramiahs, a band very local to Watergate and with a crowd of local supporters they certainly played to impress and were fantastic. With their unique Pearl Jam esque sounds it's hard not to get lost in their music and with their songs containing beautiful words it's impossible not to enjoy their set. From rocking electric guitar rifts that you can really loose yourself in to amazing vocals that make you want to shut your eyes and belt out the words and really powerful band that i would recommend every one tries to see if they are playing locally.

Now the next band needs no introduction in my opinion the highlight of the night and a band that i've had the pleasure to follow for many years. Wille and the Bandits are just incredible. It's very hard to describe their music, with guitars, bongo's slide guitar and some incredible base add some gruff and often powerful singing some psychedelic rifts and you have wille and the bandits. It was really good to see them play and capture the crowd. Many years ago i saw wille and the bandits play at Boardmasters on the Jagermeister stand with just a handful of people. Last night the crowds were singing along, dancing and jumping to their music. A really good set, every time i see this band they get better and better and have become slightly addictive to see them when ever they are playing locally.

To finish the night were Backbeat Soundsystem with their selection of dubstep cross reggae. Another infectious band were you can't help but dance along. With the help of a bale of hay to dance on it was a perfect end to a wonderful festival. Finishing the festival with their well know encore of a reggae version of Pendulums Tarantula, the crowd went wild and ended a very enjoyable very perfect Surf and Roots festival at Watergate Bay

To see the rest of the my photos from last nights Surf and Roots festival visit my Facebook page. And don't forget to 'like' the page to stay up to date with all my latest local pictures.

Thanks for reading, here's to the next Cornish festival.

Mandi - Photobrook Photography