Week Notes 007, 008, 009 — W/E 21 May, 28 May, and 4 June 2023

blurry picture of a waterfront church in Venice taken through the window of a speed boat at night

I’ve missed a bunch of these, so I’m bundling them up into quick summaries and kicking them out the door.

Week Notes 007 — W/E 21 May 2023

  • I had a last minute shoot come in on the previous Friday, pencilling me to fly to Venice on Tuesday morning to shoot that evening. I was confirmed on Monday morning, which resulted in a scramble to book tickets as the prices climbed and prep for the shoot.
  • The wrinkle is that Monday was also the day that we’d agreed to move everything out of our (thankfully small) storage unit and back to our flat. And the local Zipvan was booked. And the nearest entrance to our unit at the storage facility was broken. AND we have a 12-week-old baby who refused to help carry anything. This meant that we had to do three trips in a small car filled with kit, duffels full of clothes and various crates of miscellaneous crap, piled low enough that it wouldn’t avalanche the baby during a tight turn. The broken gate meant that each journey from the unit to the car required pushing a recalcitrant trolley through a near endless labyrinth, dodging minotaurs and rats as large as dogs. During any gap in the schlepping, driving or baby-placating we were checking and re-checking the rising flight prices waiting for the green light.
  • I got an early cab to the airport, had an uneventful flight and landed in Venice around midday on Tuesday. I was on the same flight as the client, so I got whisked out of the passport queue, through security and onto a waiting boat taxi. God Tier airport process unlocked…
  • Super intense trip with no down time. Pretty much straight out on a recce to the nearby island where the dinner would take place, then back to the hotel, 1.5 hours to prep kit and get ready, then a boat out to the venue. Helped with the table setting as time was of the essence. Fun and tricky shoot. Abiding by the rule that the key to a good party is to have a lot of great people crammed into a small space, things were almost impossibly tight. All the tables were butted up against the wall on side leaving only a narrow corridor between the free ends of the tables and the bar on the opposite side. I had to move into the gap between two tables, shoot as much as possible from that vantage point, then wriggle through the throng to the next between tables ‘trench’. I generally like to circulate through the crowd as much as possible when shooting, so I was happy that I could still come away with good pictures despite the constraints.
  • I survived on the snacks that I bought at the airport for two days — Italy doesn’t have much for someone who is vegetarian and doesn’t eat dairy… Lucky that I quite like fasting otherwise I would have passed out mid shoot.
  • The shoot needed an overnight turn around so I edited and graded until 0530 in the morning. And then had to get up at 0830 to go through the pics with the client before heading to the airport. I was already looking up the price of new MacBook Pros in the cab back from the airport in a bid to exchange money for speed and therefore gain sleep… My maxed out M1 Air is great for the form factor and I love the lack of fan, but it just doesn’t have the grunt required when applying AI masks or denoise to hundreds of images in Lightroom.
  • Ended up going with a reconditioned M1 Max (64GB RAM, 32 Core GPU and 4 TB SSD). It’s nowhere near as elegant as my Air, but it races through common tasks in a fraction of the time. It’s a huge boost and it makes me wish I’d done it sooner. Still a millstone to carry around though…



view up a grassy bank covered in wildflowers. A red brick Victorian industrial building can be seen above the horizon created by the bank in the top left of the image

Week Notes 008 — W/E 28 May 2023

  • As it only happens every four to five years, I forget how annoying and long winded it is to set up a new computer. A couple of days of faffing and then a few more days of forehead slapping at key things that I had forgotten to set up. Numerous times, I would start typing the name of the application that I needed in the Alfred search bar, only to find that I hadn’t installed it yet.
  • Used the laptop switch as an excuse for a digital declutter. Cleared out a bunch of junk from my Dropbox and streamlined the folder structure.
  • two smaller shoots for a regular client, both of which I managed to despatch smoothly and quickly. Luxuriated in the power of the new machine when making previews and running AI processes.
  • Missed the Taylor Wessing deadline like an idiot. I was working on a client project in the daytime, thinking that I would pull a few pics for the competition and enter them before the midnight deadline. Unfortunately, when I sat down to do that at 2130, I saw that the deadline had actually closed in the middle of the afternoon this year. Much swearing and then sullen acceptance. I was annoyed with myself as I had a few nice pictures to enter that may not be eligible next year. The positive spin is that it is a good excuse to shoot more for next year’s competition.
  • Met my new sibling, who is a month younger than my daughter.
  • Deep South London BBQ on the weekend, soaking up the sun in a friend’s garden.
  • Walked out to the Kings Cross nature reserve, had a little walk around and sat out by the canal. It’s not nature in its awesome splendour, but it has a scruffy beauty that is charming. A nice place to go and sit with a book on a sunny day. Like with a lot of weekend activities, it’s a destination that gives you an excuse to walk and talk, and then walk back again.
Back lit reeds in a dusty pond, covered in pollen from the trees that surround the pool


10 Thoughts From the Fourth Trimester - Wait But Why Our kids were born days apart and he nails the feeling of the first few weeks with a newborn.

What Photography Has Taught Me About Music via Duncan Geere

24-Hour Black Screen YouTube Videos — A fun dive into a genre of Youtube videos that I new nothing about.


Dr Andy Galpin: How to Build Strength, Muscle Size, and Endurance — Huberman Lab

View through a large wooden sculpture by Ai Wei Wei in side a gallery. The wooden structure is made out of old furniture and beams from a temple. The foreground is covered with assorted multi-colored Lego pieces. On the far wall behind the sculpture there is a panoramic reinterpretation of Monet's Lilies painting made out of single Lego squares. There are a group of gallery visitors framed by the sculpture, standing in front of the Lego painting.

Week Notes 009 — W/E 4 June 2023

  • a full week of stressful pre-production for a four day mega shoot starting the next week. Lots of last minute changes and mountains of emails.
  • had a lovely weekend day out to celebrate my wife’s birthday early. My shoot the following week sandwiched her birthday and I knew that the edit deadlines would make it hard to do anything fun on the day. We went to the brilliant Ai Wei Wei exhibition at Design Museum. Wei Wei is one of my favourite conceptual artists — unlike many he combines powerful ideas with a strong visual aesthetic. A lot of conceptual work falls flat for me because the artist forgets to make it interesting to look at or experience. I don’t want to be told why something is good or thought provoking, I want the work’s form, content and presentation to encourage discovery and conversation. Also, the exhibition was one of my favourite things — a one room show… There was this incredible density of visual interest and meaning to be deciphered in the space — each of the pieces talking to and presented in relationship to all the others. The only downside was a Gallery Bore, who was expounding loudly about What It All Meant to his date. We had to strategically navigate the space to stay out of earshot.
  • Nice collection of work by and that inspires Yinka Ilori on the first floor balcony too.
  • We went for a brilliant lunch at Akub, a Mediterranean restaurant in Notting Hill after the gallery. The food was delicious and presented beautifully, but without fuss. We sat upstairs under the skylight and felt like we were on holiday.
  • I’m sure other things happened during the week but I was swimming so hard to stay afloat in the email ocean, that I’ve blanked out everything else.
baby's face, mostly hidden by the back of an adult's arm. You can see one of the baby's eyes, and in the hand of the adult behind her head is a gallery booklet with Ai Wei Wei printed on it. The background shows a white gallery space with a large collection of ceramic pieces laid out on the floor. There are photographs on the far wall