Look Both Ways.

Once again Mrs L and I found ourselves flying back to the UK for 12 days and then on to Hong Kong. It didn't seem too long since we were there last, this time though my portfolio book was printed and ready to show. First thing first though, down to Devon to see our wonderful friends, The Spettigues. It was great to spend time with James, Emma, their little girl Isabella and the new addition, the not so little baby Sam. I hadn't had much experience of kids until I moved to Taiwan, where I now live in the same house as my twin nephews who are 6. I may not be up for nappy changing but I felt privileged and relaxed to have Sam strapped in his harness to me for a walk around the park on a glorious sunny afternoon. It was a bit nerve-wracking heading down the slippery steps, a terrifying drop plunging to certain doom into a raging river only half a mistake away to go and see "The Devils Cauldron". I think Sam picked up a bit on my raised heart beat, James did well to trust me and only after we were safely back to the car said, "I had to fight it not to say anything about taking care down there". Looks like I can handle these responsibilities now, maybe in a year Mrs L and I may be ready to start our own family.

We were lucky to have good weather most of the time we were in the UK, but it is the UK so only right that on the day we went for a walk up to Dartmoor it was blowing a gale with a threatening sky. We only just got to the car before the clouds burst and ice cold rain pelted down, glad to be in the car and not on a motorcycle.

The more I use my Fujifilm X100 the more I like it, this is from the X100 in panoramic mode, does a great job of stitching the frames together don't you think?

Back up to Leicester and time to get on the phone to see if I can arrange some meetings. First on the list, the Editor of Photography at The Independent. I have never really liked the phone, I get a bit nervous making calls, just silly really. I got to speak to the Editor, what a lovely person she is. I told her who I was and that I had sent her a copy of my promo book. She remembered it straight away, this was a really nice surprise as she must get a lot of photographs and mail shots. Turns out not only did she remember it, she really liked it telling me, "a lot of people don't get it, but you have got it spot on, really good.". I was thinking "wow that's really amazing that she likes it so much". My joy was a little tarnished however when she told me "I can't remember us ever needing a photographer in Taiwan in 20 years.". Ever the optimist we both laughed when I said "well, there's always hope",  to which she replied "if ever we need a photographer out there you are my go to guy.".

To me it was just great to hear that someone with a lot of experience on a picture desk liked and rated my work. Bolstered by this I got straight on to The Guardian and within 10 minutes I had arranged a meeting in London with the Director of photography, fantastic. The meeting with went well, it was really good to meet him. He too liked my work and told me to stay in touch, forwarding my details to weekend supplement photo Editor too. I felt pretty good about all of that on the train back north, but there was more to come.

We had to return to London for a couple of days and stayed with another good friend, Gemma. One day spent in Croydon followed by a few pints, the next day I was back on the phone and had a long conversation with the newish Picture Editor at GQ. Although he didn't need a portrait photographer, he did give me a lead to Q Magazine. I followed this and the next day had a very positive chat over coffee with the photo editor at Q. He really liked my project "The Collectors" and also the rest of the work in my book. Once again, a request to stay in touch, and a good possibility for some work. All in all it was a good experience and has really given me more belief in what I can do, and an increasingly better attitude about the phone.

As any of you who have read my waffle before you will know I like to walk a bit when possible. It was on on of these little walks from Battersea to Vauxhall that I found myself with a slight case of the giggles. I am getting more accustomed to living in Taiwan, but some old habits die hard. One of these is which way to look first when crossing the road. The case of the giggles I got was when I realised now I was back in England, I was now getting this wrong here, revert to mild panic mode and look like a demented chicken at a Wimbledon final, hence the title of this blog; Look Both Ways.

Being in the UK for Spring made me a little sentimental about long summer evenings, pints of ice cold and often ice filled cider. Barbecues and fresh dawn motorcycle rides with friends. There is something wonderful about spring in the UK, the countryside is getting greener, it seems to simply open its arms with joy, blossoming with reproduction. 

I am yet to get used to the seasons in Taiwan, it may take a while. One thing though, the light in the UK on a good day is amazing, it can be so clear in the morning you can see all the way across London. Literally for miles, this is the view from the back of our friends house in Battersea.

I have seen nice light in Taipei but it's mostly hazy and a bit grey, well has been so far. We had a trip to the south of the island, I will write more about this little weekend away in my next blog, one thing though the light in the south of the island is noticeably better. The panoramic above of London was shot in a traditional one frame at a time style, then stitched manually on Adobe Photoshop CC, Can you name all the skyscrapers?

Back up in the Midlands, and the evening light was doing its thing. I grabbed my camera, nabbed my Dad's tripod and headed up to Beacon Hill just outside Loughborough with Mrs L in tow. I was a bit rushed and at the time didn't really feel like I had got the shot I would have liked. Processing it yesterday for this blog I realised I had made a beautiful photograph. A photograph which I know I will find pleasure in for a long time. It just shouts England to me, clear air, cows grazing, a patchwork of fields to the horizon and a lovely sunset. Thank you British countryside, I now which way to look when I am with you.

Next time it will be back to Hong Kong, down south in Taiwan, news of connections with the AFP, hopefully I can tell you about a job or two that are in the pipeline and more exciting stuff. 

As ever please share my blog, it is for everyone so don't be selfish, it is easy to share. Feedback is appreciated and noted so if you wish to let me know something, ask me a question or want to offer me some work then please get in touch.

Until the next time.........Take it easy.....